Richard Linklater, director and script
Blake Jenner (Jake), Zoey Deutch (Beverly), Tyler Hoechlin (Glen McReynolds) Glen Powell (Finnegan), Wyatt Russell (Willoughby), J. Quinton Johnson (Dale), Will Brittain (Billy Autry)
You’ve got to hand it to Richard Linklater. At least at the moment, the auteur of Boyhood can do no wrong. Case in point: his new film Everybody Wants Some!, which Linklater has dubbed as the spiritual successor to Dazed and Confused. Critics are universally praising it, which leaves me with the responsibility of being the Grinch.
Those of you who were indie film fans back in the ‘90s will recall Dazed and Confused as an arty version of Animal House, with a cast of young hopefuls acting as teenagers during their last day at a Texas high school in 1976. Stupid but knowingly dumb, the kids in Dazed were somewhat charming and, if you love rock’n’roll, the soundtrack, including the titular Led Zeppelin hit, helped to make the fun palatable. Part of the retro glamour that’s accrued to Dazed and Confused is that Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey and Ben Affleck were all in it. But who was the star? Jason London. Oh.
I didn’t love Dazed and Confused then, and I’m much older now. Everybody Wants Some! is set, like its precursor, in Texas only the time has moved forward from 1976 to 1980. This time, we’re spending a weekend—not just one night—with a bunch of college baseball players enjoying the last 48 hours before school starts.
What do they do? Can you spell “party”?
One nice thing about Everybody Wants Some! Just like its precursor, it really doesn’t have a plot. OK—it has a smidgen of one. A bunch of privileged white middle class (and one token African American) heterosexual boys go to frat parties, punk parties, disco parties and country and western parties. Object—to find girls. I suppose I’m not giving away much by saying that they find them. Apart from that, they clown around, make fun of each other, play practical jokes, smoke weed and occasionally say something serious, which is practically like breaking the fourth wall in a film so relentlessly banal.
Possibly the best line (and I don’t have the script so don’t blame me if I misquote it) is uttered by the most quick witted of the young baseball stars, Finnegan. When the boys semi-crash a performing arts party only to start talking to the girls about sports, he says to them, “When we’re alone, all we talk about is girls. Now we’re with some and all you want to talk about is baseball.” Not exactly G.B.S. but at least intelligent.
The handsome young lead, Jake, played by Blake Jenner, might well turn out to have a career as exciting as Jason London’s. He’s that bland, but he does get to play a few romantic scenes with a young actress, Beverly (Zoe Deutch). After all, the film is supposed to have a heart.
Of the young actors, most of whom are already on TV, Glen Powell, who plays Finnegan and Tyler Hoechlin, who plays McReynolds might have a future. Heck, so might Wyatt Russell, who plays the hippie Willoughby and in real life actually played pro hockey. Yep, he’s Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn’s kid.
Let’s root for Wyatt and give Everybody Wants Some! a pass.
Written by Marc Glassman
Adjunct Professor, Ryerson University
Director, Pages UnBound: the festival and series
Editor, POV Magazine
Editor, Montage Magazine
Film Critic, The New Classical FM
Film programmer, Planet in Focus
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