Bursting with fun, flavour & flamboyance from the first frame to the last, the spiritual successor to Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused finds the affluential filmmaker applying the same formula that made his 1993 coming-of-age comedy an instant classic and ends up hitting yet another home-run, for his latest is an incredibly refreshing, delightfully amusing, thoroughly entertaining, effortlessly endearing & endlessly nostalgic cinema that stays true to its timeline & setting, and is definitely one of the best films of the year, so far.
Set in the fall of 1980s Texas, the story of Everybody Wants Some!! follows a college freshman who arrives three days before the start of college and moves into a home that shelters members of the college baseball team. After getting acquainted with the rest of his teammates, he heads out with them to survey the campus and invite girls to a party at their place and, over the course of the next three days, gets a brief taste of the fun, freedom & adventures that lie ahead of him in the freewheeling, unsupervised & experimental years of college life.
Written & directed by Richard Linklater, Everybody Wants Some!! presents him in sublime form and the film as a whole successfully lives up to its “spiritual sequel” claim, for it shares a striking similarity with Dazed and Confused in content, contains equally colourful set of characters, and captures the vibe of its decade with precision. The backdrop may have changed from high-school setting to college campus but the quasi-intellectual pastimes & philosophical ramblings retain the tang of the original, not to mention that it pretty much nails the college subculture of the 1980s.
The script embraces its loosely-structured narrative that actually prefers going with the flow rather than having any sense of where it is headed, and although the free-flowing conversations, randomly-occurring events & pop-culture references don’t play any significant role in plot progression, those seemingly unnecessary moments do add more wings & dimensions to the arcs of the characters inhabiting this story, and gives each one of them an identity of their own. It takes the 1993 classic as a template, and carves an original, engaging & invigorating tale on it that works on more levels than one.
Production design team does a fabulous job at recreating the college atmosphere of the 1980s and makes sure that the tiniest of details are in sync with the depicted timeline. The whole experience gets uplifted by a further few notches, thanks to its fluid use of camera & bright colour palette, both infusing a vibrant energy of its own into the picture. Editing is slick, for there isn’t a single dull moment in the movie, pacing is steady, and everything unfolds in a smooth, streamlined manner. As for the soundtrack, it incorporates songs of its era that are almost always in tune with the accompanying scenes.
Coming to the performances, Everybody Wants Some!! features a terrific cast in Blake Jenner, Glen Powell, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Will Brittain, Wyatt Russell & more, and each one of them chip in with wonderful contribution. However, the best thing about this ensemble is the remarkable chemistry they all share with each other. Every character has an identity of their own and the actors chosen to play these scripted people embrace it wholeheartedly. Jenner does well as the centrepiece of this story but it’s Powell & Russell who in my opinion impressed the most in their supporting roles.
On an overall scale, Everybody Wants Some!! is yet another confidently-directed masterpiece from Richard Linklater that captures the idyllic version of college life in an extremely natural manner and despite catering well to the nostalgic needs of Generation X, its underlying themes are universal in nature & not generation-specific. Overflowing with booze, babes, baseball, ping pong, narcotics, cologne, moustache, 80s gear, nightclubs, dancing, punk concerts, costume parties, casual sex & much more, Everybody Wants Some!! promises an amazing time to its viewers & delivers it in heavy doses. An instant classic, by all means. Strongly recommended.