"Don't be afraid to let the experience find you." Willoughby (Wyatt Russell)
Everybody Wants Some!! is a real comedy, not some reality show knock off about college athletes gone bad. It's 1980, it feels like 1980, and the kids are full of 1980's optimism expressed in their passion for baseball and hot chicks. The "experience" the very high, hippie philosopher Willoughby promotes in the quote above comes for most at college, where new experiences find and transform.
The hero is Jake (Blake Jenner), a freshman pitcher joining the rest of the college baseball team in one of their two houses provided off campus, conveniently unsupervised. He represents the youthful idealism of a former high-school star athlete on scholarship at a small south Texas college. Linklater's plot is so charmingly rambling, like his favorite pinball motif, that character development is acceptably absent. With the pastiche of pranks that serve as episodes, seriousness can't prevail anymore than it did in Linklater's classic, Dazed and Confused.
The most interesting character has to be Finn (Glen Powell), the ladies' man spouting Linklater aphorisms like the one above. He's a woman-con who nevertheless comes out with thoughts for life amidst his clowning.
What makes this film different is that from the beginning these wisecracking jocks know they're not going to be picked up by the pros, but they still talk about that happening with the right realistic attitude. Director Richard Linklater, coming off his Oscar-nominated Boyhood, in which he showed unique insight into a growing boy, now paints a portrait of young men quickly transitioning into men who know what's up.
During this coming of age story, the players play at college life with the same gusto they show for their sport, not always scoring but always in pursuit, as if both games were evidence of their right to success, an American characteristic to be sure. Seeing a possible scout painting a house near the playing field, the realization is that he may not be a scout. All everybody can infer is it's good to be ready when any of life's "scouts" should come by.
The wit is omnipresent and occasionally brilliant, evidenced by these two insults: dipshitification and fuckwithery—used more than once to put someone down and toughen up at the same time.
Amidst Twilight Zone VHS's, Van Halen, and Carl Sagan, Linklater has returned us to 1980). And dare I say it, gives a good name to nostalgia.
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