Well, I cannot compare this to Linklater's previous work "Dazed and Confused", but, a couple of months ago, I saw the trailer, and thought, "Man, this is going to be laugh out loud hysterics". Was I wrong.
The movie starts with Jake, the freshman pitcher prospect cruising in a Cutlass 442, not bad for nostalgia (nice to see cars that still have some gusto for real in films).
Jake is a pitcher who lives in a frat house with about twelve other ball players who like to party and talk about getting laid, and playing silly pranks on each other.
Yes, there is a decent soundtrack starting with "My Sharona" from the Knack that opens the movie, but, the flaw is here: "Urgent" by Foreigner was not released until 1981. Oops! And it seems a tad out of place for a bunch of rough and tumble kids to be singing word for word to a rap song.
The title of the movie is misleading "Everybody wants some!" is a Van Halen tune, that was released in 1980, but, we don't get much airplay from hard rock or heavy metal in the sound track. No "Back in Black?" No Judas Priest? No Iron Maiden? This was the pinnacle of New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and Ace of Spades from motorhead was released the same year. Plenty of hard driving rock to really pack a punch to enliven the film a bit.
Back to the plot: there really isn't one, except the countdown to the first day of school, where the ball players go from party to party and meet some strange characters along the way.
I'd have to say the most interesting character(s) are Detroit, the introverted, hard throwing, paranoid, humorless caricature that is funny for a bit, but isn't fleshed out enough to really meld in.
The bearded virgin who is later kicked off the team, is perhaps the most reflective and philosophical character in the entire cast. He talks about the progression of one song on an album while the others get high.
Who put Willis from Diff'rent Strokes in the cast? That isn't Todd Bridges, is it? He acted very well to fit in, but I don't see that happening in Texas. And where are the bell bottoms? We only start to get a glimpse of the underground music scene when Jake stumbles upon his long haired jean jacket adorned friend who wants to take the crew to a punk rock concert.
As for the pranks, the knuckle challenge between the thin mustachioed fellow and the long haired shorter guy (who wins the challenge) is the funniest bit, but hardly enough to warrant a great belly laugh. It's a sight gag.
I looked at the Tomatometer, and it was very good for this film. Uh, what film were THEY watching? Where's Pauline Kael when you need her?
This is a gem of a film that really stands out. The storyline is simple: girl travels abroad, boy meets girl, they fall in love, girl leaves, it gets complicated, then it is resolved.
I cannot give more details than that, but the lead actress is superb, combined with a wonderful performance by Jim Broadbent of independent film fame.
While the storyline is simple, the acting is done with such palpable emotion by the lead, that one can empathize with what the character is going through. Also, there is some good humor in the conversations that take place through the movie, which gives it a lighter touch, despite the undertones of the film being a romantic drama.
The filming on location is well done, as well as the period costumes being spot on for the mid twentieth century.
The film is done tastefully, like the movies that were filmed in the golden era from the 30s to the early 60s (ie, nothing seems overdone).
I applaud the director, the cast, and writers for creating a piece of art that most likely will win some sort of award in one of the critics' circles.