Linklater’s “Everybody Want Some!!” Takes Him Back To His Roots

By Scott Kurland

Film: Everybody Wants Some!!
Starring: Blake Jenner, Glen Powell, Tyler Hoechilin, Ryan Guzman, Temple Baker, Zoey Deutch, J. Quinton Johnson, and Wyatt Russell
Rated R
Director: Richard Linklater

If you are new to my column, then you have no idea what a huge Richard Linklater fanatic I truly am. He is my second favorite director of all time. I have seen all his films and I own quite a few of them as well. I rave about the “Before Sunrise” series and it is my belief that “Boyhood” is the best film of the last twenty years. Assuming you already knew what a Linklater junkie I am, just add: "previously on 'Kurland On Film'..." to those previous sentences. This week’s film is Linklater’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed “Boyhood”. It is also a continuation of both “Boyhood” and “Dazed and Confused.” It’s called “Everybody Wants Some!!" Let’s see if it’s any good shall we?

“Everybody Wants Some!!” takes place in 1980 at a small Texas College where the baseball house reigns supreme on campus. As the film opens, we see freshmen Jake (Blake Jenner) enter his first years as the teams prospect pitcher. The weekend unfolds with Jake befriending his fellow teammates who all come with their own quirky personalities. There’s the laid-back, wisecracking Finnegan (Glen Powell), aided by his rag-tag trio of Dale (J. Qunton Johnson), Roper (Ryan Guzman), and baby-face catcher Plummer (Temple Baker). Finnegan takes Jake under his wing and helps him navigate the first few days of college baseball. Over the next three days, Jake learns more about himself and life than he ever imagined; whilst catching the eye of a beautiful theater major named Beverly (Zoey Deutch). 

I want to start off  by saying that I really enjoyed this film. It’s the perfect film to succeed “Boyhood”. “Boyhood” was this wonderful experiment that got Linklater out of his comfort zone. So, the most appropriate thing for Linklater to do next is return to his roots. If you have seen “Dazed and Confused” or “SubUrbia,” you know Linklater understands teens and twenty-somethings. Most filmmakers depict this demographic as brats, privileged know-it-all's or both. Linklater instead chooses to have his characters acknowledge the fact that they have no direction and that they're trapped at an annoying age. This allows the audience to accept them early on and continue on the journey with them. Linklater’s story and script are so uniquely rooted in the 1980s that the time period becomes a character itself. We get glimpses of the past years and see how it was impacted by fads such as Disco and Country Line Dancing. We also see into the future with the resurgence of baseball and the punk music scene. As I said before, this is a good film. It’s not as experimental and cinematic as “Boyhood,” but it's great cast makes it a companion film to “Dazed and Confused.”

  This is a film that will make stars out of all the leads. For me, the career-making role is Glen Powell's Finnegan or “Finn”. This guy has such a presence to him that I was in awe of him and elated every time he came onscreen. Powell knew who this character was and played him to perfection. One minute Finnegan is picking up girls, the next he is coming to grips with his diminishing baseball career. No matter what's going on around him, the smile on Finn's face never wavers. Everyone thought that the McConaughey of the film was going to be Wyatt Russell (and don’t get me wrong, he does have those moments). However, the real scene stealer and life force of “Everybody Wants Some !!” is Powell.

“Everybody Wants Some!!” is a great ensemble film, without any of the performances this film falls apart. Jenner is great as Jake the protagonist because he’s likable and without a likable lead a film fallters. We also great so many supporting performances like J. Qunton Johnson as Dale who is like the connection between the audience and the film. For me what I needed in this film was an antagonist like Ben Affleck was in “Dazed and Confused”, and we get that in the form of Tyler Hoechilin. If you know him from “Teen Wolf” he’s very different here as McReynolds the unofficial team captain who believes in brotherhood over solo show boating.

I'm glad to see Linklater staying true to himself and going back to what made him famous. I hate it when directors refuse to acknowledge that they made a popular film once upon a time. That’s why Linklater is the king. If he makes a hit, he embraces it like it’s one of his children. “Everybody Wants Some!!” is a great comedy that everyone will appreciate and it will definitely hold people over while they wait patiently for “Captain America: Civil War”. This is a stellar must-see-film that you won’t be sorry you saw in theaters.

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