Typically, the conflict and subsequent resolution is the focal point of a movie, but director Richard Linklater takes an unconventional narrative approach with his film “Everybody Wants Some!!” (2016). In the film, he focuses on character’s relationships and dialogue rather than a journey.
Linklater is well-known in recent history as being the director of the critically acclaimed film “Boyhood” (2014); however, “Everybody Wants Some!!” is a much different film. The movie follows freshman baseball player, Jake (Blake Jenner), during the three days leading up to the start of college. During this time, Jake and his teammates drink, smoke, and deal with the existential struggles that come with being 20 years old and on-their-own.
What makes “Everybody Wants Some!!” a particular interesting movie is that, in a sense, it is a sequel of one of Linklater’s earlier films, “Dazed and Confused” (1993). “Dazed and Confused” is very similar to “Everybody.” Both films follow a group of friends, high schoolers in the mid 70s in “Dazed,” and college students in 1980 for “Everybody.”
Linklater refers to these films as being “spiritual sequels,” meaning films created with similar themes, production and so on as previous films produced by the same creators. Although the films are not related, both focus on the relationships of the characters.
While watching the movie, I found myself smiling and laughing at points because of how accurately Linklater captured typical “shoot the breeze” talks about college.
What initially seems innocuous, or just college kids hanging out, seems to have deeper ties to ideas of identity. While other students identify with what they are studying, Jake and the gang associate college with baseball, answering the question of what you do with ‘baseball,’ not the major that they are studying. Identity is also present in the parties that the boys have during camp college; ranging from disco, to western/cowboy, to frat house, to a theatre party.
These changes in identity during a three-day period are not just about trying to pick up women, but seems to touch closer on the anxiety of trying to discover yourself when you are first away at college. In a time where young-adults are told that they can re-invent themselves, the audience watches the main cast literally go through these transformations in hours.
Though I cannot speak to the accuracy of the film as a 1980s period piece, I do feel that the movie does an excellent job at capturing an identity crisis at a critical time when so much stock is put into identity.
“Everybody Wants Some!!” is being shown tonight, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. at Ashley Square Cinema as part of the Film Studies Series. A discussion on masculinity and coming of age will follow in the Emerson Room of the Inn at DePauw.
It is nostalgic, witty, and provides fairly deep conversation present in a lighthearted way. It may not be a typical quest-driven film, but to quote my good friend Caleb Haydock, “It’s a good moooovie.”
Until next time, take care of yourself and each other. I’m Jeff at the Movies.