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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Everybody Wants Some- A Review

Richard Linklater’s films always make the viewer conscious of time, whether it’s the years represented in Boyhood or the hours that go by in Before Sunrise. Everybody Wants Some details the weekend before the start of semester for a group of college baseball players. Linklater has stated that he considers the film to be the spiritual sequel to Boyhood but in tone and style it definitely reminds one of Linklater’s 1993 comedic masterpiece Dazed and Confused.

The film is quite light on plot but overall follows freshman pitcher Jake as he interacts with his teammates and navigates his first college weekend. It’s extremely heavy on the conversation and as expected for the director (possibly the best writer of dialogue in current cinema?) the characters go over ideas of varying magnitude which seem to be relevant on a universal level. Sure, the characters aren’t discussing the biggest ideas in the world but the philosophies somehow seem to be profound.

There’s no real story arc in the film. The characters don’t come up against a huge obstacle to overcome nor do they learn deep insights along the way. While it might seem meandering if that’s done wrong, in this case it’s refreshing. The entire film seems like one fun rush of hanging out with the guys. It’s an almost wholly male dominated film but perhaps by being set in 1980 it seems to be less of an aggressive masculinity that’s channel and more of a mellow and chill type. It’s an important feature because if the characters were all entitled, misogynist stereotypes of athletes the film wouldn’t work at all. So there can’t be enough praise for writing characters that are multi-dimensional (and likeable).

Managing to fit a multitude of distinct and memorable characters can easily overwhelm a film (or worse, the characters don’t manage to be memorable) but the film finds the balance in putting the right amount of each character in. From the smooth-talking Finn, aggressively talented McReynolds to the team’s designated outcast Niles, who has a habit of going on rants and treating everything way too seriously, there isn’t a single character who doesn’t seem to fit into the film (even if several are trying to figure out how to fit into the team). In fact, the characters and their antics are so much of a draw that it’s almost the end of the film before there’s any baseball at all. And even if there hadn’t been any, it’s unlikely anyone would have really clamoured to see more baseball despite the guys talking about the sport fairly regularly.

The fact that the film is set in 1980 definitely plays a big role. It’s a decade that’s currently popular for nostalgia as Stranger Things and the Ghostbusters reboot have shown. Whether the 1980s were a more hopeful time is probably a personal opinion but it does seem written as this is so. Dale, the team’s only black player, never says a single thing about his race and neither do any of his teammates. It’s all written in the sense of acceptance. And, being the 1980s, music plays a huge role in setting the scene and the soundtrack for this film may be one of the best for the year.

I’d easily place it as an instant classic and the only reason it isn’t in the top five of Linklater’s films is that this is the same director who’s done the Before trilogy, Boyhood and Waking Life (which shares some of the philosophizing upon ideas style that this film has , especially in the bong scene). It’s still September but Everybody Wants Some has a strong case to be one of the best comedies of the year. Thoroughly enjoyable watching and fun from start to fin

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