Written by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Blake Jenner, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Glen Powell, Wyatt Russell
While the central purpose of attending college should be getting a degree to improve one’s chances at landing a beneficial career, the other perks of the experience take priority at times. Whether it be partying or bonding with new friends made, Everybody Wants Some!! captures the jubilance of heading out on your own and displays Linkalter succeeding once again with an aimless story.
Heading to college after being an all-state pitcher in high school, Jake Bradford (Blake Jenner) moves into an off-campus house where the other players live prior to classes starting. As a new member of the team, he needs to earn his place not only on the field but also socially, which involves engaging in prohibited parties and trying to pick up girls.
Richard Linklater has this uncanny ability to create characters I would have no interest in associating myself with in the real world but makes them so entertaining within his narratives. In complete transparency, I personally do not care to hang out with college baseball guys as prior history has shown that our personalities don’t mesh for reasons shown in this very film. However, Linklater has a magical skill to make even the most unlikeable individuals so exciting to watch, because he finds this perfect balance of shallowness and humanity and this movie only further proves the point.
Serving as the 80s companion piece to the 70s Dazed and Confused, this film does not have an antagonist or real conflict to it, but rather it focuses on the good vibes of the situation happening around them. Baseball means plenty to the guys living in the house, but it becomes more about them bonding prior to school starting. Within the house, there are the new guys including Jake, but also the upperclassmen like Finnegan (Glen Powell), McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), Dale (J. Quinton Johnson), and plenty others. They each have definitive characteristics that make them stand out but all contribute to the brotherhood naturally forming between these young men.
Throughout the process of watching this film, you’ll eventually get to the point where you stop trying to figure out where the plot wants to go and instead just vibe with the narrative. Nothing of seriousness comes to the forefront precisely because these young men have nothing of note occurring in their lives other than partying and getting ready for baseball season. Sure, there could have been an attempt to make this about Jake missing home but it never showed any interest in going down that road. It finds the perfect middle between a collegiate drama and an American Pie type of story in regard to what fills the minds of these college students.
With rules established by their coach, such as no alcohol in the house or girls upstairs, the narrative quickly establishes none of it really matters. However, it undoubtedly proves to be a culture where the coach states social rules for them to follow purely for the liability aspect and the guys essentially do what they want. It really just sets the tone for everything else happening around them, which only makes stringent changes upon them all the more jarring and necessary.
Each of these characters has a standout moment to adore but this film started my undying appreciation of Glen Powell with his Finnegan. A character walking the fine line of being abjectly annoying and incredibly endearing, Powell utilizes his brand of comedy to perfection here. He serves as the right balance of the other personalities bouncing off each other. Additionally, Zoe Deutch always proves to be a delight and appears in the story as Beverly, Jake’s love interest. The energy she provides to any project she stars in remains unparalleled and it was great to see her with Glen Powell here before their ridiculously charming romantic comedy, Set it Up. Even with its standouts, the film’s success lies in the ensemble and the way they effortlessly bounce off each other to paint the portrait of what it was like to be in this kind of fellowship in the 1980s.
As the narrative progressed, I kept waiting for Linklater to weave in his philosophical ideas as he’s known to do even in stoner comedies. It came and landed just as well as I could have ever hoped. He finds the right balance of having this be aimless in structure but also filled with interspersed profound moments for these characters to experience throughout an experience where they do not actively seek something of substance. It really shows how magical life can be at times.