Review: Everybody Wants Some!!

It's like the aftermath of Dazed and Confused



The title of Richard Linklater's beloved 1993 celebration of youth, Dazed and Confused, came from a Led Zeppelin song. Everybody Wants Some!!, billed as the spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused, comes from a Van Halen song. The song may have great meaning to Linklater, but it's a terrible movie title. So clunky!! The movie, however, is a doozy – funny, entertaining and insightful without making a fuss about it.

Where Dazed and Confused dealt with high school life in the '70s, Everybody Wants Some!! looks at college life in 1980, just a few days before classes start, as Jake (Blake Jenner) – a young pitcher – arrives at the off campus house where the baseball team lives. As Jake gets acclimated, you get to play Jane Goodall with the primates in their natural habitat.

You will encounter McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), a self-satisfied alpha male sporting a porn star mustache, Finn (Glen Powell), an affable ladies man, and perennial nice guy, Dale (J. Quinton Johnson). Then there's Roper (Ryan Guzman) the instigator, Willoughby (Wyatt Russell, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn's boy), who urges his teammates to "just be weird," dour Billy (Will Brittain) and Niles (Juston Street), who says he's "too philosophical for this game." And look, there's even a girl with enough screen time to warrant a mention: Beverly (Zooey Deutch) is a fine arts major who becomes close to Jake.

Over the course of the film you'll see lots of alcohol fueled party antics, including a teabagging incident, and the duct-taping of several guys to a wall. You'll witness the primates socialize in a disco, a country bar, a punk joint and an arts event.

The plot ... actually, there isn't much of a plot to speak of. Periodically, we are shown how many days, hours and minutes are left until classes begin. The countdown adds a sense of urgency to the boys behavior, or to our perception of their behavior, or something. Regardless, don't sit down expecting typical story arcs, because the movie doesn't work that way.

My favorite Linklater films have a dreamlike quality. From the sublime Waking Life to the controversial Boyhood, people and ideas drift through space and time. Some consider those films pretentious and boring. I like to meander with Linklater and his created people.

Dazed and Confused proved to be a significant early career stop for Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich, Adam Goldberg, Parker Posey, Cole Hauser, and Joey Lauren Adams. Time will tell how the Everybody Wants Some!! cast fares, but they all do fine work here. The vintage soundtrack is packed with gems, by the way.

I think this is one of those films that will please both mainstream film-goers and the art house crowd. You can read it however you choose – as a lower-key Animal House or an ode to the hours before reality, rules and routine are imposed on the freedom of the young. Regardless of your point of view, Everybody Wants Some!! is a highly entertaining production that's easily as good as its title is bad.


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