Dueling Critics: Everybody Wants Some!!
During the weekend before classes begin, a group of college baseball players has their last hurrah with nonstop partying in writer/director Richard Linklater's latest comedy.
Fritz: So...we're in agreement again (yes, readers, we do disagree sometimes - The Witch and Triple 9 are two examples from this year). But this time, we agree because we were both very enthusiastic about Richard Linklater's Everybody Wants Some!!, which he calls the "spiritual sequel" to his 1993 cult classic Dazed and Confused. What did you like so much about it?
David: First, it is a wonderful companion piece to the '70s set Dazed and Confused. What I liked most about Everybody Wants Some!! is that it is another refreshing character based movie from Linklater (See, of course, Dazed as well as the Before Sunrise trilogy). The characters are so vivid that while watching the movie I kept thinking, "Oh,I know a guy like that" or "This one reminds me of so-and-so". It was fun to hang out with these characters, even if some of them reminded you of people you don't like. Instead of framing this within a wacky movie plot or infuse it with slapstick hijinks, the movie remains in the real world of college kids and how they do behave - and it's often very funny because of what the characters say as well as their individual attitudes.
Fritz: Yeah, in one way Linklater reminds me of Cameron Crowe in that they're directors who seem to genuinely like people. I also appreciate how Linklater realizes that in real life, cliques aren't as rigid as the movies often portray them. Here, the jocks go to a party thrown by drama students and...everyone has a good time. The film understands that people with passions, be it athletics or theater or whatever, are often driven by the same things - the desire to shift their focus to something outside of their own heads and live in the moment. In the end, we all have more in common with each other than we'd like to admit.
As fun as the movie is, I thought there was also a subtle poignant/bittersweet tone to it. How about you?
David: That is another thing I like about Dazed and Confused and this picture - they are fun yet are actually about something and, yes, have a bittersweet undercurrent. For the main character in Everybody Wants Some!!, Jake (Blake Jenner), the hedonistic lifestyle he and his friends are living will eventually end. He has a budding romance with a theater major, Beverly (Zoey Deutch), and it all seems perfect...because it's the beginning and complications haven't yet presented themselves.
There are conversations in the film that philosophize about individuality and even the foreshadowing of the Reagan Era and the "Big Business" consumerism of the 1980s. These characters will eventually lose themselves to that.
Fritz: That and there's the realization most people face about their own talents. As Jenner points out, every player on their college team was the best player on his high school team but is now just struggling to make the squad. And if they do well enough to keep going, each successive level will be even harder. Most of us have talents in something and have dreams about pursuing it, but eventually, most people hit a wall and end up working ordinary jobs. One of the players looks at other college students and pities them for not having a chance to play major league baseball, but in all likelihood, none of the guys in Everybody Wants Some!! will, either. But, as Beverly says, we're all lucky to have a passion at some point in our lives, even if it ends up going nowhere.