Picture this: a frat house, jocks everywhere. Hard-drinking, hard-partying, womanising young men – and almost every one of them completely lovable.
Everybody Wants Some!! portrays the kind of good-natured college athletes that have been missing from our screens – and our culture – for a long time, and they could not be more welcome.
O-Week! It’s 1980, and Jake (Blake Jenner) is about to kick off his freshman year at college. At high school, he was a hotshot baseball pitcher, but to his dorm full of brand new teammates, he’s just fresh meat. Teammate status here is earned.
So our hero, beginning at the bottom rung, is set to unite a team divided, prove himself, win the girl and overcome the better-funded reigning champions, right? Hell no! This is a Richard Linklater film! These guys are gonna hang out and talk about stuff!
There’s no need for the binary conflicts that sports films tend to establish, as every last one of Jake’s new teammates is competitive in all aspects of life. Whether it be baseball, ping-pong, bong rips, knuckles or picking up, they all play to win. Battle as they might, the team develops a speedy camaraderie that reads as wholly genuine, even when engaging in dumb-as-hell hazing rituals.
They’re boofheads, no doubt, and they do spend much of their time talking about girls – but for all that, there’s a remarkable lack of sexism at play. Even Finnegan (Glen Powell), with his array of carefully crafted pick-up lines, is a charmer. It’s surprisingly refreshing for such an overwhelmingly male movie. The women here are not exploited – Beverly (Zoey Deutch) is given voice, passion and agency, not just camera time.
As a ‘spiritual successor’ to Dazed And Confused, Everybody Wants Some!! delivers. Linklater’s nostalgia is infectious, leading us back to those heady days of stoned philosophical conversation, absurd costume parties and music obsession. Jake, as cipher for Linklater himself, embraces every newcomer and their quirks just like the director. He’s equally comfortable in a mosh pit, on the diamond and in the disco – the hardest part in watching is not being able to join in yourself.
Deep down, there’s politics to it – the setting is pre-Reaganite and the mood is non-partisan. But that’s not why we’re here – this is a one-weekend stand, beautifully inconsequential, warm enough to work its way into your heart. And the thumping ’80s soundtrack never stops satisfying.
Boys can be boys without being bastards. This is the culture to emulate: inclusive, competitive, boisterous and free. Get some – there’s plenty to go around.
Everybody Wants Some!! opens in cinemas on Thursday June 23.