Movie Review: “ Everybody Wants Some!! ” – An Anti-Movie

Written by Matt Butler May 12, 2016

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I find it fascinating how Richard Linklater’s screenplays work. He seem to favour absence, an absence of visual style, conflict, character development, arcs, and, most notably, an absence of plot. These are some of the most basic aspects of a movie, and yet, when it comes to Linklater’s writing, I never really miss them. Perhaps these aspects of film may be rudimentary, but they aren’t fundamental.  What is fundamental though is a film’s ability to display critical understanding, and if Linklater’s latest work, Everybody Wants Some!! proves anything, it’s a critical understanding of those static, in-between moments, where we aren’t ignorant but we also aren’t wise, where we’re not kids but certainly not adults either. Where we just wander aimlessly for a while until we find ourselves drawn down a specific path. 

“We came for a good time, not for a long time.”

Everybody Wants Some!! details the rowdy exploits of a ragtag college baseball team as they embrace the last few days before the start of the fall semester. That’s about as detailed as I need to get with this plot. Sure, there’s a love interest here and a hazing ritual there, but the cause and effect relationships in this movie are almost entirely inconsequential. Two-thirds into the movie, one of the baseball team members -I won’t say who- gets busted for being overage. Immediately after this happens, no one else bats an eye, it just happens and then something else happens. It’s a complete denial of causality as is conventionally used in a dramatic narrative, but then again, there’s nothing really dramatic about Everybody Wants Some!!. There is, though, something really… real.

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“I’m too philosophical for this shit!”

This is owed much to the actors, a few of whom, if Dazed and Confused is a decent enough reference point, might (and should) go on to bigger things. Everyone is skillful in performing this tough juggling act of the sincere and the jovial. There’s rarely a moment when things feel played up. It’s a trade of the aesthetic for the authentic. There’s no attempts to stage the frame or block the characters in a way that communicates meaning. Again, while this is something I usually look for and gawk at in a movie (American Beauty is a perfect example), it doesn’t work for everything, and it certainly wouldn’t work in a Richard Linklater film. I’m not saying his films lack skillful cinematography, I just mean they don’t demand attention to that aspect. Linklater’s films are about conversation, people being people and meandering through the motions. They’re about living organically. Shooting a scene with meticulous blocking and mies-en-scene, at least in this film, would compromise the sincerity of it. I guess what I mean by all of this is that Everybody Wants Some!!, and Richard Linklater’s screenplays in general, are anti-movies, at least in how I’ve come to understand movies, and I’m perfectly fine with that. Refreshed even.

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“You’ve got to embrace your inner strange, man. Just be weird!”

Everybody Wants Some!! shines a light on those moments of immaturity that precede maturity. It’s actually kind of remarkable just how unabashed and objective the movie is about its characters’ raucous chauvinism and misogyny. I wouldn’t say the film glorifies it, or even supports it. It’s more focused on legitimizing these attitudes as the stepping stones, the motors that pump the blood and drive us towards bigger things. Retrospectively, sure, they may seem crude and childish, but in the moment, it’s the only thing you know. It’s less “boys will be boys” and more “remember when…”. It’s also nice to see the jock stereotype finding some needed complexity, that’s neither vilifying or oversimplifying. Everybody Wants Some!! is a thinking man’s stoner comedy. There’s a good deal of humour on the surface, just the energy of the cast keeps things breezy, but there’s a gracefully nuanced statement on the competitive spirit weaved throughout. It’s a challenge to extrapolate the hidden meaning, but the film is entertaining enough to make the challenge worth it.

My Rating: 8/10

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About Matt Butler

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is a strapping young English Major with a fiery passion for the art of cinematic storytelling. He likes long walks on the beach and knows the proper use of 'your' and 'you're'. (Example: I hope YOU'RE having a wonderful time browsing our site, and I hope you enjoy YOUR time reading my film reviews. I wrote them just for you.)

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