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Everybody Wants Some!!
The spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused
Driving through Smalltown, USA, looking at butts along the way. Meeting the new roommates and teammates, hazing a bit to get to know them. Driving to campus together while singing songs to which relative strangers all understandably know the lyrics. (Spotify didn’t exist yet.) Going to parties that you hear about because you heard about them. Class starts in three days and fifteen hours.
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) tells the story of a bunch of dudes and ladies for three days before college classes start. If you haven’t seen Dazed and Confused (1993), the spiritual predecessor of this film, you should check it out first. If Dazed and Confused is the foreplay, then Everybody Wants Some!! is the business. Gone is the burning tension and longing of high-school-aged kids dabbling in romance and antiestablishment, and here is the aged wisdom and experience of college freshmen and sophomores scoring at the first party of the school year. It’s a film that implies that education happens in between classes. Despite being set in 1980, the blast radius of the film in terms of its ability to trigger nostalgia receptors could be measured in decades.
The film might remind you of when you were bold enough to philosophize boldly without fear of embarrassment or judgment. AKA being young, when rules are meant to be broken and rewritten. At its best, it reminds you to be bold and brash again, with renewed confidence. Life is short, after all, which college students seem to understand better despite their lack of experience. Students marvel at their good fortune to be where and who they are: the best of the best, young, intelligent, talented, and hot. (This is not to say that they are correct in their estimation, but the outcome of their lives is another story, not told here.) Linklater’s genius in casting relative unknowns lies in the subtle message it sends the audience: when you’re young, and life seems unlimited in its potential, you are the star of the movie.
Maya Angelou said: “At the end of the day, people won't remember what you said or did; they will remember how you made them feel.” If anyone can recall and convey feelings better than Richard Linklater, then that person isn’t a filmmaker, and I haven’t come across them in whatever medium they’re working in. Like his masterworks in the Before Trilogy, Everybody Wants Some!! is less concerned with a standard narrative structure and more concerned with communicating life's veracity via a series of tableaus that are unbelievably greater than the sum of their parts. Linklater’s films operate within strict confines: a few days or hours is all he needs to communicate the most profound truth of our lives: the mundane beauty and the ridiculousness. In one scene, midway through the film, the guys walk down a rural street chatting about the hoi polloi. It’s a humbling scene for anyone who’s ever been too big for their britches in any regard.
“I know what we’re doing here. But what are all these other guys doing here?”
“Yeah, I think that too, like: what would it be like to go through life knowing there’s no way you’d ever play pro ball?”
Everybody Wants Some!!
Written and Directed by Richard Linklater
Recommended way to watch (at time of publication): Rent it on any major service for around $4