Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Movie Review #407: "Everybody Wants Some!!" (2016)

Movie"Everybody Wants Some!!"
Ticket Price: $6.99
Director: Richard Linklater
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 57 minutes
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Jake (Blake Jenner) is just starting college on a baseball scholarship. On his first day, he meets up with his new housemates/teammates and learns what college life is all about. He and his new friends intend on having a weekend full of partying and getting laid before the first day of class starts on Monday.

Right off the bat, we noticed Richard Linklater's latest slice-of-life comedy "Everybody Wants Some!!" is very reminiscent of some his early works. We came to find out that, as the poster puts it, it is "a spiritual sequel to "Dazed and Confused,"" though the director himself maintains the film could be a continuation of "Boyhood"...so there you go. The hype machine has always worked in overtime when it comes to all things Linklater. This latest flick has been very well received, so much so it's been hard to avoid the positive praise. We were not immediately drawn to this film when we saw the trailer for it. It looked pretty cheesy, what a bad trailer. In an effort to placate his fan base and draw in new viewers, "Everybody Wants Some!!" examines the first weekend of college life for freshman baseball player Jake, played by Blake Jenner. Gee, that sounds familiar, doesn't it? Interestingly enough, "Dazed and Confused" and this one focus on a freshman baseball pitcher. In "Dazed and Confused," one of the principle characters is a high school freshman and a pitcher in 1976, and in "Everybody Wants Some!!," Jake is a college freshman and a pitcher in 1980. The only thing stopping this film from being a direct sequel is the name of the character.

As a slice-of-life film, this movie is completely reliant on how well its characters are constructed, how strong the dialogue is, and what themes get explored over its given time frame. I really enjoyed all of the characters here, and BigJ only liked a few. The best characters by far are Glen Powell's very charming Finnegan and Tyler Hoechlin's ultra competitive McReynolds. They are probably the highlight of the entire film. Finnegan is both smart and a horn-dog. He can balance his dickishness with literary spoken words and facts in a compelling and heartfelt manner, even when he's trying to pick up on chicks. Glen Powell has graced the small screen on Fox's "Scream Queens" in a similar role, but without the book smarts and any trace of sensitivity or niceness. We loved him here and really hope to see more of him anywhere we can, but Finn and Blake are really a bit to "jock with a heart of gold" for us, though it's hardly a complaint. Hoechlin's McReynolds knows he's the best and can put his money where his mouth is. His cockiness gives him the upper hand with women and an advantage on the baseball field, but god help his teammates if he should lose at something, anything. Even though he knows he's the best, he still tries to think of the collective team first. Finally, Justin Street's Jay is so off-the-wall insane that he has a ton of awkwardly humorous moments when he gets in a mood.

This is where BigJ and I begin to differ in our opinion of "Everybody Wants Some!!" Where he could only muster a few minor chuckles in nearly 2 hours, I laughed pretty much consistently throughout the movie. Granted, these weren't all huge big belly laughs, but I did stay relatively entertained the entire time. In a theater of about a dozen people, we never heard more than a collective snicker, and to be honest, at least one person walked out of our screening. This tells us the film as a whole is clearly not something everyone will enjoy. We can both agree it feels a bit overlong, but for BigJ, there are moments where he was simply flat out bored. We also agree that the soundtrack was off the hook brilliant.

As some point, "Everybody Wants Some!!" is content to simply follow its characters around and show the audience 80's cultural bench-markers as reference points, like a Reagan/Bush booth on campus, a Pat Benatar song here or there, or an old Dr. Pepper can pulled from a retro fridge. It all feels a little more fluffy, a heap more aimless and rambling, and a lot more quick with a witty dick joke than some of his other films (barring "Dazed," of course). Maybe this is what the 80's really were all about, and perhaps Linklater was able to capture the 80's as they were on screen here, but both of us are too young to remember a time when disco was on its way out and people still combed their mustaches. "Everybody Wants Some!!" does have all the hallmarks of a Richard Linklater film, including the use of relatively unknown actors to make his cast, excellent tracking shots and some great camera work, a serious attention to (most) details in capturing the essence and spirit of the times, the use of pertinent information and timely lingo, and modeling outfits, hairstyles, and facial hair after the proper times, but for some reason, it doesn't feel as successful as we wanted it to be. While I liked it more than BigJ did, I was still a bit underwhelmed by it. It may appeal more to bros than everyone in general, but this virtually story-less comedy isn't quite as good as some of Linklater's previous works, and it doesn't do enough to distinguish itself from the millions of indie films being made exactly like this.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~91%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Danny Collins"

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