If there’s one thing that writer/director Richard Linklater is a master of, it’s nostalgia. In 1993, he gave us the classic “Dazed and Confused,” which was about little more than a group of high school students having various adventures on their last day of school in 1976. To say the film didn’t have a plot is not to give it insult, but rather to say that it just wasn’t that kind of film. It was the kind of film that worked best as an experience, or to put it a little more specifically, a nostalgic experience. There may not have been much of a story, but you simply didn’t care because the characters and setting were interesting enough to carry the entire film. Linklater would also use a similar approach to his award-winning “Boyhood” throughout its 12 years of filming. The story was a little more structured, but it was still a film more notable for the experience rather than its narrative.
For his follow up project, “Everybody Wants Some!!,” Linklater has once again opted to take us back in time, this time choosing the year 1980 as his setting. We follow as Jake (Blake Jenner) arrives at college in Texas, meets his housemates (who are also his baseball teammates), and spends the last remaining days before classes begin partying, picking up women, and practicing with his team. Like with the films mentioned above, this is another Linklater outing that doesn’t have much of a solid storyline to follow, but once again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your tolerance for this type of film.
To say the film meanders is a bit of an understatement, but as we’ve seen, when Linklater does it, something magical usually happens. In this case, we have several fascinating characters that interact as though they’ve known each other for ages and a setting that provides an intriguing backdrop for this seemingly aimless tale of a young man acclimating to his new surroundings and teammates. Just like with “Dazed and Confused,” it’s the kind of film that you can take a rather simple delight in just following along with these guys as they go about an average day of clubbing and all the other things that college kids do. In fact, there’s a good chance you won’t even realize that no solid story has materialized until at least halfway through, if at all.
Helping out quite a bit in this regard is the fantastic cast of mostly unknowns that Linklater has assembled for his latest tale. Some of them have been around for a little while with parts in small shows like “Glee,” “Teen Wolf,” “and “Scream Queens,” but for the most part, this is a cast that audiences will not recognize, and since most of them aren’t that well know, it’s rather impressive that they make their performances seem so natural and that they truly make this ensemble seem like they’ve been friends for years. You also have to keep in mind that most of the cast was born in the late 80s/early 90s, so they all had to adjust to the lingo, clothes, and setting, but they all take it on rather well, which goes a long way in allowing the audience to get lost in that nostalgic feeling that Linklater is so great at producing.
Another thing that is absolutely required to mention is the incredible soundtrack, another element that Linklater is known for when he makes this kind of film. If you should feel that the film is moving a bit too slow at certain points, there always seems to be a great song just around the corner to get you back in the groove, including such classics as “My Sharona,” “Rapper’s Delight,” “Ladies Night,” “Give Up the Funk,” Another One Bites the Dust,” “I Want You to Want Me,” and even a hilarious hard rock version of the “Gilligan’s Island” theme. If the performances, clothes, and the setting weren’t enough to pull you in, the amazing selection of music will certainly do the trick.
“Everybody Wants Some!!” is really best described as a film that’s fun to watch. There’s nothing complicated to wrap your head around here. You just simply sit back and have a good time watching these guys have a good time. It may not rank up there with Linklater’s classics, but as I mentioned earlier, he’s got this nostalgia thing down. It’s hard to think of another filmmaker who can make a film that does nothing but meander (normally a very negative thing to have to say in a review), and yet, have it turn out to be a rather entertaining experience. I have no idea how he manages to do it, but let’s just be glad that he does.
“Everybody Wants Some!!” comes to Blu-ray in a 1.85:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of outstanding quality. The picture remains perfectly sharp and clear throughout the entire presentation, allowing you to see the great period dressings in every detail. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is also fantastic, giving you all of the dialogue and the excellent soundtrack in great quality. Overall, the film has been given exceptional treatment, leaving you with the best experience possible.
Everybody Wants Some!!: More Stuff That’s Not in the Movie (25 Minutes): An amusing collection of deleted scenes and outtakes.
Rickipedia (4 Minutes): A featurette that focuses on Richard Linklater’s extensive knowledge of the period.
Baseball Players Can Dance (7 Minutes): A featurette that explores the cast’s dance training.
Skills Videos (5 Minutes): A collage of videos showing off the cast’s baseball skills.
History 101: Stylin’ the 80s (4 Minutes): A featurette that takes you through the film’s makeup and costumes.
“Everybody Wants Some!!” may seem to set about without a purpose or direction, but under writer/director Richard Linklater’s guidance, it becomes a rather entertaining character piece mixed together with a delightful nostalgia trip. Along with a talented young ensemble and a marvelous soundtrack, it’s the kind of film that you can just sit back and enjoy as a fun experience. Sure, there’s not much of a story to be found, but as Linklater has proved before, sometimes that just doesn’t matter.