SXSW Review: ‘EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!’ – dazed and amused

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Preston Barta // Features Editor

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! | 116 min | R
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Blake JennerTyler HoechlinGlen PowellRyan GuzmanTemple BakerJ. Quinton JohnsonWill BrittainJuston StreetZoey DeutchWyatt RussellForrest Vickery and Austin Amelio

Some have labeled DAZED AND CONFUSED as one of the greatest hangout movies of all-time. It’s a movie you watch not only for its artistic qualities and good banter, but also as a genuinely fun experience spending time with its enjoyable characters.

Texas filmmaker Richard Linklater has perfected the craft with his often loose and character-driven narratives. The more times you watch his films, the more his characters resemble old friends rather than the cast of a movie.

Linklater captures that same essence with his spiritual-sequel to DAZED AND CONFUSED (and BOYHOOD, too, arguably), titled EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!

The film’s setting moves from high school to college and the ’70s to the ’80s. It follows a freshman named Jake (Blake Jenner, of GLEE fame) on his first weekend of college, experiencing a frat-like welcome with a team of hard-partying baseball players as they navigate the tricky, unsupervised waters of young adulthood.

Linklater may not be a household name yet like Quentin Tarantino, but the simplicity of his films makes them universal and poignant. He constantly renews our expectations for cinema as a realm of wonder — not by advancing the technique or revolutionizing the way movies are made, but by spinning up beautifully complete characters who grow against the backdrop he creates.

For the younger generation, it’ll make you wish you had friends and a college experience much like EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! offers. Instead of burying our faces in the latest gadgets, we would all just kick back and let the good times roll in the company of people whose eyes and hearts are open to how complicated adolescence can be. As the characters learn more about each other, we come to sympathize and love them more, wishing we could be part of their circle.

Richard Linklater (left) and the cast of EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! at SXSW.

Richard Linklater (left) and the cast of EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! at SXSW.

Because Linklater’s films rely more on characterization than narrative, so much rides on the performance of the ensemble. Thankfully, everybody goes above and beyond his or her given roles, especially charmer Glen Powell (SCREAM QUEENS) and the largely quotable newcomer Temple Baker. As Finn and Plummer, the duo fill the comedic and philosophical shoes of Matthew McConaughey’s Wooderson from Dazed and Confused, spattering side-splitting lines about sex, waterbeds and how to successfully pick up girls.

While the film meets its expected quota of college debauchery and antisocial antics, it still has many touching personal moments. The best scenes feature characters coming to grips with their lives and the messy business of growing up, such as one sequence between Jenner and Wyatt Russell (22 JUMP STREET), whose their characters discuss “embracing your inner strange.”

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! may lack the subtlety and richness of Linklater’s best work, but it remains an incredibly exhilarating film that will leave you with warm feelings of nostalgia — and a film to watch again when you feel like checking in on its full-of-life characters.

Grade: A

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! has encore screenings at SXSW tonight (3/12) and Friday (3/18). It opens in limited release on April 1 and will roll out in the weeks that follow.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.