Everybody Wants Some!! ***½

by Julian Stark

"Boyhood" director Richard Linklater takes a break from growing up and instead embraces the bliss of living young -  and it reeks of testosterone, stale beer, and dank pot in all the best ways.

Is it worth $10? Yes

Linklater’s latest is much more relaxed and juvenile than some of his more recent works, but it does maintain the maturity and voice that has come to be a trademark of the director. It is a love letter to the young and hedonistic, a film that revels in pleasure. The typical stereotypes of college cliques are on display, but some stereotypes only exist because they are true. Many moments in the film are expected - the home runs the players fantasize about don’t happen in the ballpark, but in the bedroom. Copious amounts of alcohol are consumed, crude hazes are inflicted on the freshman, and rules are constantly being broken. Like many sentimental memories, the good is exaggerated and the bad is omitted. This isn’t a story about consequence, but about the joys of action. “Everybody Wants Some!!” is filmed through rose-colored lenses.

The movie begins with freshman pitcher Jake (Blake Jenner) arriving at college. Class starts in three days. He enters the house he will be sharing with his teammates, and is greeted to a mix of hostility and kindness from the eccentric group of players. They include: Finn (Glen Powell) is the smoothest talker and one of the most intuitive of the bunch, not to mention the one with the most libido. McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin) hates freshman and pitchers almost as much as he hates losing. Willoughby (Wyatt Russell) has a clear love for cannabis and conspiracy theories, and thinks people should embrace their “inner weird self.”

Although some occasionally seem too conventional, they all offer enough complexity and differences to remain original and unique from one another. The acting and chemistry between the cast is top-notch and highly contributes to the humor of the film, which tilts between crude and witty. Jake hits it off with some players more than others, and also has some chemistry with a girl in theatre named Beverly (Zoey Deutch). The romantic plot is short and not overbearing, and well done when present.
The ballplayers often step outside of their world and embrace different styles of self-expression, choosing outfits based on the general vibe that will be present, ostensibly to pick up women. They groove to disco, but also swing to country-western. They mosh to punk-rock, but can get into conversations about zodiac signs with theatre girls. They are comfortable blending in, they are just not yet comfortable standing out.

The movie also does a brilliant job of showing how people cured their boredom before the digital age. Some of the most amusing scenes are those of the players playing foosball or ping pong, connecting through (usually) friendly competition. They rely on each other to pass the time, and the film acutely shows the charm of an age where human interaction was the only kind of interaction.

What brings this diverse set of people under the same roof is baseball. However, their revealing moments happen off the field.  They relate with one another in situations outside of their comfort zone because it is in those moments where they don’t see each other as baseball players, but as human beings trying to find their identity. “Everybody Wants Some!!” is much more than a story about a ball team partying and getting laid. It is about the natural desire to connect with others.

Linklater shows that even at his crudest and loosest, he is one of the great filmic embracers of sentience.

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