Posted May 15 2016
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Everybody Wants Some!! - This Linklater '80s Rocks

Dir: Richard Linklater

Starring Blake Jenner, Juston Stree, Ryan Guzman, Zoey Deutch

Everybody Wants Some!! (the two exclamation marks are courtesy of Van Halen the writer-director assures us) is both Linklater’s spiritual sequel to his breakthrough Dazed and Confused and, in its own way, a sort of continuation of Boyhood – a film that ends with a young man’s first days in college.

More than anything though, it is a continuation of the filmmaker’s own autobiographical odyssey through cinema. Coming off the one-two punch of Before Midnight and Boyhood, this is Linklater-lite and slight, but still very much deserving.

Jenner’s Jake is the Linklater stand-in here, the director having also decamped to uni as a jock before he was diagnosed with a heart condition and re-found himself in the world of the arts (the latter being hinted at here towards the end.) And – well, that’s it. This is not a movie that concerns itself with plot. It focuses on the three day weekend of Jake’s arrival at college, a weekend of partying before it all gets serious with school beginning on the Monday morning. It almost exclusively focuses on two houses chock full o’ jocks (baseball team-wise), only briefly allowing for then burgeoning punks and, occasionally, girls.

It’s a movie of memories, from the outstanding soundtrack – Blondie to The Cars to Stiff Little Fingers to The Knack, from disco to a singalong Rapper’s Delight – to the way you used to sit around getting stoned, debating the cosmos (Carl Sagan’s version and others), and talking about the meaning of albums that could still be scratched and came in gatefold sleeves. It’s beautifully played by a fine ensemble cast and if women are underrepresented or unfairly pictured – that’s the way it was in Linklater’s house. And these are first and foremost his reminiscences. For better or worse.

And we’re in the “better” camp. It’s by no means the man’s best work, but it’s fine and funny, fast and furious. And manages to be nostalgic without ever touching on maudlin.

The brilliance of Boyhood was always going to be a tough act to follow. Here, Linklater opts for another key. Still a good song though.

 

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