Liked Dazed and Confused, with it’s ensemble cast and “day in the life of” vibe? Well then, Everybody Wants Some!! will be more of the same, straight from D&C‘s Richard Linklater. Everybody is a cool-ass trip for those of us who grew up in the 80s, but could scare a lot of kids who don’t really wanna know what their parents were up to when they were young.
Everybody starts off at fictional Southern Texas University in August, 1980, with baseball-scholarship frosh Jake getting to his digs for the year. The baseball team has been given two houses just off campus, to help with the overcrowding at the dorms. Jake meets his teammates, bon-vivant Finn (Glen Powell, Scream Queens), stoner Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), laid-back Dale (J. Quinton Johnson), badass Mac (Tyler Hoechlin, Teen Wolf) and many more. He’s one of four freshmen added to the roster that year, so in the days before school officially starts, he’s got to navigate the new world of college as well as the bro-culture bonding of his House. Not to mention finding the time to figure out who that cute girl is he saw when he first arrived. (That’d be Beverly, played by Ringer‘s Zoey Deutch…) No problem. Bring on the keg stands!
Hey, it’s 1980; the drinking age is 18 so while officially frowned upon by the school, alcohol is allowed (sadly, I missed out on that bigtime.) Marijuana? Not so much, but it plays a big role here too. Everybody Wants Some!! is the eighties by way of That 70s Show, Bad News Bears, and Animal House. Everclear watermelons, beer can baseball, patriotic bongs, stair-surfing into beer cans…yeah, it’s all here. And it’s groovy, baby.
As for the look and feel of the film, they freakin’ nailed it. The fashion, from the girls in their ultra-high waist jeans & spaghetti strap tank tops, to the guys in their tight-tight shorts, quiana shirts, and pukka shell necklaces. (If that sounds seventies, you’d be right; 1980 wasn’t really the eighties as much as it was the last gasp of the seventies. That blended into the Desperately Seeking Susan eighties until that zeitgeist hit critical mass in 1985.) From the opening scene, where Jake rolls onto campus in his 442 while “My Sharona” plays on his tape deck, you know director Richard Linklater has got it goin’ on. He should; Everybody is based on Linklater’s own time in college, where he too was on the baseball team.
As with D&C, Everybody has the same “then this happened” storyline, showcasing a time in these character’s lives rather than an actual plotline with development and the whole nine yards. There’s the jock atmosphere, which Linkater paints as an aggro-bonhomie, the punk/anarchy crowd, the performing arts crew (MAH PEOPLE) all blending together as these characters plot the courses that will define who they are. Y’know, as soon as they finish that beer bong. No, it’s not all substance abuse and hangovers, but these are 18 to 22 year olds; Linklater keeps it real. And the cast makes these characters relatable. Well, except for crazypants Nolan Ryan wannabe Jay. He’s certifiable. (Kudos to Juston Street for going to 11 in this role.)
If you’re over 40, you may find yourself laughing a little too loudly as these scenes unfold; I remembered a few times in my life that closely mirrored these onscreen anecdotes. And I gasped when I saw a shirt that looked very similar to something I wore back in middle school (a gift from a friend’s older sister — I tore that halter up y’all), and couldn’t wait to get home and pull together a Spotify playlist based on the amazing songs used in the film. From disco to country, punk to top-40, there’s a little bit of everything here. Because the gang gets up to no good all over the place. And that eclectic touch breathes life into a year that was just as all over the place as the characters in this film are. An intentional parallel? Probably not, but it fits.
So go see Everybody Wants Some!! For the folks who lived it (or like me, couldn’t want to get there), it’ll be a crazy trip down memory lane. For fans of the eighties, it’ll be a time-capsule to obsess over, and a great primer for the start of that decade. And for folks who just want to laugh their asses off, you’ll get that in spades. Or you’re dead inside. Don’t be dead inside.