Richard Linklater, who gave us the most ambitious Boyhood, years in the making, now has thrown together his latest, a slapdash concoction known as Everyone Wants Some!! While one may initially believe the title is about sex, it’s actually based on a Van Halen song.
Everyone Wants Some!! is an ensemble piece focusing on a fictional 1980 college baseball team known as the Southeast Texas Cherokees. The protagonist is a freshman pitcher Jake (Blake Jenner), who moves in with most of his teammates in a rickety old house near the college campus.
Three quarters into the film, one is still waiting for the break into Act II. There is virtually no movement in the plot until Jake finally hooks up with a pretty performing arts sophomore, Beverly, and consummate a brief romance.
Sandwiched in between Jake’s entrance and eventual fling, we follow the machinations of his teammates—they’re a bunch of foul-mouthed, beer- swilling cut ups who are supposed to be amusing but decidedly evoke no laughs. When not insulting one another, they’re off attending one campus party after another, aggressively hitting on girls, usually with some success.Since there are so many characters, it’s hard to keep track of who’s who. Of the ones I can recall, Willoughby is the philosopher-stoner who is eventually exposed as a thirty year old and expelled from campus. Finnegan boasts of his average penis size to various co-eds in the belief that his frankness will win him some points; and Jay, the “star” pitcher, is a loose cannon who provokes a fight at a bar with arrogant and racist remarks.
When Jake runs into his old high school pal, Justin, a punk aficionado, this gives Linklater an opportunity to showcase a punk music concert. But it’s actually 80s pop-rock that fills up the majority of the tracks on the soundtrack.
Before the anaemic climax, the baseball team shows up for a pre-spring practice (the players apparently are directed to get acquainted in the fall) and Jay, pitching aggressively, is finally shown up when McReynolds, the team captain, smacks a homer off of him.
If the unexciting proceedings on the baseball field don’t interest you enough, there’s a final party scene, a “Wizard of Oz” themed costume affair, where the boys warm up to their artsy female counterparts. This is where the romance between Jake and Beverly blossoms and is the only aspect of the film where a modicum of interest may pop up for the now disinterested viewer.
Throughout the film Linklater notes the time when classes begin. The denouement is completely anti-climactic and in keeping with Liniklater’s desire to serve up another slice of life—indeed, Jake (and one of his teammates) arrive at class and promptly fall asleep!
Everyone Wants Some!! proves to be lugubrious and virtually plot less. What’s more its characters are for the most part, indistinguishable. Naturally the critics lapped this one up and prove once again that the critical establishment usually runs to those directors who would rather rest on their laurels then proffer up new and exciting material.