There are directors like Quentin Tarantino and Francois Truffaut who make good movies, and once in a lifetime will make a film that stands the tests of time. Then there are Directors – with a capital “D”– like Yasujiro Ozu, Federico Fellini and Werner Herzog who have consistently created great films, with minor works still being good.
Throughout his career, Richard Linklater has proved to be a Director with a capital “D.” Beginning with his first feature-length film “Slacker,” the Austin native has created a style of filmmaking that is equal parts autobiography, slice-of-life, philosophical rambling and stoner thoughts that is quintessentially Linklater.
The most recent addition to the auteur’s portfolio is “Everybody Wants Some!!” and though it is a minor work that will be lost in the shadow of “Boyhood,” it still stands as an example of how Linklater continues to produce quality content.
A typical Linklater film is set in the near past in a short time frame. In the case of “Everybody Wants Some!!” the year is 1980, and the time frame is three days before classes start at a small college in Central Texas.
The focus is on a group of college baseball players that live in two houses on the outskirts of campus. Not exactly a fraternity, but the ambiance is the same, minus the stereotypes. Their coach tells the players that he doesn’t care what goes on inside the houses as long as they follow two simple rules: no alcohol allowed inside, no girls allowed upstairs in the bedrooms. In short, no partying.
But here’s the thing: They’re young athletes. Of course there’s partying; they’re young athletes–jocks, bros. Shenanigans are bound to ensue. It is the animal part of “Animal House.” But I digress.
Many of Linklater’s films do not have a concrete plot or story, and “Everybody Wants Some!!” is no exception. It is a collection of relatable characters that are observed from the point of view of an active “straight man.” The straight man in this film is Jake (Blake Jenner). With this formula, the possibilities are endless.
From Jake’s point of view we meet characters like Plummer (Temple Baker), who I will spend quite some time on. I know guys like Plummer and I assume we have all known guys like him. He’s one of those guys who doesn’t know that he’s a douchebag and can’t help it, yet he has a heart of gold. For that we can’t help but like him. Baker, who according to IMDB has no prior acting experience, plays Plummer well and it is hysterical.
Linklater says that the film is a “spiritual sequel” to “Dazed and Confused,” but I suppose that is just what his agent told him to say for the film to sell tickets. Though the two films have similarities, they stand apart.
Though the film is set in the 1980s, Linklater was careful to differentiate between the 1980s of MTV, John Hughes and Reagan. To most of the country, 1980 was still the end of the ‘70s. Jimmy Carter was still president and muscle cars reigned supreme. The scars of Vietnam and Watergate still hadn’t healed. In a way, America in 1980 was still clenching onto a wild kind of innocence.
Linklater knew this and with that insight in mind, he used “Everybody Wants Some!!” to remind people what it truly meant to be young, wild, free and full of beer.
“Everybody Wants Some!!” is currently playing at the Tower Theater on Broadway in Sacramento.