Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)
Will Brittain, Zoey Deutch. Written and directed by Richard Linklater.
Even knowing that my college experience was not like most people’s, I still have believed for decades that the college life portrayed in movies was just a Hollywood caricature, completely dissimilar to mine or anyone else’s. This is why I’m slightly dismayed by Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!!, a snapshot of the week leading up to the beginning of classes for a frosh on a college baseball team, on some campus somewhere in Texas. All the clichés are here. Drunken house parties, pretty girls hot for sex, pretty girls too smart to fall for smooth-talking jocks, bar fights, pranks, boring professors, falling asleep in lectures, and marijuana-fueled philosophical discussions? Yes to all.
If Linklater’s film is a loving tribute to those crazy college movies of the past, he nails the vibe and then some. It’s a fun, funny movie with a great soundtrack, semi-interesting characters, and pretty girls from beginning to end, plus well-composed dialogue that sounds the way people really talk. In these few days, the central characters move from episode to episode like they’re going through rooms in a funhouse. Here’s the jocks’ off-campus house. Here’s the disco where they get in for free. Here’s a country western disco (complete with mechanical bull) where they go when they get kicked out of their regular disco. Here’s a house party thrown by theater majors. Here’s a house where the campus anarchists live. Against each new backdrop, our testosterone-laden athletes with two things on their minds: sports and girls.
If instead this is a tribute to actual college life, I’m at a loss. I recognize the characters, but not the shenanigans. I’m not naïve enough to think everyone lived as tamely (some would say boringly, but I would beg to differ) as I did, but were my fellow Rainbows and Vulcans really doing this stuff? If they were, I need to see Animal House, Back to School, and Oxford Blues with a new set of eyes. And if this is an attempt at some kind of realistic (even if exaggerated) nostalgia, it’s still pretty fun even if I can’t find myself anywhere in this movie. Everyone and everything just looks so great, and they don’t write songs like that anymore.