Everybody Wants Some is about nothing and everything all at once. The narrative has absolutely no trajectory. There’s isn’t a big game to win or a girl to win over. It’s simply about appreciating where you are and doing your thing, whatever that may be.
The film features a massive ensemble cast but our main man is Jake (Blake Jenner), a star pitcher in high school who’s now one of many talented players on the Southeast Texas University baseball team. We begin with him moving into the team’s house (think frat house) and then follow him and his new teammates as they live it up and party as much as possible for three days before classes start.
Most of these guys are cocky, womanizing jerks, but thanks to some serious college nostalgia, their hilarious über bro relationships and Richard Linklater’s expert direction, it’s impossible not to get completely consumed by the experience. Similar to Dazed and Confused, Linklater does a brilliant job transporting you back a few decades, this time to 1980. The production and costume design are both on point with Linklater’s fluid camerawork capturing all the details in a manner that truly envelopes you, all while never missing a beat with his actors. And that’s quite the feat considering there are so many of them.
Within minutes of meeting the team, you want to be part of it. Jake serves as the perfect anchor because he’s the most grounded of the bunch, but Everybody Wants Some is absolutely brimming with unforgettable scene-stealers that you’ll be quoting for years to come.
My personal favorite is Temple Baker as Plummer, a freshman player who isn’t the brightest bulb. Baker sells him as a lovable doofus right off the bat and nails so much well-timed bizarre dialogue that every single time he steps on screen, you can’t wait to see what he does next. Glen Powell also hits it big as Finn, the smooth talker who’s definitely got a little of Matthew McConaughey’s Wooderson in him. Tyler Hoechlin also commands the screen as McReynolds, the leader of the bunch who has a habit of rubbing some the wrong way due to the fact that he’s a major sore loser. There’s also no forgetting Wyatt Russell as Willoughby, the ultimate pothead who delivers one particular speech that’s on par with Slater’s Martha Washington rant in Dazed and Confused. In an effort to keep this review from being a shout out to every single actor on the roster we’ll stop there, but there isn’t one single cast member who doesn’t make an impression and contribute to making the brotherhood so irresistible.
Girls come and go throughout the film, but one does have a recurring presence, Zoey Deutch’s Beverly. She connects with Jake early on, but rather than limit him to chasing this one girl, Linklater gives the character some room to breathe and explore, so when things do circle back to Beverly, her connection with Jake means a lot more. Deutch is an absolute delight on screen, especially because she takes Beverly well beyond the traditional girl next door. She certainly doesn’t get much screen time compared to the guys, but she winds up fitting in perfectly as someone with quirks who embraces her eccentricities and then uses that quality to highlight the most important part of the film.
Everybody Wants Some isn’t about something in the traditional sense. It isn’t your standard screenplay with a clearcut beginning, middle and end. It’s an opportunity to escape, live in this world for two hours and have some fun, but the experience also comes with a very important message that’ll hit home for everyone. It celebrates the individual and embracing what you love, whether it’s winning, getting laid or playing baseball. When folks started calling Everybody Wants Some a “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused, I didn’t quite know what to make of it and found the classification a little silly and unnecessary, but now having seen the movie, I get it. It really is all about doing the best you can wherever you are and just “l-i-v-i-n” in the moment, because who knows where you’ll wind up?