Everybody Wants Some!! was released seven years ago, and it wasn’t a box office success, but with every year that passes, this Richard Linklater masterpiece is gaining more cult status and has become a great, rewatchable movie, as with every new viewing you can see a new joke, conversation, or moment that’s much better than you remembered.
The director was a recruited baseball player when he was young, and puts all his great memories of those experiences in this film. He included the team, living on campus in 1980s Texas, hanging out with the other players, dancing, meeting women, and being as competitive as possible at everything with every teammate. He does all this while also creating a hangout movie, where the plot doesn’t matter that much, and the trip is much more important than the destination; something he’s always been great at. Here are 10 reasons why Everybody Wants Some!! is Linklater’s most underrated movie:
A Coming-of-Age Story
The film is seen through the eyes of Jake (Blake Jenner), as he arrives on campus for the first time, and meets the characters that will become his teammates and brothers. As with anyone who attends college, this might be the time when you’re free to do whatever you want and start discovering yourself, something Jake does during those first 72 hours before class starts. Even if he’s just starting college, it’s already clear that baseball is not the only thing that interests him, and that he’s attracted to the artistic kind of woman and might find love for the first time.
Spiritual Sequel to Dazed and Confused
Linklater himself has said this movie is a spiritual sequel to another teen film he did, with a great soundtrack, that has kept earning more viewers every year. If Dazed and Confused’s lead character, Pink (Jason London), had played baseball and not football, he could have become Jake perfectly, creating the link between movies. Both films also have some of Linklater’s best characters, and there’s a bit of Pink and Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey) in most baseball players of Everybody Wants Some!!
A Hangout Film Without Much Plot
A new player arrives on campus, meets his teammates and hijinks ensue might be the plot of the film, but what makes it great is just spending time with these characters and hanging out with them, while they compete, joke, and mess with each other. Even the romantic storyline starts without a plot, as some teammates are in the car and stop to talk to some girls, and Beverly (Zoey Deutch) says she likes the quiet one in the back just to mess with them. The audience follows Jake and the rest of the team while they dance, try to hook up with girls, and play baseball, and each character is different enough that everyone can have their preferred one.
A hangout movie like this one wouldn’t work if you didn’t want to hang out with the characters and actors that inhabit it. That’s why the casting was so important, and the director and his team did a superb job. There’s future CW Superman Tyler Hoechlin; the always great Wyatt Russell (in one of his best roles ever), TV stars Blake Jenner, Ryan Guzman, and Will Britain. Zoey Deutch is as charming as ever as the only female lead, and we also saw Glen Powell, who was on his way to being an A-lister.
The chemistry between all those actors is incredible, as Linklater made them spend some time together before filming, and their easiness and friendship with each other are palpable, making the film much more believable.
Glen Powell’s Breakout Role
For most, this is the first time they saw Glen Powell on screen, and he’s as charming as ever. He portrays Finn as smart, charismatic, funny, a great friend, and always knows what to say and do, making it easy for Jake to spend time with him, and start learning how baseball players relate to one another, play, and have fun.
Linklater had already worked with the actor years before in Fast Food Nation and knew what Powell could do, so he gave him what might be the best role in the whole film, and the future star of Top Gun: Maverick hit it out of the park. The duo has kept working together, and their last project, Hit Man, which they also co-wrote, will be released by Netflix earlier next year.
Richard Linklater at the Top of His Game
Richard Linklater’s career is one of the strangest in Hollywood. He hasn’t had that much success at the box office, but his movies are always loved, and have creative ideas behind them, from the Before trilogy to Boyhood, especially with his ideas of time, and how a single moment is much more subjective than one might think.
This film is in partly based on his memories as a baseball player in college, and he’s able to transmit perfectly the camaraderie between players, and how the world worked back then, without cell phones and the internet, and where spending days together with your friends doing nothing, wandering, and improvising was the greatest thing ever.
An Understated Love Story
The man who has directed and co-written the Before trilogy knows a thing or two about how to show love stories on the screen, and capture the moment of wonder and possibility when you start to get to know someone and fall head-over-heels for them.
The love story here is no different. Jake and Beverly (in one of Zoey Deutch’s best performances ever), talk, share ideas, and stories, spend time together, and already look more than smitten for each other, including a beautiful moment at the end when their paths must diverge as they have different classes. She’s much more artsy and not someone who would fall for a jock, but Jake’s curiosity and way of looking at the world are not those of a typical 1980s baseball player, so they make perfect sense together, without the need for big declarations about it.
A Great Baseball Movie
Never forget that this is a film about a baseball team, and every actor was asked before being cast if they could play ball to avoid what happened in Dazed and Confused when Wiley Wiggins couldn’t throw at all. So, of course, there are some baseball scenes that touch on the camaraderie, but also on the rookie pranks, players’ superstitions, the possibilities of scouts watching their games, and how, even if a player has beaten you, it’s still part of your team, and you’ll work together to compete and win a championship.
The character of Willoughby also shows how much this kind of character relishes being on a team and playing the sport, and how some will do whatever it takes to continue doing it for as long as possible.
A Van Halen song gives the title to this film, so, of course, it appears in the soundtrack, but it’s not the only hit on it; as there’s also “My Sharona”, “Rapper’s Delight” and “Give Up the Funk”. Linklater loves music and always has incredible soundtracks that put you in the mood for the time and setting of the film, and here, it’s no different, as all those songs are as ’80s as they come. They’re also from many music styles and genres, proving that the characters are open to all kinds of music, as long as it helps them have a great time.
It Pairs Well With the Rest of Linklater’s Filmography
It has already been said how this movie uses some of the ingredients that also make Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise, or Boyhood great, proving how much Linklater excels at creating unique moments, and stories that are both very personal, yet universal. In this case, this movie might be one of his best comedies, but also one that might make you think fondly of your college years, or at least of all those times you spend hanging out with your friends doing nothing; the memories that you end up treasuring forever, as the actors and the director did after shooting this movie together.