Director: Richard Linklater
I’ve loved director Richard Linklater since I saw his debut film Slackers in the early 90s (part of me still wants to move to Austin, live in a squat and start a band because of that film). He’s eclectic, unpretentious and I don’t think there’s another director alive whose philosophy on life most matches my own.
Everybody Wants Some!! is a Buddhist manifesto disguised as a frat house comedy. There’s no one I can think of apart from Linklater who could weld such unlikely concepts together so seamlessly.
There’s a deep rooted connection to its predecessor, Dazed and Confused, from 1993. That film (itself inspired by American Graffiti) explored the bittersweet freedom and sense of possibility on the last day of high school, 1976. Everybody Wants Some!! jumps forward to the next natural life step – the first day of college. And it’s now 1980.
Our ensemble cast focuses on a house shared by a group of horny jocks on baseball scholarships. It’s three days until term starts, which they spend chasing girls and getting seriously out of their faces.
That might not sound appealing. And to be honest the sexism and laddish humour is off-putting for at least, ooh, the first forty minutes or so.
But Linklater works his usual alchemy, and slowly but surely a theme emerges. It’s all related to the Sisyphus myth (explicitly so, in a speech by the central character, a Linklater clone, near the end) – how life punishes you by restricting your choices (in the case of Sisyphus, pushing a rock up a hill for all time), and what you do to give your life meaning inside those narrow confines, turning a punishment into a blessing.
As well as relating the focus of baseball into this mythical framework, the film has plenty to say about the nature of competitiveness and teamwork. There’s also a slightly sad undercurrent, as you know that these guys are big fishes in the little world of college baseball, yet only a small percentage of them will make it in the professional sporting world.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
If you loved Dazed and Confused, you’ll love this. It has just as many positive vibes, but also the wisdom and maturity of an older filmmaker.