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Everybody Wants Some!!

December 18, 2016

Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)
Director: Richard Linklater
Actors: Blake Jenner, Glen Powell, Zoey Deutch

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Synopsis: Jake (Blake Jenner), a freshman pitcher, arrives at college for his first weekend, and is ‘inducted’ into the social scene of his baseball buddies.

Review: The perennial lightness of Richard Linklater’s touch belies his skill and craftsmanship as a filmmaker of the highest order. Everybody Wants Some!! is just the latest in a long line of his films with this ‘feeling’ about it, and he’s a genius at concretising what are almost intangible sentiments and in tapping into a certain temporal truth about life (something I noted after his opus on this notion, Boyhood).

What I particularly like about the way he manages the dramatic ingredients of Everybody Wants Some!! is that he could easily have taken the material down the soapy, schematic route: filming the narrative over a longer period and inducing conflict and facile character arcs among his array of college baseball personnel. Instead, Everybody Wants Some!! almost picks up in sentiment from where Linklater left off in Boyhood by depicting the first burgeoning awareness of the wondrous canvas that college – the hinterland between adolescence and the adult world – can provide. (Incidentally, a lot of commentators have condescended Everybody Wants Some!! in relation to its more obviously ‘significant’ predecessor, though I see them as kindred spirits).

Making the film almost a sly exercise in anti-narrative clearly blindsided some commentators with its refutation of conflict and resolution, and the absence of a three-act structure (it rambles along, much like the lives of its baseball jocks). Yet these touches from Linklater gain masterful pay off in a seemingly anti-climactic (but deceptively profound) closing scene as protagonist Jake’s three-day waking reverie slips into a real-life one as his first adult lecture is about to begin. (December 2016)

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