In what feels like the screwball culmination of a career, Richard Linklater is in fine form presenting his newest party-hopping, ’80s bender, Everybody Wants Some!!
Following a college baseball team at the tail end of a Texas summer, Everybody Wants Some!! (henceforth referred to as EWS!) opens three days before the onset of the fall school semester. The sun is hot, the beer not much cooler, and everyone is trying to get laid. Times change; people, it seems, do not.
Rather than the shameless plug for Schlitz beer and mustache grooming products it appears to be, EWS! is a thoughtful and quippy scattershot of philosophy and male camaraderie. What eventually, and surprisingly enough, evolves into a fleshed out and thoughtful reflection on what it means to be Y-O-U, you, the film is anchored by its rich and enduring characters.
Much like earlier works of Linklater’s, EWS! doesn’t preach. There is no lingering on a single ideology, bashing you over the head with its worldview. Instead, EWS! presents tantalizing nuggets of ideas, trickled along the way, offering a kind of Kierkegaardian choose-your-own-philosophy adventure. This, now practically trademarked Linklater brand of philosophy, kept things light, airy, party-like, while still maintaining enough authority to plunge into conversations often reserved sessions of Schnapps and bong rips.
As constructed, the film relies on its characters as a narrative ground floor, each of them distinct and driven by a set of ideals. They’re real, accessible and fun; but at the same time, absolute embodiments of a unique worldview, stand-ins for one specific ethos or idea. It was a duality that I found tactfully executed and it offered the range needed to enjoy the party while still insisting on asking tough questions.
So when the infield dust settles and the hangover hits with lobotomic precision, Everybody Wants Some!! provides an evocative and charming, tail-chasing and self-explorative night at the cinema.