Bro down. So this is about a group of college baseball players in the early 80’s, living with each other in a communal house with only two pursuits: drinking and pursuing women. Considered to be the spiritual successor to Dazed and Confused, this is the new Richard Linklater film that really flew under the radar. A simple read through the plot description will let you know that this is no Boyhood, but that doesn’t change the fact that Linklater as a director is very good at making a fun movie, especially when it focuses on adolescent males.
It’s an ensemble piece, and it is all about these young privileged men that have a lot of growing up to do.
What makes Richard Linklater such a terrific director is that he has the ability to switch gears the way that he does. Not everything he makes is going to be gunning for that Oscar even though he’s full capable, and he quite rarely doubles back and repeats his work, with this film being the exception to the rule. This is just a hang out movie, and it is engineered to make you walk away feeling positive. While these are all jocks to be sure, they all have varying degrees of intelligence. Some are the stereotypical dumb ones where it is very clear that baseball is the only thing they got going on in their lives, but some of them are actually intelligent to the point of thriving, and this team atmosphere creates an interesting microcosm for all of these boys. Naturally, this leads to lots of testosterone, and they will make absolutely anything into a competition. Also, as you would guess, these are also men that are incapable of simply being polite to each other, and there is not one of them that will pass at an opportunity to give another one grief. This is exactly why this movie succeeds on the whole, and you feel like you’re right there in the mix of guys who are eager to impress each other.
Linklater has a way of making Texas seem appealing, which is apparently a difficult feat, given some of the other films I’ve seen this year.
For a movie that’s about baseball, there really isn’t a whole lot of the sport featured, so don’t go in expecting that (think of this movie to baseball as The Big Lebowski is to bowling). Also, don’t go in thinking that there is going to be a whole lot of conflict, because much like the boys featured here, priority number one is partying and having a good time. There really isn’t all that much of a story, which usually is something that I take away points for, but that’s really not what this movie is about. Dazed and Confused is still a more compelling film, but if you liked that movie, then you have a very good shot at enjoying this one as well.
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) ****
– Critic for Hire
Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2016? See for yourself here.