At one point during Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some”, a group of the characters is sitting around getting stoned, listening to Van Halen and discussing what art is. One character sagely describes the music saying that anyone can work within a framework, but what Van Halen does is find the tangents within the framework and exploring them. That’s art. And that’s also what Linklater does in “Everybody Wants Some.” He explores the tangents within the framework of a baseball team getting ready for their college school year to start and it’s the exploration of these characters that makes this movie art.
Set in the 80s in the few days leading up to the first day of class, “Everybody Wants Some” focuses on the young men on a Texas college baseball team. But it’s not really a sports movie. You don’t really see much baseball getting played. Instead the film focuses on the guys and their relationships. Some are facing their final year of college and the fear that goes into that uncertainty. Some are entering their first year of college and the challenges of that change. Some are entering their first relationships and the excitement of that. And all of them are entering new friendships as they explore what it means to be a team.
Music is the MVP of this movie. It acts as an extra character and perfectly fades into the background in some scenes while offering revealing insights in others. The songs are a great mixture that not only offer insight into the era, but the characters as well.
The movie, while fun and a nice return to the youthful comedy previously seen in Linklater’s “Dazed and Confused” isn’t completely without its flaws though. Good luck remembering any character’s names. The shifting story tangents, while a plus of this movie, is also it’s greatest flaw. Combine the story shifts with droves of similar shaggy haircuts and short shorts and it makes it so you won’t really remember anyone in particular. And while I understand that a college baseball team in the 80s wouldn’t be co-ed which limits the number of females in this, what few female cast members there are in this, are mostly background plot devices. But if you can forgive that and just enjoy this for the microcosm look it offers at the team, you’re left with a fun coming-of-age film with some fantastic one liners.
Linklater has a storied past with SXSW and is a big reason for its growth, let alone any film representation in the town of Austin, TX, so it is fitting that “Everybody Wants Someone” was set as SXSW’s opening night film. The buzz at the SXSW screening was palpatable and fortunately, the film met the hype expectations. It also gave a perfect description for the SXSW experience. “I’m having the best day of my life,” one player states. “Until tomorrow.” Us, too.
“Everybody Wants Some” will be released in theaters on April 1, 2016.