Everybody Wants Some03 Apr 2016
I should begin by copping to the fact that I’m a Richard Linklater fan. I loved Boyhood, the Midnight trilogy, Slackers and Bernie. I even thought A Scanner Darkly and School of Rock were fine. Although I like it, I wouldn’t say Dazed and Confused was my favorite of his work but I might have to revise that now in conjunction with Everybody Wants Some!!. In a year full of dour political news, dour films, dour literature, this film is unabashed, sweet, fun. It doesn’t go too deep on philosophical lines of thought too often, but the few scenes that go there are great. It’s not a character study or a heavily plotted film, perhaps a study of relationships or of an epoch.
The epoch and the relationships at the center of this film feel entirely familiar to Linklater. He spent a short stint in college playing baseball. Although I’m less removed from my first weekend of college than Linklater, I remember it with the same strength as it seems Linklater remembers his. Those first days are so full of emotion, excitement, nerves and anxiety, it’s clear why they borough into our heads for a long time.
All of that aside, this film is downright fun. It is the most I’ve laughed, the most fun I’ve had at a movie since Magic Mike XXL. Like Mike, Everybody Wants Some!! is interested in masculinity. It has just as much fun taking a group of fun loving guys, through a romp around the south, building from party to party. The men in these movies are up for anything, they’re open, adventurous, and yes, perhaps hyper-sexualized, but it works. There’s room for more “everybody’s” in the “Everybody” in this title (basically non-white men), but it hardly feels right to penalize them for it. Maybe what they’re doing instead, is opening up masculinity. Instead of masculinity defined by boundaries of what is and isn’t allowed, maybe the masculinity we see here is a new possible masculinity - that cherishes male relationships, is open to the new and adventurous, while being less worried about deriving power through violence or constricted sexuality.