by Alan Yudman
Richard Linklater specializes in telling very real stories about very real people. From the SUNRISE/SUNSET trilogy to BOYHOOD to DAZED AND CONFUSED, Linklater’s characters don’t do outrageous things or exhibit outrageous behavior by Hollywood standards. His stories are about life. His latest, EVERYBODY WANTS SOME follows that same path.
It is the story of a college freshman baseball player and his house full of teammates. It takes place in 1980, in the days before the fall semester begins. Jake arrives with his record collection, clothes and dreams of playing college baseball. He meets his housemates, and while they are all on the baseball team, they are not what we now think of as college athletes. One is a pro prospect, another is thoughtful and philosophical, another is kinda crazy, a few are green and unsure. So in other words, a microcosm of what normal college life might be like.
There are a lot of funny situations and a lot of outrageous college frat-type behavior. But none of it feels fake or outsized. I felt I was watching something that actually happened at a place and time it could have happened. That is probably not far from true. Linklater was a college baseball player, so it is not a stretch to think that is the source for a lot of this material.
The soundtrack is amazing. It is a time capsule of my own college experience. If you are into vinyl, wait for the LP rather than the CD or iTunes download. From what I’m seeing there are a lot more songs on vinyl than any other format.
The film is full of winning performances by a group of actors I had never heard of before this film. Blake Jenner (of Glee) plays Jake with a combination of innocence and self-confidence. He tests his boundaries, mostly without horrible consequences. This is what I have noticed about most of Linklater films. His characters go into a situation and you start girding yourself for the most horrible thing that could happen. Instead, the worst that happens is that they learn something about life and about themselves.
That is why I love Linklater films so much. I feel I am peering into a window, looking at life. Shock and awe never get in the way of telling a good story. All filmmakers should aspire to the same.