Everybody Wants Some is widely being described as a “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused, because it’s dialogue-heavy and about a bunch of young adults and, honestly, nothing happens in it. Like, nothing. It takes place at a Texas college during the weekend before classes start in 1980. We follow the school baseball team, specifically freshman pitcher Jake (Blake Jenner). Pretty much the whole movie is just… watching them do shit, like drink and shoot the shit and drink and go to parties and drink and talk about baseball and drink and smoke pot and drink and go to practice.
And… honestly, it’s pretty compelling. Everybody Wants Some is a really fun watch; you get the sense that it’s a palate cleanser for Linklater after finally getting through the 12-year ordeal that was Boyhood. It takes skill, both in terms of writing and performances, to take a large ensemble cast and make all the characters distinct and memorable. There’s the uber-competitive McReynolds (Teen Wolf’s Tyler Hoechlin, sporting a Burt Reynolds stache); faux-intellectual Finnegan (Glen Powell), who talks about how “average” his dick is as a flirting technique; the stoner Willoughby (22 Jump Street’s Wyatt Russell, whose beard makes him look like dad Kurt did in The Thing to a creepy degree); and country bumpkin Billy (Will Brittain), among (many) others.
If there is a plot, it’s that the team hits a different type of party every night, and said parties represent various music scenes. Night one is the disco. Night two: Country bar. There’s a punk show, then a theatre kid gathering that’s an analog for the burgeoning New Wave movement. There’s a scene early on where a bunch of the guys sing “Rapper’s Delight” a la the “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene in Wayne’s World. Linklater has crafted a sort of booze-fueled Odyssey of the music genres that would come to dominate the ’80s. It adds a new layer to a movie that’s otherwise pretty basic. (In this context, the way Linklater treats the ’60s is interesting. But no spoilers.)
That said… Everybody Wants Some is sooooo bro-y, dude. Like woooooah. Women are, for the most part, there to be ogled, both by the baseball team and the camera. We see tits and ass and two chicks mud wrestling. Which… fine. It’s a movie about what is essentially a frat, so I’m not looking for any sort of nuanced take on the female side of things. It’s a little gross, but so are 21-year-old guys. Where Linklater runs into trouble is with his main (only) female character, Beverly (Zoey Deutch), a woman Jake falls for and subsequently woos.
Man. Poor, poor Zoey Deutch. She had nothing to do here. She, and no less than scores of scantily clad women in Everybody Wants Some’s party scenes, is basically a prop, there to illustrate the sort of guy Jake is. (IE, a normal guy, less cartoonish and more emotionally nuanced than his teammates.) It was off-putting, because we have all these fun scenes with the baseball team, and then the Beverly scenes happen, and the movie just grinds to a halt. Richard! We know you don’t give a shit about this character! It is obvious that you felt like you needed to have her in there, but every time you had to film her you were counting down the minutes in your head until you could have another scene of men drinking and talking about their dicks. I’d rather you just go full bro and focus entirely on men than patronize your audience with some uninvolving, rote romance subplot. (I’d rather have nuanced female characters than any of those options, but I know the world we live in.)