This is a “spiritual sequel” to 1993’s Dazed and Confused, and whereas that dealt with the last day of high school in the late 1970s, Everybody Wants Some!! is set in the early 1980s, a week before the first day of college for young freshman Jake (Blake Jenner), a promising baseball pitcher as he prepares for life at a Texas college.
Jake arrives at his new home with his vinyl records and meets his team-mates. There is McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), a hitter who hates pitchers, Finnegan (Glen Powell), a smart-mouthed, cocky (yet likeable) ladies man, and Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Lebowski, before the Dude became the Dude. Resident hippie, stoner but arguably the most interesting of the group.
Jake also meets Beverly (Zoey Deutch), a fine-arts major who calls him out as “the quiet one at the back” during a car ride with the boys.
Jake and Beverly’s relationship develops as the film progresses, but this isn’t at the heart of the movie. That, is the relationship between the college kids. The ‘jocks’ as they’re known, as opposed to the ‘nerds’. The sporty types who pull girls, haze their mates and get drunk all the time. They’re interesting people, but you don’t want to spend too long in their company. A 117 minute running time is ample.
College in the USA and university in the UK are certainly different, and perhaps even more so in the early 80s, but one thing is certain: we all have different experiences of it. I can only speak for myself, but I didn’t like that jock mentality when I was 18/19 and tried my best to avoid it. Although, deep down (very deep down), I would’ve liked to experience it for a day or too. Regardless, I found myself smiling and laughing with the characters and not hating them, as I anticipated I might. They’re ‘lads’ – they like to drink, have sex and have fun with each other. Granted, some may overstep the mark, but dismissing the film on these grounds and looking down on Linklater (who obviously enjoyed his time at college), as not identifying strongly enough with the female characters, is unjust, unnecessary and irrelevant. This is a personal piece, and a very honest and well told one.