Saturday, April 23, 2016

Everybody Wants Some!!

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Everybody Wants Some!!

Richard Linklater is an indie auteur known for his rich character studies detailing Texas youth. In 2014's "Boyhood" the director pushed the boundaries of cinema by showing the evolution of a group of actors engaged in one story without a fixed script for over a decade.  The film won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Now with his latest "Everybody Wants Some!!" Linklater returns to the familar territory of young adulthood, as he did in the cult hit "Dazed and Confused" from 1993, which highlighted the 70s. In this outing, it is 1980 right before freshman year of college. Jake (Blake Jenner) is a pitcher set to start on the university team. Despite his good looks and athleticism, however, he is shy around girls. Jake rooms in a sloppy house with his other teammates. There is the arrogant  McReynolds who hates pitchers (Tyler Hoechlin), the cool guy Finn (Glen Powell), and Billy (Will Britain) a well meaning southerner who is mercilessly teased. There is also a trippy stoner Willoughby (Wyatt Russell) with a perpetual smile. Dale  (J. Quinton Johnson) who is the most casual and self-assured of the bunch.

The film is a picaresque medley of portraits as each character interacts with the congenial and innocent Jake. The group drinks a lot of Lone Star beer and talks about girls. The flow of the narrative is most amusing in its evocation of the past. Here Pink Floyd, Devo and Carl Sagan are everywhere, day-glo music videos are just starting and the most important thing is fitting in.

From one party to the next, Jake is a hyper pinball, bounced about and ricocheted into guy after guy. The boys become like wolves, savage and sarcastic. With each passing gathering, the social noose tightens and the freshman is expected to go home with a girl. The sight of the engaging and direct Beverly (Zoey Deutch) becomes the only respite.

The shenanigans depicted are very much in the mode of "Animal House" with phallic and winding insults while the drama is a great deal fluffier than the family dynamic shown in "Boyhood." However, the glossy and vivid moments  here are heartfelt and impactful. The very recitation of "Rapper's Delight"  puts one immediately and meaningfully in the year 1980. And, in a singular dance scene, Linklater shows both the joy and the anxiety of young adulthood by showing his characters just as they are on a floor, spastic in desperation. Wyatt Russell's potted soliloquy steals the show as well as instances, peppered here and there, when events might just move (however slightly) out of one's comfort zone.

Though "Everybody Wants Some!!" stays within gentle bounds as a companion piece to the earlier 1993 film, this second chapter has enough quirk to keep your eyes seeing neon.The best instances are the flashes of worry, and the nonsensical machismo displayed during a college party.

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