Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! film review: ‘A true feel-good movie’

Blake Jenner stars in Everybody Wants Some!! Picture: Van Redin

Blake Jenner stars in Everybody Wants Some!! Picture: Van Redin - Credit: Archant

A year ago Richard Linklater was almost an Oscar winning director; after sweeping through awards season, Boyhood got pipped at the post by Birdman.

Any other director would have used their position as de facto Oscar winner to make some big, earnest project.

That Linklater has followed up an almost Oscar win with a virtual re-make of Animal House, that starts with someone turning up My Sharona on the radio and has two exclamation marks in its title, is something you’ve got to love about him.

This is a companion piece to his third film Dazed and Confused, a dreamy, sun-kissed meandering look back to his adolescence in Texas, following various students on the last day of school before the summer of 1976.

Now it’s 1980, and a Texas college baseball team enjoy a long weekend of drugs, drinking and girl chasing before the new term starts.

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That it is about a sport teams, a successful sports team at that, is a radical choice.

These are jocks, usually the swaggering bullies in any high school scenario. The film hints at how obnoxious they could be to those not in their gang, but for the duration we are in their gang, looking out.

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There is absolutely no story, no drama, no conflicts to be resolved – and their absence is a blessed relief.

It isn’t real life exactly – the people here are a bit better looking and more articulate than real life, especially Finn (a scene stealing performance by Glen Powell) – but it feels like lived experience.

It’s funny, it makes you laugh, but it’s mostly about fun. This, this is really what a feel-good movie is.

The world will never be short of nostalgic, coming-of-age dramas but this is a little different.

There is no edge, no portent to it.

In American Graffiti, as the kids cruise along the strip on a Saturday night, you are aware of how fleeting their youth is, that adulthood is bearing down on them.

Not here though, everybody is so wrapped up in the bliss of the here and now to worry about the future: Everybody Wants Some!! is that perfect moment, perfectly caught.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

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