Review: Everybody Wants Some!!

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DIR/WRI: Richard Linklater • PRO: Megan Ellison, Richard Linklater, Ginger Sledge • DOP: Shane F. Kelly • ED: Sandra Adair • DES: Bruce Curtis  • CAST: Tyler Hoechlin, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman

You’re tall, dark and handsome, driving your car in the wide open space of North American highways, blasting The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ on the stereo. You’re on your way to begin university in Texas, set to play pitcher for the college’s baseball team, and about to have the time of your life. So opens Richard Linklater’s latest, Everybody Wants Some!!, a compelling, feel-good evocation of the student experience.

Our lead, Jake (Blake Jenner), is initially a little taken aback as he enters the dorm that will constitute his home for the duration of his studies. As a member of the university’s baseball team, he is to bunk with his fellow team mates, with the somewhat naïve freshmen mixed in with the not significantly wiser sophomores. Don’t let their similar attire – denim jeans (the film is set in 1980) combined with tight t-shirts to show off their bulging muscles – fool you. These boys are bounding with individual personalities, although when they hang out together, they demonstrate a similarly jock-like pride and competitiveness that is verging on narcissism. Still, there is a child-like playfulness to them as well which is hopelessly endearing. Their sense of fun and love of humour is wildly infectious.

There isn’t a whole lot of story to describe here. The entire film takes places over the weekend before semester starts, and so most of it consists of basically following the boys around as they get to know each other and have some banter while they don’t have to attend class. Their ‘manly ritual’ activities include singing ‘Rapper’s Delight’ in the car while driving around, trying to score with the ladies, playing sports, getting drunk, and getting high. They experiment with a variety of scenes in their leisure activities, alternatively visiting the local disco, a rodeo bar, and a punk rock concert. One particularly hilarious scene sees a group of the boys attempt to have a DMC while smoking pot in one of the lad’s bedrooms. On other occasions, we see the ridiculousness of the extent of the boys’ competitiveness with one another, for example, one game they play involves flicking each other’s knuckles until someone gets injured and gives up. The young men constantly prank and taunt one another but they also show a welcoming camaraderie that manages to be both timeless and nostalgic.

Linklater can thus add Everybody Wants Some!! to his already impressive filmography with pride. His previous works include Before Sunrise and its sequels, School of Rock, Bernie and the phenomenal Boyhood. Everybody Wants Some!! acts as a spiritual sequel to his coming-of-age classic Dazed and Confused, which followed a bunch of high school students in the 1970s and starred the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck and Milla Jovovich. Everybody Wants Some!! similarly stars an ensemble cast who will have varying degree of familiarity to the audience, for example, Blake Jenner should be recognisable for fans of Glee, Ryan Guzman starred in the latest Step Up instalments, and Wyatt Russell (son of Kurt Russell) previously showed his comedic chops in 22 Jump Street. The acting is all on point and it’s impossible to pick a stand-out performance out of the bunch. It’s likely that viewers will recognise their own friends or classmates in various characters, which is another enjoyable aspect of the film.

Feminists, be warned, there is a distinctly macho persona adapted by the male characters of the film, but at the same time, one can appreciate the fact that Linklater is also poking fun at it. There is a lot of fun and laughter to be had here, and I guarantee you’ll come out of the theatre smiling.

Deidre Molumby

116 minutes
15A (See IFCO for details)

Everybody Wants Some!! is released 13th May 2016

Everybody Wants Some!! – Official Website

 

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Boyhood

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DIR/WRI: Richard Linklater  PRO: Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland   DOP: Lee Daniel, Shane F. Kelly  ED: Sandra Adair   DES: Rodney Becker, Gay Studebaker  CAST: Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater

Filmed over a period of twelve years with the same cast, Richard Linklater’s innovative Boyhoood is the first of its kind.  The film traces the story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), from the age of six years old in 2002 to the verge of young adulthood and maturity.  Following the film’s striking first shot of the young, daydreaming Mason, Linklater portrays his handling of key life experiences such as the aftermath of his parents’ divorce and his mother’s ensuing relationships, undergoing puberty, falling in love and eventually leaving the family nest for college.

There is no doubt in arguing that Linkater’s pioneering filmmaking idea is a success.  This is because the use of the same actor to play Mason over a twelve-year period gives the film a sense of realism that makes it impossible not to become emotionally involved with his character.  It is as if we are watching a documentary that allows us to grow up with him and to share his experiences.  Therefore, the film is able to secure an emotional connection without the use of emotive music, opting instead for pop music released during the period of 2002 and 2014.  However, it can be argued that towards the end of the film, the emotional attachment to Mason begins to wane.  This is because his melancholic, teenage angst makes it more difficult to connect with him.  Nevertheless, his quirky personality ensures that he is not completely deprived of his likeability.

It is also impressive that that despite the long filming period, the film still maintains a sense of aesthetic continuity.  Clearly, the film was shot and edited with great focus and discipline in order to give the impression that it was filmed in a few weeks, rather than a period of over a decade.  Moreover, the visual continuity also affirms Linklater’s status as one of the noteworthy auteurs of this generation.

However, the film also reveals Linklater’s development as a filmmaker.  For example, instead of typically relying just on loaded, philosophical dialogue, he allows the characters and the long filming period to imply his philosophical ideas for much of the film.  This is clear from the film’s sense of timelessness.  In other words, it is implied that no matter how much music, trends or political frenzies change over a period of twelve years, what it means to be human and to grow up will always remain the same.  Also, the character of Mason‘s mother Olvia (Patricia Arquette) is used to infer, without any heavy dialogue, that adulthood is only an illusion; no matter how many experiences and important life events one lives through, there is always that permanent feeling of being lost, or of not having reached the point where it all comes together.

Overall, Boyhood is a significant piece of filmmaking and a worthwhile experimentation on the part of Linklater.  There are few out there who could make a simple documentation of growing up into something artistic and absorbing; it proves to show that with the right director, even the simple things can make sagas.

Aisling Daly

15A (See IFCO for details)
165 mins

Boyhood is released on 11th July 2014

Boyhood – Official Website

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