The “some” of all things that Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! (A) purports all people desire is becoming part of a loving and supportive community. Not really a spoiler if you admire this writer/director like I do! For the Texas student athletes hazing each other in the random days before university classes start, you’d never guess that this oft-imbibing tribe is an enduring community; but leave it to Linklater to capture a note-perfect ode to love and friendship. Blake Jenner is superb as the wide-eyed protagonist freshman, always equipped with a quip and the grip of an all-star baseball pitcher’s outstretched arm of gratitude. Glen Powell is a standout among a perfectly cast cavalcade of jocks as the wise, witty and literate ring-leader. And Zoey Deutsch scores one for the ladies’ team as a compelling theatre major love interest and perfect foil for all the frat-tactic acting out. Linklater’s fluid, episodic and unforced structure is just dandy for the lazy last days of summer as the college kids put on their different hats and try out different roles, quite literally in the dance clubs, country watering holes, house parties and dugout. The characters are sharp and funny and just vulgar enough to still be charming; and the through-line of tender acceptance and blossoming connections is a delight. The nostalgic ’80s vibe is perfectly evoked and the dreadful bro-couture consistently hilarious. Oneupmanship as the ultimate bond of brotherhood is carried out in sequences involving bongs, ping pongs and ’80s songs, often to revealing effect. The film is being billed as a spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused, but it is really a continuation of the art of new love explored in the Before trilogy, the coming of age encountered in Boyhood and the rag-tag ensemble shenanigans of School of Rock. It’s a lark with lots of heart, and that’s quite an art.
Here on the Atlanta Film Festival red carpet premiere junket, I ask two of the film’s stars – Will Brittain and Blake Jenner – about on-set pranks and whether they like the performing arts or sports parts of the movie best: