More than two decades after Richard Linklater perfectly captured the feeling of being a mid-1970s high school student in his breakout film, Dazed and Confused, the director is serving up a “spiritual sequel” with Everybody Wants Some. Following a group of college baseball players as they party through the final weekend before the start of classes in the fall of 1980, the film hosted its world premiere tonight as the opening selection of the 2016 SXSW Film Festival.
Incoming freshman pitcher Jake (Blake Jenner) is used to being the best player on the team, but as the newest member of the most elite college squad in Texas, he quickly realizes that he’ll have to step up his game. With the entire team living together in a pair of off-campus houses, the competition never stops – not only is Jake vying for a starting position against his hayseed roommate (Will Brittain) and a self-absorbed transfer student (Juston Street), but veteran players McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), Finnegan (Glen Powell) and Roper (Ryan Guzman) turn everything from foosball to ping-pong to drinking into some kind of contest.
Just as he did with Dazed, Linklater has once again assembled an impressive ensemble of up-and-coming young actors and actresses, and it’s a true testament to his prowess that in a film with so many speaking roles, it never feels like any of the characters are being shortchanged. There’s almost no plot to speak of – it’s basically just a collection of scenes featuring these guys hanging out together – but that doesn’t really matter: much like Linklater’s celebrated 70s-themed classic, Everybody Wants Some boasts dialogue that feels genuine and relationships that feel authentic, and the whole thing is packed with plenty of laughs and backed by a killer soundtrack.