Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some is a film that gets better and better the further into the story you get. Martin Carr explains why…
Only when you start digging into Richard Linklater’s filmography do you realise how influential he has been. From his debut feature Slacker in the early Nineties, through to Boyhood’s experimental time lapse technique released in 2014, Linklater has seemingly been around forever. So much so that the mere mention of his name evokes a certain expectation, both in terms of approach and subject matter.
Most commonly associated with the Before trilogy of films starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, which include Sunrise, Sunset and Midnight, he is able to create characters which people inherently identify with, giving his films an almost organic quality. On the flip side Linklater has also been known to dip his toe in the waters of commercial film with titles including School of Rock and Me and Orson Welles. But even then they retained an indie ethos and feel, which belied their commercial roots and brought something new to the table.
Beyond the more personal titles and studio fare which doubtless paid the bills, there are a few more esoteric ones which reveal something else. Bernie and A Scanner Darkly are a pitch black comedy and faithful adaptation respectively, featuring an underrated Jack Black in the former and Keanu Reeves–Robert Downey Jr double header in the latter. If these final examples do nothing else they demonstrate a versatility, which go some way to maintaining Linklater’s mystique. Something which brings me neatly to his latest offering Everybody Wants Some which was recently released on DVD and Blu-ray.
Mark Kermode was once asked a question which sprang to mind thirty minutes before Linklater’s latest had finished. Was there a film you hated twenty minutes in but loved come the credits? My reason for bringing this up should be obvious as Everybody Wants Some comes with the baggage of every high school frat comedy weighing it down. American Pie and Animal House are immediate examples of a genre oversaturated and in some cases childish without actually being funny. With the exception of Ryan Reynolds’ Van Wilder and Matthew Broderick’s Ferris Bueller, there are few others which have the redeeming features to warrant mentioning. But what it takes time to realise is that Everybody Wants Some is a totally different animal.
This is a true ensemble piece which takes time to build momentum, character, depth and substance even if they are immature baseball frat boys. Not a film which is consistently laugh out loud funny, but develops humour in a similar way to seminal classic Withnail and I. Their comedy comes from a combination of character, situation and interaction, meaning that affection and identification with them is key to getting the jokes. This was my epiphany thirty minutes from the finale when I actually didn’t want it to end.
Linklater catches you unawares with moments of dialogue, puerile scenarios and time capsule storytelling, evoking the decade, attitudes and old school feel whilst making things feel fresh. By focusing on a single weekend and employing intermittent time stamps, there is a cohesion and sense of time passing often absent from these films. Linklater’s latest avoids all that by giving you a group of characters who blindside you at the last minute, turning a basic premise on its head allowing him to hit a cinematic home run.
Written by Martin Carr
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Written by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Blake Jenner, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Glen Powell, Wyatt Russell
Released: 2016 / Genre: Comedy
Country: USA / IMDB
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Everybody Wants Some is out now on DVD and Blu-ray.