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Everybody Wants Some—And Should

The time is August of 1980, the setting is Texas, and the guys who populate Richard Linklater’s newest film are members of a college baseball team who share living quarters. The newly-arrived freshmen face the challenge of fitting in with this highly disparate group, both off and on the field.

Everybody Wants Some!! draws us in as our nominal hero (Blake Jenner) arrives at school, and meets his new housemates, lugging a crate of precious LPs. Each character he encounters is colorful, well-defined, and perfectly cast. Advertised as a “spiritual sequel” to Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, this film is a genial celebration of hedonism, college drinking, casual sex, hanging out with friends, and breaking down awkward social barriers. It is completely disarming and utterly delightful.

I’m not sure how the filmmaker works with his actors to create such tangible characters, but there is a spark of spontaneity in every scene. It never feels as if anyone is reading memorized dialogue—even when, in some later scenes, they become philosophical and a bit self-serious. That, too, is part of college life.

Linklater also has a gift for casting. Some of the actors are experienced, with solid credentials in film and television (like Wyatt Russell, son of Kurt, and leading lady Zoey Deutch, daughter of Lea Thompson), while others are fairly new. They work together in perfect harmony to create a likable and believable ensemble.

Everybody Wants Some!! is lighthearted entertainment, but like all good comedy it is rooted in truthful observation, which is why it—like Dazed and Confused—may prove to have staying power.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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