Richard Linklater's Boyhood, nominated for six Oscars, was shot over 12 years - a few weeks annually - with the same actors aging in real time as the film chronicled a kid's journey into adulthood.
Adulthood - or what passes for adult behavior, anyway - is barely evident in Everybody Wants Some!!, the shambling, carousing new movie from the Texas filmmaker. Instead of 12 years, this amiable affair transpires in just three days, one crazy weekend. Freshman Jake Bradford (Blake Jenner) arrives at Southeast Texas State, where he's on an athletic scholarship - baseball. Countdowns pop up on the screen, like chapter headings: Friday - two days, 20 hours, until class starts.
A successor to both 2014's Boyhood, which ends with the lead character moving into a college dorm, and to Linklater's 1993 romp, Dazed and Confused, set on the last day of high school in a suburban Texas town, Everybody Wants Some!! has the kicked-back, observational feel that is a Linklater hallmark. It also has a nutty Animal House vibe, because when you put 16 jocks together off campus in adjacent houses - the college baseball team, unsupervised - a booze-drenched bacchanal is all but inevitable. Mattress rides down the staircase. Mud-wrestling coeds. Who put the cat in the refrigerator?
The year is 1980. There are LPs, and turntables to play them, and one of the entitled, obnoxious dudes on Jake's team even has a water bed. (They're all entitled and obnoxious - they can't help it, they're athletes, treated like gods.)
Linklater, drawing from his own experiences as a baseball player at Sam Houston State University, looks back with affection, a knowing wink, and maybe the beginnings of an apologetic shrug at the jerk behavior, the locker-room pranks. These guys smell freedom in the air - and maybe some pot smoke, too.
It's almost an anthropological study: a tribe in its native habitat - batting practice, bar fights, babes (or so they hope, obsessively). And like any tribe, there are the sage leaders: a senior, Glenn McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), and his roommate Roper (Ryan Guzman). There is the soothsayer, Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), with a copy of Carl Sagan's Cosmos tucked under his arm. There's a weird guy with glasses who thinks he's headed for the majors (Austin Amelio), there's a surprisingly lucid bro (Glen Powell), and a backwoods yokel (Will Brittain). You get the drift.
Everybody Wants Some!!, which takes its title from a Van Halen power anthem, focuses on Jenner's Jake and how he adapts, or tries, to life in the baseball house. And just when you think maybe you've had enough of the swagger, the revelries, the ringer T-shirts, Jake goes a-courtin' - bringing flowers to "the auburn-haired girl in 307," a theater major he sighted moving into her dorm.
Her name is Beverly (Zoey Deutch), and when she invites Jake to a party hosted by an artsier faction of the student body, he's compelled to invite his buddies along.
"Theater party!!" they hoot. It's a whole other world, and Jake is feeling the gravitational force.