Everybody Wants Some!! ★★★★

2016 has been an odd year. The reasons supporting this statement are myriad, but among them (not even close to the top) is that this and a female "Ghostbusters" have somehow become the most controversial films of the year, at least on this website.

The boys in this movie are obsessed with having sex with women and generally refer to them as little more than sex objects. I'm not saying that this is how women should be treated, and I'm not begrudging any woman her outrage over how the ladies are treated within the framework of this plotless bit of fun. (Okay, even I found the mud wrestling scene problematic.) But it's a pretty spot on portrait of how boys of this age behave. It's not so much that they only view women as sex objects, it's just that they don't want to show their deeper emotions for fear for being ridiculed for it. Note how much shit Jake gets near the end of this film when he dares to engage a woman in anything deeper than a night of sex. That is why the men in this movie act above such sensitive emotions, preferring instead to drink to excess, talk constant shit and get stoned. Also, this is how you know that Jake is going to be all right, and that he's going to mature faster than the other guys in the baseball house: he already seems to be past caring about the shit-talking and endless poontang-hunting. His affections for Beverly (portrayed sparklingly by Zoey Deutch) are so strong that he can weather his teammates' insults and abuse. Hell, if they weren't giving him shit for that they'd be giving him shit for something else anyway so who cares. True relationships come with maturity, something these guys sorely lack...but Jake might just be the exception.

So, okay, the movie is about young men and their immature, irresponsible attitudes toward not only the opposite sex but toward life beyond baseball, sobriety, school (which they seem to view only as the time between baseball practices) and virtually everything else. They're out for immediate gratification and little else, much like the guys in any 1980s T&A comedy or in "Animal House" (arguably the godfather of that shaggy, disreputable genre). That makes them terrible role models, to be sure. But it also makes them endearing. These are the people most men were before they matured. Some men never mature beyond this phase, sadly. But that's why every man who sees this film will probably look back on it with nostalgia and why men will likely rate this film far higher than women. This is unsurprising, but not every film is made for every person. "Everybody Wants Some" is a movie made for guys, but it's a very intelligent "guy movie", as befits a film made by the man responsible for "Boyhood" and the "Before" trilogy. To an extent, most of Linklater's films are about growing up. "Boyhood" is probably the most obvious example of this, but "Dazed and Confused" is also about young people coming of age (and, in some cases, not). "Everybody Wants Some" is no different. But whereas "Dazed" divides its attentions nicely between men and women, "Everybody Wants Some" focuses squarely on the masculine side of that equation. I don't think it's arguing that these men are modeling wise, open-minded attitudes, but if any ladies want to know what the men in their life were like when they were young and stupid then "Everybody Wants Some" is a pretty accurate example. It's an important phase of manhood, and generally comes just before Responsibility and Maturity kick in. Every man has known men like this, and most of them have BEEN a man like this. I didn't sleep around, but I'm sure that I might've occasionally spoke of women as the men in this movie do. I'm not proud of it, no one should be, but this movie is honest about that time in a young man's life, and I appreciate that. In fact, it's kind of sweet in a chauvinist sort of way.

My saying all of this in no way excuses taking advantage of women. None of the men in this movie take advantage of women. And any time they say chauvinist things, that's just them trying to look "cool" in front of their friends. Yes, that's dumb, but denying that it happens is dumb too.

I've wasted most of this review defending this movie, and I wouldn't have bothered if it wasn't well-written, witty, philosophical in the down to Earth way that only Linklater seems capable of capturing and utterly charming. It's hard to choose the most charming and entertaining member of this cast, because they're all great. Like "Dazed and Confused", I think this is a film that will be looked back upon in the future for providing a launching pad for a raft of future stars. Personally, my money is on Glen Powell. He's got a similar swagger to young McConaughey in "Dazed", but he does his own unique thing that I really enjoyed. Blake Jenner does a good job anchoring this enterprise as Jake, and provides a solid emotional core. Overall there's just an intelligence and underlying sweetness to this film that makes all of the questionable behavior palatable.

It's endearing, quotable, endlessly entertaining, sweet, and smart. I love the ways it shows these men trying out a variety of styles (Disco, Country, Punk and even Theatrical) under the guise of picking up women but, also, less overtly, as a way of figuring out who they really are. Only Linklater would make plotlessness an asset and take something that would have been a creepy, rapey exercise into an exploration of men finding themselves and trying to impress their colleagues with their own approximation of manhood. "Everybody Wants Some" is slight and simple on the surface, but beneath that it's a sharply observed portrait of men at a certain place and time, about to become the men they will be for the rest of their lives but, for now, frozen in time during one wild weekend.

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