Everybody Wants Some!!

The comparisons with it's spiritual predecessor are appropriate in highlighting the thematic continuities (as well as situating it's generic subtextualities of coming-of-age horror), as it also redirects from the film's distinctive argument about the title's implied question about what it is that everyone "wants."

The initial scenes appropriately make us question the ethical positioning of team-allegiance via problematic conformity, in which we see Jake playing into mysogeny and sexism disguised as comedic competitive team-building. It's in these moments that Linklater smartly addresses the elephant of athletic sexual misconduct that underlies the team's sexual conquest antics. This also frames the plot against such conduct's anticipated results and problematic sexual habits as we're able to observe where such habits originate: within the need for acceptance.

As we observe this new world of college via the eyes of Jake (spiritual successor, and parallel, to Dazed's Pink) we find him searching for a guide into this world of independence, only to see through the various proposed ideologies from any number of potential Upperclassman mentors. It becomes apparent that everybody wants something to believe in to get them through the present, and most specifically everybody wants to find a future. The subtextualities of teen-horror lie within the fact that Jake observes his mentors and contemporary Freshman fall to ideologies that do not hold up, or have become slightly off target (very literally depicted within several brief sport visuals; i.e., a dart board, ping-pong, or one's knuckles within a game of 'flick the knuckles.'

Conformity becomes the enemy, even within the chameleon-like Whilloughby's attempts to blend into the various niche parties that ideologically conflict with his own instincts (something that is mirrored in how Jake's able to taste the musical tastes of those whom he meets). Willoughby's surface level bluntness, most often arriving in the form of a downplayed sexual flirt (be it with the various female parties he encounters, or the occasional masculine-mentor-flirt with Jake) belies a deceptive performance that highlights the gulf between one's own nature and one's collective environment, despite any harmonious exterior of laughs and smiles (mirrorred within the film's formal scripting).

Ultimately, it becomes apparent the mentors that remain solid in their isolated convictions (and less explicitly guiding when compared to Whilloughby) are those whom embrace their socially-ostracized positions that conflict with collectivity, as they demonstrate there is some self-harmony that allows for an inner-peace that is non-translatable to others (most apparent in the two extreme guises of non-conformists McReynolds and Jay).

Ironically, despite the fact that these loners thematically conform to the many Linklater isolationists, in the end, every Linklater character seems to wants some peace as they travel in the direction of their own.

Sunrise liked these reviews