In May, the Viennese Gartenbaukino showed a big retrospective of John Carpenters work. I watched 12 of the 13 films for which they offered screenings, and before each and every one of them, they showed the trailer for Richard Linklaters newest film, “Everybody Wants Some”. Now, in general, I’d count myself as a fan of his work (especially the “Before”-trilogy and “Boyhood”), but somehow, the trailer for “Everybody Wants Some” didn’t really appeal to me. I had already seen it before, and watching it 12 more times in the Gartenbaukino did nothing to pique my interest; thus, I had no plans of watching it in the cinema. However, then a friend of mine won tickets for a free screening, and I figured: What the heck. Ultimately, I don’t regret seeing it, but am also under the impression that I wouldn’t have missed much if I’d have skipped it.
Probably one of the reasons why I wasn’t that interested in “Everybody Wants Some” is that it’s about a world that’s far removed from my own personal experience. I never was that much into sports, let alone part of a professional (high school/college) team. I’m also not that much of a competitive person. And colleges (or universities) are very different here in Austria compared to the US. There are no big campuses with dorms etc., we either still live at home with our parents, are lucky enough to be able to afford a small apartment, or share a flat with someone. Thus, I have almost zero personal connection to the world depicted here. Now, that obviously doesn’t prevent the movie from still being interesting from a mere anthropological point of view, but it also means that there was very little here with which I could connect personally, be it the characters, the situations they find themselves in, et cetera. And I think that’s worth mentioning especially because, to me, “Everybody Wants Some” seemed to draw heavily on invoking certain nostalgic feelings in its audience – something that, in my case, was doomed to fail from the get-go. Thus, it’s fair to say that I’m not its intended target audience.
Which doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it, though. I’m pretty sure that you’ll like it even more when you actually got a personal connection to the world and/or the times depicted here, but even without it, and without having any nostalgic feelings invoked by it, I had a rather good time, and liked it way better than I had expected after that trailer, which made it look like the umpteenth raunchy teenager/stoner-comedy, but completely missed to depict its heart. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like it wouldn’t also be about girls, alcohol, weed and sex, but it’s a smaller part of the movie than the trailer would have you believe. Instead, over the course of almost two hours, we get to know these characters, all very different, none of them perfect, and all quite immature, but in an endearing kind of way. At that age, you haven’t figured yourself out yet, let alone the world around you, and “Everybody Wants Some” nicely captures this age of not quite being a teenager any more, but also not yet a full-on adult. Being a sucker for corny love stories, I also quite liked the romance between Jake and Beverly (Zoey Deutch is completely adorable in this). There were a couple of funny scenes and hilarious moments. And the soundtrack, obviously, was awesome.
All of that though couldn’t change the fact that I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. And even though it was mostly entertaining, there were also some stretches of these young adults talking to each other and philosophizing about life and what not, being not even half as clever as they think they are (which, obviously, is the point), which are fun at first, but get a little tiresome after a while. And overall, “Everybody Wants Some” is mostly talk, with some conversations being more entertaining/interesting than others. Overall, it was ok, and I don’t regret seeing it, but it didn’t touch me on a deeply personal level the way some of Linklater’s earlier work did.