Hyped as the "spiritual sequel" to Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater's Everybody Wants Some!! features a cast of relatively unknown actors who bond the weekend before college begins.
While football was a subplot in Dazed, baseball is the plot in Everybody Wants Some!!. Set in 1980, freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) arrives at the fictional university's baseball house ready to pitch for the campus squad. It's two days before the first practice and three days before classes begin, so the weekend is devoted to pranks and partying, just like in its predecessor.
The movie is semi-autobiographical, based on Linklater's experiences on the baseball team when he attended Sam Houston State. It's a guys' movie with only one good female role - Jake's eventual girlfriend, Beverly (Zoey Deutch). The players spend their time drinking beer and smoking dope; dancing; playing ping-pong, pool and darts; and dispensing philosophical wisdom, which is par for the course in any Linklater fllm.
Jake's a good guy, but kind of bland; he rolls with all the punches the seniors dish out. Finnegan (Glen Powell) is the liveliest of the bunch, more of a deep thinker than a jock. And there's Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), the designated stoner a la Slater in Dazed. He gets everyone blazed during a bong session in his room. But it turns out that Willoughby's not quite the student he says he is and has bluffed his way onto the team
There's not a lot of baseball action, except for the one practice. Designated head case Jay (Juston Street) does his best Nuke LaLoosh imitation (see Bull Durham) as a demented fastballer. Jake's a pitcher as well. They're considered the oddballs of the bunch.
The guys go to a disco, a country bar and punk club - which gives the movie musical diversity. They host a mud wrestling bout and attend a theater-class party that pays homage to the Moontower finale in Dazed.
If anything, Everybody Wants Some!! is a kinder version of Dazed (though there is one hazing scene that comes very close to the latter). It's 1980 and all that seems to matter is having fun. When Linklater's not getting too serious, like his talkie dramas Before Sunrise or Boyhood, he can have a deft, light touch.
Whether the actors will break out like so many of the Dazed cast did is hard to say, but give Linklater credit for not stocking his baseball flick with big names. His group is the Good News Bears.