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Mike Wilmington

By Mike Wilmington Wilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on DVD: Everybody Wants Some!!

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! (Three and a Half Stars)
U.S.: Richard Linklater, 2016

Youth is wasted on the young. Maybe. But it definitely wasn‘t squandered on Richard Linklater, that wondrously humane American filmmaker (Austin, Texas-raised auteur of the “Before” Trilogy and Boyhood), who, in his best work, uses his own youth to potently amuse us and brilliantly illuminate the worlds we share. In 1993, Linklater made one of the all-time killer high school comedies with the sublimely goofball Dazed and Confused, and now, in his latest movie, he cooks up an absolutely terrific college sex comedy – with a damned near perfect cast and dialogue to die for. The title, Everybody Wants Some!!, is a little dopey and clunky-sounding (blame Van Halen, who recorded the song that the title comes from). But the picture itself is so gracefully and hilariously executed, exclamation points shouldn’t keep you away.

Does the entire idea of an “absolutely terrific college sex comedy,” also strike you as unlikely and unappealing — especially if the cast is mostly male and mostly jock (with the actors playing the so-called varsity baseball team of fictitious South Texas State University) and if the scenes, in broad outline, are mostly what we tend to see in nearly very other gamey, sex-crazed college high jinx farce from Animal House on. But Linklater has defied expectations and twisted up genres before , and probably will again, and this movie is one that he obviously had a lot of fun making, that I had a lot of fun watching, and that — unless you refuse to give it a chance — you may, despite your better judgment, like too.

The movie takes place in the autumn of 1980 during the three days before classes start at South Texas State. It focuses on the South Texas baseball team in ensemble: a rowdy and fun-loving bunch in 80s duds and hair, and more especially on the newly recruited, somewhat more intellectual freshman pitcher Jake (Blake Jenner), whom we tend to see as the story‘s Linklater surrogate. Jake, like most of his new teammates was a high school star and is now fighting for a spot with other stars — and he arrives on campus with a box full of vinyl records, meets his roommate (a rascal in cowboy boots and underwear) and his other teammates and housemates, and then joins them for half a week of unsupervised revelry.

The fall term is about to start. And after being warned by their unsmiling, killjoy Coach Gordan (Jonathan Breck) not to imbibe anything remotely alcoholic, and not to take young lady guests up to the second floor, for a little S.T.S. R. & R. where the bedrooms are — and therefore not to do the things we absolutely know they will do — the dozen or so players are left coachless and unmonitored to play and misbehave what e’er they will.

For three days, these guys roam and drive around the campus, while Linklater and company spin a tasty play list of prime ‘80‘s rockers (starting off with The Knack’s “My Sharona,” which was also a kick-off fave in Ben Stiller’s youth comedy Reality Bites). They play games, including occasionally, baseball. They imbibe libations with plenty of alcohol content. They escort young lady guests up to the dreaded second floor. While trying a lot of boorish pickup lines (some of which work), and while bar-hopping and crashing various parties on campus, they manage to break every admonition of their tight-ass coach, and a few more besides, including taking a puff or two of the wicked weed.

SPOILER ALERT (roll over to read)

Eventually, one of them finds a neat girl (Zooey Deutch, as a brainy knockout) from the drama department. Eventually, they get around to a little baseball. Eventually, classes start. Eventually, you will not be surprised to learn (spoiler alert or no), that South Texas State is unlikely to win the college world series, or any series of any kind, and that the team roster will probably produce no pros — not even their big battling star McReynolds (Tyler Houchlin), who looks like a cross between a younger Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck, can split a thrown baseball with an axe, and is the house‘s Alpha Dog of Dogs.

END OF SPOILER

Well, it’s not exactly “The Brothers Karamazov.” It’s not even exactly Animal House (though Linklater himself describes his creation as the “chill Animal House”). But it made me laugh and feel good, as Link‘s shows usually do. Listen, there’s a reason that so many sub-Animal House comedies have been made, even though a lot of them are so demonstrably lousy — a reason why this particular male wish-fulfillment fantasy (which I’ll grant is bro-heavy and in some ways, irresponsibly testosterone-drenched and a little jerky), keeps popping up again and again, providing employment and diversion for all the Will Ferrells and wannabe Will Ferrells of the world.

The basic daydream plot — all about guys and sometimes girls (as in Neighbors 2) running wild on campus — is more appealing than movie people like to admit, unless it’s its dressed up as farce, The reason is that there’s sometimes a grain of truth in these daffy, goofy, sex-crazed college kid movies. And, in the case of Everybody Wants Some!!, there’s more than a grain. Or a tic. Or a toke.

This is the movie all those other half-funny but smash hit groaners, from Revenge of the Nerds to Old School to the recent Seth-Rogen/Zac Ephron Neighbors semi-trilogy, could have been but weren’t. This one is genuinely funny, and unsappy, and human, even occasionally heartfelt, and it’s full of engaging characters and real emotion. And, to repeat the main point, it’s funny! Laughs! Love! The Great American Pastime! The Wicked Weed! Ball Four! Do the Hanky-Panky on the Second Floor! Everybody Wants Some! Excuse me, I meant to say “Some!!”

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Wilmington

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“When Bay keeps these absurd plot-gears spinning, he’s displaying his skill as a slick, professional entertainer. But then there are the images of motion—I hesitate to say, of things in motion, because it’s not clear how many things there are in the movie, instead of mere digital simulations of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a car chase through London, seen from the level of tires, that could have gone on for an hour, um, tirelessly. What matters is that the defenestrated Cade saves himself by leaping from drone to drone in midair like a frog skipping among lotus pads; that he and Vivian slide along the colossal, polished expanses of sharply tilting age-old fields of metal like luge Olympians. What matters is that, when this heroic duo find themselves thrust out into the void of inner space from a collapsing planet, it has a terrifyingly vast emptiness that Bay doesn’t dare hold for more than an instant lest he become the nightmare-master. What matters is that the enormous thing hurtling toward Earth is composed in a fanatical detail that would repay slow-motion viewing with near-geological patience. Bay has an authentic sense of the gigantic; beside the playful enormity of his Transformerized universe, the ostensibly heroic dimensions of Ridley Scott’s and Christopher Nolan’s massive visions seem like petulant vanities.”
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How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

The other great turning point came by the hand of Jack Lang in the 1980s, after the creation of Canal+. While television was getting ready to become the nemesis of film, he created the decoder, and a specific broadcasting space between film and television, using new investments for film. That once again saved French film.

These political decisions are important. We’re once again facing big change. If our political masters don’t take control of the situation and new stakeholders like Netflix, Google and Amazon, we’re headed for disaster. We need to create obligations for Internet service providers. They can’t always be against film. They used to allow piracy, but now that they’ve become producers themselves, they’re starting to see things in a different light. This is a moment of transition, a strong political act needs to be put forward. And it can’t just be at national level, it has to happen at European level.

Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch