There is something unique about students on film; they can be cynics beyond their years, whilst being so unequivocally excitable you’re worried they might throw up (they probably will). They’re out on their own for the first time and see the world for what it is, through a wonderfully slurred, smoked up lens. This can lead to the dorm-room philosophising that is so often maligned; but those students are just beginning to decipher their role in the world without some figure telling them what it is. You forgive their Nietzsche Facebook status, unfingered copies of Infinite Jest and dreamcatcher tattoos, because the truth is that the way they’re interpreting the world in that moment is more interesting than the way anyone else could see it.
Richard Linklater’s new film Everybody Wants Some!! begins where Boyhood ends. We meet Jake, who is just about to start College in Texas moving in to his new home and meeting his baseball team (and house) mates. These are a group of young men who by their own admission only want to get drunk and have sex with girls; and yet in our modern world of over-sensitivity, there’s somehow nothing to cause offence. There’s actually a lot to be admired in their attempts to woo girls, wouldn’t a Saturday night out be much better if the ‘lads’ attempted Disco, Rodeo and Punk over the evening - whilst being dressed to impress for each. It’s a rose-tinted look into the College experience here from Linklater, but it’s the right one. No one wants to hear about sordid, misguided experiences in shared bedrooms: it’s the moments before and after, that memories are created in. The pursuit of romance, the camaraderie of the student house, the innocent idiocy of young men with no rules to adhere to (except the instantly broken ‘no drinking and no girls’). Those moments are what collectively make up the threadbare plot to Everybody Wants Some!!, loosely pieced together memories that fade together into a collection of slides on a Kodak Carousel, there’s a piece of College in each moment but not the whole story.
Linklater cripples convention wherever possible; he introduces Tyler Hoechlin’s Glen as the beefy antagonist in the first few moments - but he’s actually just a competitive sports man, who’s sussing out his new team mates. Glen Powell’s Finnegan could be the cliché ladies man who isn’t actually all that, except here he knows he’s a fraud and actually boasts about his ‘average penis’. Each trope of the College experience is celebrated and twisted, making for a warm blanket of a genre film, but with wholly fresh sheets. As expected, there’s a soundtrack that will save anyone who’s throwing a party but forget to make a killer playlist, featuring Van Halen, Hot Chocolate and everything in between, it’s the sonic dichotomy of the film’s characters and story; on paper a nightmare, but it blends together seamlessly.
In Boyhood, when Mason becomes a College student, a friend says to him “You know how everyone's always saying seize the moment? I don't know, I'm kinda thinking it's the other way around. You know, like the moment seizes us” - it might not make it into Intro to Existentialism 101, but the sentiment that life just happens and will take you for a joy ride if you let it, is a philosophy to get behind, and Everybody Wants Some!! is waiting to pick you up.
Everybody Wants Some!! plays at Curzon Cinemas from Friday 13 May.