Have you noticed whenever we’re around baseball all we talk about is pussy. Now, we’re actually around a few potentially interesting young women, and all you talk about is baseball. It’s a little fucked up!
Anyone I’ve talked to about Everybody Wants Some!! has never heard of it. That’s a goddamned crime, especially for the poor baseball fans who’ve been living without it since its release in 2016.
The film is Richard Linklater’s spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused. I get it, ‘spiritual sequel’ is an overused phrase, but, you know, if it walks like a duck and whatnot. [There you go, two overused phrases back to back. You’re welcome.]
As we all know, Dazed and Confused is a slice of life comedy about the last day before summer at an Austin high school in 1976. In much the same style, Everybody Wants Some!! follows Jake, a freshman pitcher, as he arrives to college in 1980, and has one crazy weekend before classes start.
As far as baseball movies go, there isn’t much actual baseball to speak of. The team’s first practice of the season is all the on-the-field action we get. It’s brief, but also satisfyingly real. Some of these actors are seriously competent ballplayers; as in, this baseball is as believable as any I’ve ever seen in a film. Oh yeah, and there’s a scene where a dude uses an axe as a bat and cleanly chops pitched baseballs in half. It’s insane.
Yet, while the film doesn’t spend long on the ballfield, this is absolutely a baseball movie. It’s simply less concerned with life on the field, and more with diving into the bizarre ecosystem and community at the core of a baseball team. Guys whose lives revolve around playing a game at an elite level are going to be a little — or a lot — different in the head. When that gets concentrated by the fact that college players all live together, things are gonna get weird.
This is the sort of film that is destined for a cult following. It’s fun, breezy, and full of hilarious and lovable characters who deliver a multitude of quotable lines. It’s a really good time watching these knuckleheads have a really good time, and their joy is infectious.
The story of an elite college baseball team could have been told in so many ways. It could easily work as a lionization of baseball and its players; or as a dark rumination on the obsession required to be among the best athletes in the world; or as an exposé about the economic injustices of college athletics. Instead, in the hands of Richard Linklater, the movie is a good-natured look at the reality that, for the most part, baseball players are weirdos.
I highly recommend this gem that has gotten far too little attention.
Next up: The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings, a comedy about a group of Negro league stars who grow tired of greedy league owners and start their own team.