Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Van Halen – "Everybody Wants Some!!" (1980)


Ev'rybody wants some!
Baby, how 'bout you? 

A lot of rock ’n’ roll bands have a shortage of superego and an oversupply of id.  But there has never been a band with a greater ratio of id to superego than Van Halen.  

Richard Linklater’s newest movie,  Everybody Wants Some!!, was named after one of Van Halen’s best songs.  It's the best college movie of all time.


That’s not surprising given that Richard Linklater also directed the best high-school movie of all time, Dazed and Confused.   

Everybody Wants Some!! takes place at a fictional state college in Texas.  It's the weekend before fall classes begin, and there's really nothing much for the newly-arrived freshmen and the returning upperclassmen to do except get drunk and hook up.

The movie focuses on the members of the college’s baseball team, who live together and party together.  Linklater went to Sam Houston State on a baseball scholarship, and I’m assuming that many of the characters and incidents in the movie are based on his experiences.

Richard Linklater in 1980
There’s plenty of sex, drinking, and jock shenanigans in the movie, but on the whole the guys are rather sweet.  There’s not a single bully or sexual predator in the whole bunch.  Given that he was a college jock himself, it’s not surprising that Linklater humanizes the athletes rather than presenting them as low-IQ, high-testosterone clichés.

Here’s the trailer for Everybody Wants Some!!:



Everybody Wants Some!! is set in 1980.  Linklater is a stickler for getting the details right, so the clothing, hairstyles, music, and other period aspects of the movie are perfect.

For example, Linklater insisted that a Farrah Fawcett poster in one character’s dorm room be replaced.  “Fawcett was ’77, ’78,” he said.  “By ’80, it’s a Susan Anton poster.”

Susan Anton
From Jacob Hall’s review:

Everybody Wants Some!! is more party than plot.  Remarkably simple and straightforward, there is no traditional narrative here and no three-act structure here.  Linklater, who also wrote the screenplay, simply asks the audience to tag along with a group of young college baseball players as they live it up the weekend before classes start.  Not much occurs, but everything happens.

Hall’s review gets to the heart of what makes Richard Linklater different from most of his peers:

Richard Linklater is defined by his empathy.  Few filmmakers love their characters quite as much as he does, and his affection fills his low-key dramas and broad comedies alike.  Linklater’s affection for the young men at the core of his new film, Everybody Wants Some!!, is evident in every frame.

Richard Linklater on the set
of Everybody Wants Some!!
One thing I really liked about Everybody Wants Some!! is that I didn’t recognize a single one of the young actors and actresses in the movie.  That made it so much easier for me to believe in the characters than if Linklater had cast the same hot young actors that we saw in the latest vampire and comic-book-hero movies – guys like Taylor Lautner and Chris Hemsworth and Channing Tatum and Zac Efron.  

My favorite scene in the movie is at the very beginning, when five of the players crowd into a Chevy Monte Carlo and cruise the parking lots of the girls’ dorms while singing along to the Sugarhill Gang’s classic early rap song, “Rapper’s Delight”:  



If someone had taken a video of me watching Everybody Wants Some!!, it would show me grinning like an idiot for an hour and forty minutes.  I wish the movie had been twice as long.  There were no jokes to speak of – I can’t quote a single funny line to you.  But it was sooooo much fun to watch.

I don’t know if women will like this movie as much as I did.  I don’t really see it as a guy’s movie, although it’s about a bunch of jocks who spend most of the weekend getting drunk and high and trying to poke every babe they see.  It’s as far from a Will Farrell or Seth Rogen comedy as it could possibly be.  (THANK GOD!)

The last part of the movie focuses on a budding romance between two adorable freshman – a baseball pitcher played by Blake Jenner (no relation to Bruce and Kris – thankfully) and a theatre-dance major played by Zoey Deutch (the daughter of Lea Thompson).

Zoey Deutch and Blake Jenner
Maybe they will remain a couple, or maybe they will quickly move on to other girlfriends and boyfriends.  I’d like to think that each of them will remember the time they spent together with great fondness, no matter what happens.  

The soundtrack of Everybody Wants Some!! doesn’t disappoint.  It’s a mix of new wave, disco, country, and hard rock – everything from the Knack’s “My Sharona,” to Devo’s “Whip It,” to Chic’s “Good Times,” to ZZ Top’s “I’m Bad (I’m Nationwide),” to M’s “Pop Muzik.”

Last but certainly not least, the soundtrack includes “Everybody Wants Some!!”:



Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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