Monday, May 30, 2016

Beatles – "When I'm Sixty-Four" (1967)

Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

Admit it.  When you first heard this song in 1967, you laughed at the idea that you would ever be 64 years old – am I right?

2 or 3 lines turns 64 today.  By which I mean that I turn 64 today.  (To paraphrase Louis XIV, “Le 2 or 3 lines, c’est moi!”)

Thankfully, I didn't get a birthday cake like this one:

In case no one has told you, sixty-four is OLD.  

As the French aphorist La Rochefoucauld observed, “Few persons know how to be old.”  (I am certainly not one of them.)

The Italian author Cesare Pavese correctly noted that, “The real affliction of old age is remorse.”

Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky – who died when he was still years shy of age 64 – made perhaps the most astute observation about old age when he said, “Old age is the most unexpected of things that can happen to a man.”  (Trotsky wrote that before he was murdered by an assassin wielding an ice-axe.  Being attacked with an ice-axe is probably an even more unexpected thing than old age.) 

That’s enough waxing philosophical about old age.  When you're 64, the ship of youth – and the ship of middle age – has long since sailed.  There’s no use whining like a little b*tch about it, is there?

Let’s move on to today’s featured song.  “When I’m Sixty-Four” is a Paul McCartney song that was released on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band – the most overrated of all Beatles albums.  (“A Day in the Life” may be the Beatles’ best song ever, and there are two or three other good songs on the album.  But much of Sgt. Pepper is total crap, thanks in large part to Paul McCartney.)

Paul McCartney turned 64 in 2006
2 or 3 lines comes not to praise “When I’m Sixty-Four,” but to bury it.

Everything about it – the words, the music, and the stupid clarinet part – is bad.  I’m not sure you could make it any worse even if you tried.

Did you know that when McCartney was turning 64 in 2006, his kids recorded a version of the song with revised lyrics as a surprise present for him?

The McCartneys in happier times
It seemed like a good idea at the time, but McCartney and his second wife, Heather Mills, separated just before McCartney's birthday.  (So much for still needing and still feeding Sir Paul when he turned 64.)

Lady McCartney (which is how Mills is properly addressed) ended up collecting about $48 million when the couple got divorced.  (The McCartneys separated less than four years after tying the knot, so that was a pretty good payday.)

Here’s “When I’m Sixty-Four”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Alice Cooper – "Under My Wheels" (1971)

I'm driving in my car now
Anticipating fun

Earlier this week, I drove my mother’s car (a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox SUV with only 4000 miles on the odometer) from Joplin, Missouri – where she’s lived for virtually all of her 90 years – to Rockville, Maryland, the Washington suburb where the assisted-living facility she is moving to is located.

As I was driving, my sister flew with my mother to Reagan Airport in Washington, DC.  My son met them at the airport and drove them to her new home.

I crammed my mother’s car full of all kinds of stuff.  

For example, I transported a flat-screen television, which I’m hoping will be easy to hook up to cable at my mother’s new building.  Whether she will actually watch the TV or just stare at the wall – which is what she’s spent most of her time doing since my father died – remains to be seen.

I’ve packed up a couple of boxes with framed family pictures.  The walls of my parents’ home were covered with dozens and dozens of pictures of my sister, me, and my four children.  Some were taken over 50 years ago, when my sister and I were very small.  Others are from the recent weddings of my three older children.

I also brought back about a dozen plastic storage containers filled with unframed photos:

Most of those photos feature one or more of my four kids.  But there are quite a few of me as well.

Here's one of the oldest ones of me:

Don’t tell anyone, but I also brought back about $19,000 in cash – for some reason, my parents had squirreled away all that money in their safe-deposit box at the bank.

Part of that cash was hidden in a small toy savings bank that resembled an old Sinclair Oil gas-station pump.

Mucho Benjamins
I also had what must have been a couple of hundred pounds of silver dollars and half dollars, which we accumulated before the price of silver shot up dramatically in the mid-sixties and people like us began to hoard such coins.  (I don’t know what I’ll do with those coins, but this may be the only time I’ll ever drive back from Joplin rather than fly.  There’s no way I could fly back with those coins in my baggage.)

Three or four hundred Walking
Liberty silver half dollars
Last but certainly not least, I brought back a lot of my old stuff that I never got around to schlepping back from my parents' home to my home.  I'm talking LPs, high school and college yearbooks, copies of student newspapers, sheet music, and much, much more.  (Some of you are wondering why I don't toss all this flotsam and jetsam, but some of you don't know me – I would rather cut off a body part of two than throw away these precious artifacts.)

I covered some 875 miles on the second day of my drive – I averaged 65 mph, which means I was on the road about thirteen and a half hours.  That's not counting stops for gas, food, and so on.

I got home at 1:30 am.  Ugh.

*     *     *     *     *

If you ask me, driving a car isn't any fun.  Stop-and-go traffic brings out the worst in me, and sitting behind the wheel for an extended period of time is very hard on my 63-year-old body.

Flying is a pain in the ass, too.  There’s nothing enjoyable about waiting in the security screening lines at the airport, dealing with flight delays and cancellations, and folding my six-foot-two, 200-pound self into a middle seat. 

But the condition of being on a trip – far away from my home and my office – is a wonderful (albeit temporary) escape from everyday realities.

My favorite New Yorker cartoon of all time depicts a businessman/lawyer type standing behind a large desk and talking on the telephone.  “No, Thursday’s out,” he says to the person on the other end of the phone.  “How about never – does never work for you?”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fantasized about responding to a client’s or colleague’s request by saying “How about never – does never work for you?”

(It turns out that this 1993 cartoon – which was the creation of New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff – is hugely popular.  In fact, Mankoff titled his autobiography How About Never – Is Never Good for You?  Click here to read a 2014 New Yorker piece Mankoff wrote about his cartoon.)

When you’re in an airplane or driving across the country, it’s very easy deflect people who want you to do something you don’t really want to do.

“I’m sorry,” you say.  “My flight is about to take off."

Or “I really can’t help you right now.  I’m driving from X to Y – I’ll be in the car all day.” 

That’s why I look forward to airline flights and all-day drives.  Not because they are pleasant experiences (which they aren’t) but because you have carte blanche to ignore the rest of world for as long as you  are in the air or on the road.

Once upon a time, you were free once you left your office for the day – anyone who called you after 5 pm didn’t really expect to hear back until the next day.  

If you got a call from someone who had waited until the last minute to ask you to do something, it was OK to say, “My schedule’s pretty full today and tomorrow – I won’t be able to turn to your project for a couple of days.”

But today, people expect you to read and respond to e-mail on nights and weekends.  And they don’t understand why you can’t drop everything else and solve their problem immediately – after all, doesn’t every client believe he or she is the most important client you have?

* * * * *

“Under My Wheels” is the first track on Alice Cooper’s 1971 album, Killer.

John Lydon (a/k/a Johnny Rotten) of the Sex Pistols once said Killer was the greatest rock album of all time.  I don’t know if I would go quite that far, but I do know that “Under My Wheels” is a silly-bazilly song.

Here’s “Under My Wheels”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Alice Cooper – "Long Way to Go" (1971)

We’ve still got a long way to go
Yes, we’ve still got a long way to go 

Exactly five years ago today, an EF-5 tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri – the city where I grew up and where my mother still lives.

The tornado touched down first on the western edge of Joplin, then cut a swath that was six miles long and 3/4 mile wide through the heart of Joplin.  Its winds are believed to have exceeded 200 miles per hour.

The tornado killed 161 people, and destroyed or seriously damaged some 7500 homes, plus many small and large commercial buildings, schools, and churches.  

The city recently released a nine-page fact sheet about the destruction caused by the tornado and the status of Joplin’s recovery from the aftereffects of the storm.  Here are a few of the facts from that document that caught my attention:

– An astonishing 182,000 volunteers (more than triple the population of Joplin) assisted in the cleanup and rebuilding of the city.  Officially, volunteers donated over 1.5 millions hours of service.

– The tornado generated some three million cubic yards of debris, which took the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Missouri National Guard, dozens of contractors, and thousands of volunteers about eleven weeks to remove.

– Insurance companies paid over $1.6 billion in claims: almost a billion dollars for commercial property losses, over half a billion dollars in residential property losses, and over $50 million for damage to automobiles.

– The city has issued over 7000 residential and commercial building permits since the storm, representing over $1.4 billion in total construction value.

– Joplin builders have built 1657 brand-new houses since the tornado hit, which is just short of one new house per day.

– The largest and most significant nonresidential structures destroyed by the tornado (including Joplin High School, St. John’s Hospital, St. Mary’s Church and Elementary School, and Irving Elementary School) have all been replaced.

– Over 9000 people were displaced by the tornado, and some 4500 employees lost their jobs or had their hours cut.  Many of those people had to move to neighboring cities and towns to find jobs and housing.  But Joplin’s current population (51,000-plus) is slightly higher than it was at the time of the tornado.

– Over 500 businesses were destroyed or severely damaged by the storm.  About 90% of those businesses have reopened or are in the process of reopening.  In addition, more than 300 new businesses with over 1600 full-time or part-time employees have opened in the last five years.

– Over 1300 pets displaced by the storm were taken to an emergency pet shelter.  Over 500 were eventually reunited with their owners, while most of the rest were adopted by new owners.

Of course, facts and figures like these don’t begin to tell the whole story.  And while I’ve visited Joplin a dozen times or more since May 2011, I can’t tell you the whole story either – for that, you need to talk to those residents who lived through the tornado and its aftermath. 

I think the people of Joplin are much closer to realizing the much-to-be-desired vision of the future that is described in the following lines from the Book of Job than they were when I first quoted those lines in a September 2011 2 or 3 lines post:

You will surely forget your trouble
Recalling it only as waters gone by 
Life will be brighter than noonday 
And darkness will become like morning 
You will be secure, because there is hope 
You will look about you and take your rest in safety 
You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid

But I don’t think that most of Joplin’s residents are there yet.  They will get there sooner or later . . . but I feel like they still have a long way to go.

*     *     *     *     *

Here's “Long Way to Go,” which was released in 1971 on Alice Cooper’s Love It to Death album:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Foreigner – "Urgent" (1981)

That's why you call me 
In the middle of the night

I’m going to talk about my burgeoning friendship with hot young actor Tanner Kalina in just a moment.

But first we need to discuss a bra Groupon that I’m getting daily e-mails about.

I subscribe to Groupon, Living Social, and several other online deal-of-the-day marketers.  Each day, I get an e-mail from each one of them offering me discounts on local dining and drinking, travel, entertainment, health and beauty services, and so on.

For days now, I’ve been getting a Groupon offering me a “mystery bra deal” – a randomly selected set of six bras pulled from Groupon’s “vault of treasures.”  

The cost?  Only $19.99!  (That’s only $3.33 per bra – or only $1.67 per you-know-what!)

It seems like a good deal.  (Groupon says the value of the deal is $149, so $19.99 is a very significant discount from $149.)  But not for me, even though Groupon titles these e-mails “Recommended Deals Just for You.”  

You see, I’m a man.  And since I don’t suffer from gynecomastia – that’s “man boobs” to those of you who didn’t take three years of Latin in high school – I have very little need for bras.

I suppose I should keep a couple in a drawer just in case a female visitor to chez 2 or 3 lines forgets to pack one.  After all, I keep a spare toothbrush, some shampoo, and a bottle of aspirin in the guest bathroom for forgetful guests, so maybe having some extras bras around would be a good idea.

If I were a woman, would this Groupon “mystery bra deal” appeal to me?

I confess that I don’t know much about women’s attitudes towards bras.  I would think that most of you ladies are fairly picky when it comes to choosing your foundation garments, and wouldn’t want to buy your bras sight unseen – even if you could save a few bucks.  But I could be wrong.

Richard Linklater, a hot chick, and Tanner Kalina
at the "Everybody Wants Some!!" premiere
Which brings me to Tanner Kalina, the young actor whose performance in the new Richard Linklater movie, Everybody Wants Some!!, is the talk of the town.  (I have to think he is up to his neck in hot chicks these days.)

You can click to read my 2 or 3 lines post about that very appealing movie, which is my favorite comedy of the year by a wide margin.  

Somehow, Tanner saw my tweet about that post and hit the “like” button.  You bet that caught my attention.  After all, it’s not every day that a future Brad Pitt says something nice about 2 or 3 lines.

Tanner Kalina in "Everybody Wants Some!!"
I followed up my post about Everybody Wants Some!! with one about Linklater’s 1993 movie, Dazed and Confused.  When I tweeted about that post, I mentioned Tanner’s name in the tweet, hoping to reel in this very large celebrity fish.

It worked – Tanner “liked” that tweet as well!

I figure there’s more than enough flattery in this post to get Tanner to follow 2 or 3 lines on Twitter.  But if he doesn’t, you can best believe I’ll keep kissing up to him until he does.

Young Mr. Kalina plays Brumley, one of the freshman baseball players who is shown the ropes by his older teammates when he arrives at college the weekend before fall classes begin.

In this scene, Brumley learns the proper way to apply cologne as today’s featured song plays on the soundtrack:

Kalina was well-qualified for his Everybody Wants Some!! role.  He was a three-year starter and two-time all-district selection at Jesuit College Prep high school in Dallas, and went on to play Division I baseball at Houston Baptist University. 

* * * * *

“Urgent” was a #1 hit for Foreigner in the summer of 1981.

In other words, Richard Linklater screwed up by including it on the Everybody Wants Some!! soundtrack, because that movie takes place almost a year prior to the release of “Urgent.”

By the way, the saxophone solo on “Urgent” is performed by Motown great Jr. Walker (of Jr. Walker and the All Stars fame).

Foreigner's Lou Gramm
Lead singer Lou Gramm had a really bad perm when this song was recorded.  (So did I.)

Here’s “Urgent,” which is a really bad song.  

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rolling Stones – "Emotional Rescue" (1980)

I'll be your savior, steadfast and true
I'll come to your emotional rescue

I had a very nice nap this afternoon.  It cost me $8.50 – which is more than I usually pay for a nap – because I took that nap while watching A Bigger Splash at a local movie theatre.

Here's the trailer for A Bigger Splash:

The best thing about A Bigger Splash is its setting – Pantelleria, a gorgeous little Mediterranean island that’s about halfway between Sicily and Tunisia:

The second-best thing is that Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire” is featured on the soundtrack.  (That song is also used to good effect by Martin Scorsese in Goodfellas.)

The third-best thing about the movie is that it has a fair amount of nudity.

The worst thing about the movie is everything else.

The movie has four main characters.  Marianne (Tilda Swinton) is a rock star who has come to Pantelleria to loll around with her younger and much better-looking boyfriend Paul (who’s played by some unknown Belgian actor whose name I can neither pronounce nor spell).

Harry (Ralph Fiennes) is Marianne’s ex-lover, a record producer who shows up for an unexpected visit.  He’s accompanied by a very young and very nubile young woman named Penelope (Dakota Johnson), who is supposedly a daughter of his who he only recently got to know.

Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson
Marianne is suspicious at first that Penelope is not really Harry’s daughter, but his lover.  He naturally denies it . . . but he would deny it, wouldn’t he?

To cut to the chase, Ralph ends up sleeping with Marianne and Paul ends up sleeping with Penelope, a latter-day Lolita who claims to be 22, but turns out to be 17.

Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton
At least I think that’s what happened.  I can’t be sure because I was napping . . . more than once, if the truth be known.

I can’t for the life of me understand why so many movie critics are giving A Bigger Splash glowing reviews.  It is boring and pointless and insufferable.

Dakota Johnson and the Belgian guy
with the impossible-to-spell name
The most annoying thing about the movie is Ralph Fiennes, whose character consists of equal parts nervous energy and b*llshit.  The most annoying scene in the movie features him telling a tall tale about how he used his record-producer mojo to make “Emotional Rescue” a hit, and then doing a really bad Mick Jagger imitation – dancing spastically as he sings.

Unlike yours truly, Washington Post reviewer Ann Hornaday loved that scene, which she describes as the film’s “most hedonistically enjoyable sequence”:

Marianne’s obvious relaxation and delight [as Harry dances] are contagious.  Viewers who have come under the film’s spell by that time will feel as if they could stay in that room all day.

Ralph Fiennes dances up a storm
I’m too cheap to leave movies in the middle, but I was very tempted to do so in the middle of A Bigger Splash.  But I kept falling asleep.

The second-most annoying thing about the movie is that Swinton never speaks above a whisper.  Her rock-star character is recovering from throat surgery, you see, and isn’t supposed to use her voice until she is fully healed.

As it turns out, this was not a dumb idea on the part of the movie’s writer or director.  It was Swinton who insisted that her character be silent:

It was a time in my life when, for personal reasons, I was all out of words; I didn't want to say anything.  I wanted to do the film though, and this was the only way I could make it happen.  [Italian director Luca Guadagnino] really wanted me to do the film.  But the moment came to shoot it, and I really just had nothing to say. . . . Eventually I said to Luca: “Look, I'll come if I don't have to speak,” and the more I thought about it, the more I felt it would work.  It wouldn't be just about making me relax, but it would be good for the film.

Back to Ann Hornaday’s review, which describes the Swinton character as “a Patti Smith-like singer.”  That’s like saying Spinal Tap is a Beach Boys-like band. 

Here's Swinton's Marianne character:

Does glammy Marianne look anything like Patti Smith?

Marianne's onstage look was clearly inspired not by Patti Smith but by Swinton's close friend, David Bowie.

One final note.  A Bigger Splash was inspired by a French movie, La Piscine, which was released in 1969.  La Piscine starred Alain Delon and Romy Schneider – who had been lovers in real life – as Harry  and Marianne.  

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin
More importantly, its cast also included Jane Birkin – who would later become the namesake for the famous Hermès Birkin bag – as Penelope.  

Here’s “Emotional Rescue,” which has to be one of the very worst songs the Rolling Stones ever released.  Jagger’s falsetto singing is just awful.

Click below to buy the song from Amazon.  (I'd spend my $1.29 on a good song instead, but you're big boys and girls.)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Steve Miller Band – "Living in the U.S.A." (1968)

Where are you goin' to?
What are you gonna do? 

(Good questions!)

Richard Linklater’s delightful new movie, Everybody Wants Some!! – it’s title is taken from the name of a Van Halen song – has a wonderful soundtrack that includes disco, country, punk, funk, and classic rock songs.  (You can click here to read what I said about that movie in a previous 2 or 3 lines.)

The spiritual predecessor to Everybody Wants Some!! is Linklater's 1993 movie, Dazed and Confused, which was named after the last track on side one of Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut album – perhaps the greatest rock album from start to finish ever recorded.

The music on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack isn’t as varied.  In that movie, Linklater stuck mostly to artists whose music was popular on album-oriented rock stations in the seventies – Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Foghat, ZZ Top, Kiss, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Steve Miller.

Steve Miller was born in Milwaukee in 1943.  His parents were the best man and maid of honor at Les Paul and Mary Ford’s wedding.  Paul encouraged the very young Miller to continue practicing the guitar.

Steve Miller and Les Paul in 2000
When the family moved to Dallas in 1950, Miller attended the fancy-schmancy St. Mark’s School with Boz Scaggs.  The two attended the University of Wisconsin together and formed a band that played at a few clubs in Madison.

Miller left college without earning a degree and moved to Chicago, where he played with Muddy Waters, Howling’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, and other blues greats.  After stops in New York City and Austin, he loaded up his VW bus and drove to San Francisco, where he hooked up again with Boz Scaggs and formed the Steve Miller Band in 1966.  

I bought Steve Miller’s Anthology album – which included today’s featured song, “Living in the U.S.A.” – in 1973, when I was a junior in college.  It’s a two-record compilation with tracks from five of Miller’s first seven albums.

After releasing Anthology, Steve Miller took a sharp turn in the direction of Schlockville.  Over the next five years, he cranked out big radio hits like “The Joker,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Rock’n Me,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Jet Airliner,” and “Swingtown.”  Those songs weren’t exactly bad, and they weren’t exactly good.  

What they were exactly were hits.  Everyone of them made it into the top twenty, and two made it all the way to number one.

I’ll stick with “Living in the U.S.A.,” thank you very much.  It’s loose and chaotic and sounds like everyone involved in recording it had a great time.  It opens with a recording of a drag racer’s engine and closes with one of the great random lines of all time: “Somebody give me a cheeseburger!”

Here’s “Living in the U.S.A.”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, May 13, 2016

Donovan's Brain – "The Boy Who Cried New Town" (2005)

Sitting in my garden
It’s another wet, gray, and rainy day

Wednesday marked the 15th consecutive day that there was measurable rainfall at Washington’s Reagan Airport.

I’m writing this post just before midnight on Thursday, and I’m not sure whether it rained at Reagan Airport today or not – so the streak may have been officially broken.  (I spent most of the day riding my bike on the W & OD trail in suburban Virginia.  It was gray and humid all day, but didn't really rain while I was riding.)

My new Trek 7.3
As Mark Twain famously said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”  

Actually, Mark Twain never said that.  But everybody thinks he did, and there’s no use trying to persuade the majority that it’s wrong.  After all, the majority has picked Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that anyone with a lick of sense wouldn’t vote for either one for dogcatcher.

(This is the best we can do?)
Going fifteen days without seeing the sun is more than any man or woman can bear.  Given that I have so many other things in my life that are unbearable, I find it particularly objectionable that I’ve been asked to bear so much rain – especially in May, which should be our most pleasant month.

Despite the gloomy skies that greeted me this morning, I persevered with my plans to take the day off for a long bike ride and visits to several microbreweries.

I’m a big believer in delayed gratification, so I did a lot of riding in the early afternoon and saved most of the drinking for the early evening.

My last stop was Caboose Brewing, which is located just off the W & OD Trail at mile 12.

Caboose (which has an impressive food menu as well as a dozen or so beers)  attracts a fun-loving crowd:

 Yes, we are!
I ordered samples of four of Caboose’s in-house beers.

The first was Crossroads, a Vienna-style lager that was a good example of that style of beer.

One down, three to go
Next was Commonwealth, a rye common lager:

Two down, two to go
My third selection was the Casey Jones rye pale ale.  It was a little hoppy for my taste – I go for malty beers, not hoppy beers – but it was good.

Three down, one to go
Finally, I sampled Hobo, an 8% ABV stout with a lot of coffee and vanilla-bean flavor.  It was delicious, but I was glad I only had a four-ounce sample — like most stouts, it was so heavy and strongly-flavored that a full pint of it would have been too much of a good thing.

All gone!  :-(
* * * * *

Donovan’s Brain is has been described as “a rock band with a revolving-door policy.”  

The band’s name was taken from a 1953 science-fiction movie starring Lew Ayres and Nancy Davis (who later married Ronald Reagan).  The movie tells the story of a scientist who keeps the brain of a megalomanic millionaire alive in his laboratory after the millionaire’s plane crashes:

The 1942 novel of the same name that the movie was based on inspired two other movies – The Lady and the Monster (1944) and The Brain (1962).

Ron Sanchez is the only musician to have appeared on every Donovan’s Brain record, but Sanchez is adamant that each of the many other musicians who have contributed to Donovan’s Brain over the years deserves just as much credit for the band’s music as he does.

2 or 3 lines discovered Donovan’s Brain through our old friend Deniz Tek, whose role with Donovan’s Brain has grown over the years.  He was a major contributor to the band’s 2005 album, A Defeat of Echoes, which includes today’s featured song.

“The Boy Who Cried New Town” is somewhat reminiscent of Pink Floyd, while “So Far Gone” sounds a lot like Radiohead.

Here’s “The Boy Who Cried New Town”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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: