I’m a sucker for movies either from or about my formative years in the 1980s. So I’m eager to see Richard Linklater’s latest movie Everybody Wants Some!! about three days in the lives of a group of college baseball players.
I’ve never been even remotely interested in baseball – we once took my newborn daughter to a major league baseball game in Minneapolis and she slept through the whole thing, which I’d have happily done too if I could. And I didn’t go to college until the late 80s rather than 1980, when this movie is set. But, I’m looking forward to experiencing the feel of the movie – the music, the style, the dialogue, the essence of college life in those times. Based on his previous films, I expect Linklater has pitched this all just right too. (Did you see? I just made a baseball pun!) As I’ve written before, I loved his trilogy, Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004), and Before Midnight (2013), and I found the whole notion of the recent Boyhood (2014) fascinating. Then there’s Dazed and Confused (1993), The Civic’s free Member Monday movie for April, of which Everybody Wants Some!! is apparently the “spiritual sequel.”
To Plot or Not To Plot
Reading reviews of Everybody Wants Some!! (like the excellent rogerebert.com one by Sheila O’Malley) it doesn’t sound as if the movie has a whole lot of discernible plot. But I’ve never been too bothered by the lack of an easily described plot in a movie (my eye-rolling family will attest to this). Some of my favourite directors tend to make movies that can be very hard to sum up in a few sentences, directors such as David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Krzysztof Kieślowski, and Wim Wenders. I’d be hard pressed to give a compelling account of the plots of any of Linklater’s films mentioned above. When we watch these movies, however, we’re not seeing a story play out neatly from a contrived beginning to a tidy conclusion. Rather we’re experiencing a slice of life that’s disjointed and messy, just like life itself.
Nostalgia Ain’t What it Used To Be
Another point that many reviewers have picked up on is that Everybody Wants Some!! apparently manages to avoid the diametrically opposed perils of being either overly nostalgic or cruelly sneering. It would be all too easy to view this period in time with rose-tinted spectacles. But I don’t think I’d find a movie that over-sentimentalizes everything nearly so compelling as one that takes a more truthful approach. And I really hope that the reviews are right about the movie rising above easy laughs and poking fun at 80s stereotypes. Just as long as it doesn’t go too far the other way with a hipster over-reverence for all things pre-tech.
A movie like this can be a hard sell for many people. The plot, such as it is, won’t sound too compelling to some. Others might not be interested if they’re not a baseball fan. (As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a baseball fan, but I don’t think this movie is about “baseball” even if it is about some baseball players.) It takes place 36 years ago, which will pre-date much of the movie going public, and some folks just aren’t into period dramas. (A period drama that takes place in the 80s, that’s pretty funny.) Perhaps the final nail in the coffin is that there’s not a single well-known actor in this movie. I just clicked though all the main cast members on IMDB and I can’t recall seeing any of them in anything else before (one was in TV’s Glee but I’m not sure that counts). But does this really matter? I can find it quite refreshing watching a movie where I don’t recognize any of the actors.
So, despite the lack of conventional selling points, I can’t wait to see this.
Iain Pardoe is an online university instructor who enjoys the movies of Hayao Miyazaki even more than the kids and loves rewatching favourites from his youth with his family when he’s not playing soccer or skiing.[facebook][tweet][Google]