Second Viewing is a series here at The Nerds Templar where we discuss a movie we’ve seen before and then watch again for a second time. Maybe we saw it at the theater and then catch it again on DVD or streaming services or maybe it’s a film we watched years ago and view again today to see how it holds up.
I first watched Everybody Wants Some!! in March or April 2016 to interview three of its leads, Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, and Will Brittain for a different website. You can read that interview here if you like: http://www.forcesofgeek.com/2016/04/fog-chats-with-stars-of-everybody-wants.html, I remember thoroughly enjoying it and feeling the nostalgia it brought to the table. I named it one of my favorite movies of the first half of 2016 and at the end of the year it made my list of under the radar films as well. I bought it on DVD knowing I wanted to see it again and finally sat down to watch it. So how is it a second time?
Honestly, I think it’s even better. I liked it quite a bit the first time obviously, but it seemed to resonate even more with me on the second viewing. Almost every character has a story behind them and serves an overall purpose to the film. Most ensemble films have filler characters, characters used to fill a void or plotline, but here you get a genuine feeling about each character and who they. Sure the movie focuses on a couple of characters, Blake Jenner’s Jake is our protagonist, but like the game of baseball the film portrays, everyone else fits their position in life, in the game, in the movie.
Jenner’s Jake is a college freshman who moves into a house with his teammates. He was a standout pitcher in high school, but once at college, he realizes so wasn’t everyone else. He may have been 2nd Team All State in high school, but some of his new teammates were drafted by the pros. He may have been a big man on campus before, but he has to prove himself worthy of his new team. Because he has to earn their respect, Jake has interactions with almost every character. You see Jake with his first college hook-up and falling for his first college girl and you see his interactions with his roommate, teammates and all the new people you experience at college.
That’s one of the things that makes the film work, it reminds you of your first days on campus. Jake is thrust into his new collegiate life and meets people he might not have met without college. The film takes place over a few days before classes start and the characters have a wide array of experiences. The first night they go to a disco to dance. The next night it’s a country bar. They end up going to a punk show and a party thrown by the performing arts majors. Jake even comments on that, that going to all these different places is like having an identity crisis and begs the question of who you really are. And that’s the point of college, to discover who you are, what you like, and what you want in life.
The film takes place in 1980 and has all the fashion, music, cars and looks you expect from a movie in 1980, but the story itself is timeless. You have the upperclassmen and their “Come here boy and let me learn ya something” attitude. You have the wide-eyed freshmen experiencing life for the first time. You have the “I still have no idea what I’m doing with my life” students as well. That’s the real college experience. You go to college and pay for your piece of paper at the end, but those going to school online today are depriving themselves of an actual college life. Jake’s new teammates are competitive, crack jokes, bust your balls and will tape you to the fence as an initiation, but they are friends and experiences you’ll have for life.
Richard Linklater’s soul-spirited unofficial sequel to Dazed & Confused is equal parts sports movie, college party movie and coming of age story. I could completely relate to the film and understood its message of self discovery through friends, teammates and stepping out on your own for the first time. Plus it’s a lot of fun. There are jokes and characters. There’s great music and ridiculous clothing. Today’s world is filled with heavy-handed movies that are “relevant” and “important” and I’m tired of them. Everybody Wants Some!! is entertaining first and foremost, but is also an homage to a simpler time, not only a specific time in history, but to a time in life. You barely had responsibilities in college. You didn’t worry about the stock market and retirement. You drank some beer and wanted to get laid. Sometimes you need a film to remind you of that time and Linklater knocked this one out of the park (pun intended).