When I say that EVERYBODY WANTS SOME would work better as a television show than a movie, it might sound like a slight, because it partially is a slight. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the film.
Writer / director Richard Linklater is one of Hollywood’s most successful “slice of life” filmmakers, and EVERYBODY WANTS SOME is another entry in his filmography following the trend. It’s certainly not his best offering, but depending on what you’re interested in, you might like it more than his other movies.
Plenty of time is spent on character development, and it pays off. None of the characters are “one-notes”, and we get plenty of evidence that many of them could be the subject of a standalone project themselves. I can’t help but think that turning this project into an hour-long weekly show on AMC would have been a better route than to cram it all into a two-hour film. And that’s the thing, it doesn’t feel “crammed in”, and the pacing doesn’t feel too slow, either. EVERYBODY WANTS SOME is simply a worry-free, smooth ride around town on the weekend, looking at the prospects for the evening to come, with school and responsibility an after-thought. There are no major goals or lessons learned, but rather just an enjoyable and relateable 80s respite.
I’m sure that eventually I’ll watch the film again, but I’m not in any hurry to do so. There’s nothing especially spectacular about it. There aren’t any huge laughs, nor significant tugs on emotional strings. It’s just laid back and relaxing, which isn’t a bad thing. It won’t blow you away, and I don’t think that’s it’s goal. I’m not sure it had any lofty goals in mind at all. But I walked out of the theater thinking that if this were the first two episodes of a new television show, I would absolutely add it to my DVR and wouldn’t miss an episode.
The characters are that fun to watch, and I’d really like to see how things evolve through the school year and the baseball season. It could easily be a show on the level of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, which dealt just as much with things off the football field as it did on the field.
The chemistry between Blake Jenner and Zoey Deutch is a big part of the reason why I’d like it to become a television show. The evolution of their relationship feels very natural, in that they don’t seem completely comfortable or natural together when they first meet, and by the end of the film their chemistry is great. I’ll give credit to Linklater for this one, because whatever he did to draw out the performances in that way, it was a success. Part of the reason I give him credit is because of the evidence provided by other relationships in the film.
Things start off a bit rocky between several of the players, to the point where one of them leaves for a couple days and there’s talk of whether or not they hope he comes back, and in another case, they straight up tell one of the guys that they’re predisposed not to like him because the position he plays on the field. But knowing they’re going to be a team once practices start, the roommates-by-circumstance get to know each other, and friendships start forming as they figure out what everyone is all about. The characters develop in a very similar way to how people actually get to know each other in real life.
The problem is that all the character development is wasted because there’s no follow-up to be had like there would be in a television show. I have a rule about watching pilot episodes of television shows, where I don’t make a final determination on how good a show’s going to be based solely on the pilot, because there’s a certain amount of plot sacrificed for the sake of introducing us to characters. Future scenes and storyline arcs are more enriched and interesting because of the character development, but it can sometimes make the pilot feel like nothing really happened of substance aside from introductions.
As I type up this review, I’m honestly thinking about starting a petition or a kickstarter campaign or SOMETHING to try to find a way to reach out to Richard Linklater with the hopes of getting him to turn this movie into a product for television, because I think there’s magic that could turn a decent movie into a great show.
My rating: 80 out of 100