Opening this year’s SXSW film festival, Richard Linklater’s latest moves like a 100-mph fastball from an all-star pitcher. With a cast of just about all newcomers, I was shocked by how well the entire ensemble of Everybody Wants Some played off of each other. Linklater’s knack for bringing actors together can’t be topped my many other directors working today. Even in his lesser works, it always feels like you’re watching a group of people interact with each other who have as much history with each other as their stories suggest.
With his latest, Linklater captures the exact spirit and personas that a team of college baseball players in the year of 1980 would possess. The script that the whole cast helped to collaborate on captures the misogynistic babble that a college-aged baseball team would have. An aggravating complaint that I’ve seen many criticize a film for is the film itself being misogynistic for its characters’ misogynistic dialogue when it’s clearly just the filmmaker capturing the morally-skewed views of their characters. Everybody Wants Some serves as a quintessential example of how a whole ensemble full of misogynistic characters doesn’t make the film or filmmaker misogynistic in any means. Linklater’s careful precision as writer and director allows for Everybody Wants Some never to feel like a film that disrespects women, but instead utilizes its 80’s setting in order to paint a portrait of this decade in time as vivid as a painting by Van Gogh.
The problem with Everybody Wants Some is that I can only handle so much vulgar, misogynistic blabber for such extended periods of time without much variation. Surprisingly enough, the baseball element to the film was the saving grace for me, as it was able to jumble up the narrative from its characters’ focus towards women. It’s not until the second half of the film until Linklater begins to really vary up the conversations and expand his characters to a greater degree. Once he got the ball rolling, I found myself able to get into Linklater’s mode of presentation as I became enraptured in this sprawling saga throughout the first weekend back at college.