Writer/director Richard Linklater “brought you the ’70s” (according to the marketing department behind Linklater’s latest film) with Dazed and Confused, his 1993 coming-of-age story centering on a group of raucous Texas teens getting drunk in fields on the last day of school. Linklater filled out the cast of Dazed with actors who, at the time, were relatively unknown, including Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Parker Posey, and Ben Affleck. Though it didn’t fare wonderfully at the box office, the film went on to become a cult hit and kick-start the careers of its leads, cementing Linklater’s reputation as The Guy Who Makes Shambling Indies About People Having Realistic Conversations That Take Place Over The Course Of A Single Day and the Guy Who Discovers Young Actors Who Go On To Become Super Famous.
Linklater went on to make the Before Sunrise trilogy, animated eccentricities Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, and a few mainstream films, including School of Rock and Bad News Bears, the origin story of the vengeful mammals that maul Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant. Most recently, Linklater changed the very nature of filmmaking, no big deal or whatever, with Boyhood, which he filmed over the course of 12 years and which made every dude in America cry. Now, though, Linklater’s making a purposeful return to his roots with Everybody Wants Some, another coming-of-age comedy that’s being billed as the spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused.
The film’s first trailer dropped today, and though it sells the connection hard, it’s clear that Everybody Wants Some has nothing to do with Dazed and Confused. This is just a very clever marketing tactic, and one that I’m absolutely falling for. And, to be fair, Everybody does seem to match Dazed‘s vibe (or spirit, I suppose). Everybody similarly centers on a group of raucous teens, though this time they’re entering college in the 1980s. And again, everybody’s getting f*cked up on beer and weed and hazing each other and making out and playing baseball. Linklater’s even gone out and found some unknowns to star in the film, including Will Brittain, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Anthony Guzman, Wyatt Russell, and Blake Jenner. And, yes, both films are named after classic rock songs.
The main difference between the two, at least as far as this first trailer suggests, is that this film seems a little too polished, both visually and verbally. Everybody’s a little too clean, too made-up, maybe. The jokes — about uninterested women being lesbians, the “I got your joke right here” line — feel a little overdone, the emphatic overtures to “embrace your inner strange” a little too forced. Let’s hope it’s just a marketing flaw and the real film is as shaggy and lived-in as the rest of Linklater’s best work. Alright, alright, alright?
Everybody Wants Some will premiere at SXSW in March.