What was it like for a baseball jock to go to college in 1980? Richard Linklater, the director of Dazed and Confused and Boyhood, proffers a raunchy, nostalgic, dude-centric answer to that question.
And it’s about what you’d expect, coming from Hollywood and all.
Romance? Maybe just a bit.
Western Civ? Nah.
More sex? Check.
The two exclamation points in the title Everybody Wants Some!! are not-so-subtle clues to the enthusiasm with which the movie’s collegians embrace the checkmarked pursuits posted above. This is the quirky chronicle of nonstop, debauchery-drenched hijinks indulged by a baseball team over the weekend before classes commence at an unnamed university.
At the center of the story’s lazily meandering, mostly plot-free narrative is Jake. A star pitcher in high school, Jake is eager to make a big impression as a college freshman. He’s joined by three other first-year teammates: Ty Plummer and Alex Brumley are equal parts suave and earnest, and Jake’s roommate in the ramshackle, fraternity-like mansion that houses the team is country kid Billy Autrey.
Schooling them in the finer points of college life is a rogues’ gallery of upperclassmen. McReynolds is the Big Man on Campus, so skilled as a hitter that he can split a baseball in two with an axe if that’s what he’s holding at the time. Finnegan dabbles in philosophical mumbo jumbo, changing up his pitch (metaphorically speaking) to attract whatever lovely lass has most recently caught his eye. Charlie Willoughby, another pitcher, has made peace with his eccentricities—which is to say he smokes a lot of weed. Hot-tempered Nesbit doesn’t like losing … at anything. Dale majors in smooth. As for Coma, well, his name says it all.
Orbiting around the outskirts of the team is Jay Niles, yet another oddball pitcher whose elephantine ego is matched only by his gangly geekiness and utter self-obliviousness.
Together, the guys imbibe a seemingly endless supply of alcohol, bed a bevy of willing female partners, smoke piles of pot, josh and joke and sneer, and—ever so occasionally—ponder what matters in life besides baseball, beer ‘n’ babes.
For most of these guys, the easy answer to that is an unabashed “not much.”
Everything is definitely not OK in Everybody Wants Some!! Still, I can at least say here that this team of scratch-and-grunt guys still embraces an ideal of sorts when it comes to brotherhood. There’s an almost tribal “all for one, one for all” mentality wherein members defend other members and seek solidarity and inclusion. We hear: “It’s about the team, it’s not about you.”
One guy dares to wonder what they’re going to do after playing college ball if they don’t make the pros. And after the guys wander through a disco club, a country music bar and then a punk rock bar over the course of two nights—quickly assimilating the identities and attitudes associated with each genre in their never-ending quest to “score” with the ladies—Jake sagely observes, “It sort of begs the question of who we are.” Elsewhere, he remarks, “Getting in the grove” of life means “accepting what comes your way.” One young woman maintains that “things only mean as much as the meaningfulness we allow them to have.”
When Jake meets a pretty, smart theater major named Beverly, their blossoming romance is about as surprisingly tender as everything else around him and his team of testosterone-fueled bros is shamelessly “tough.” In an old-fashioned way, Jake tapes flowers and a note to Beverly’s door to try to get her attention.
Jake and Beverly have a conversation that revolves around a paper Jake wrote on the Greek myth of Sisyphus, who was fated to forever push a huge boulder up a hill each day, only to have it plunge back down. Jack tries to see the upside in the tale. “The gods intended Sisyphus to suffer,” he says, then adds that they “blessed him with something to focus on.”
Billy is aghast when he hears a rumor that a professor denies the existence of Jesus. Willoughby thinks humanity once had telepathic powers and babbles about the spirituality of Mayans and Druids. Finnegan pretends to be into astrology to pick up a girl. We see a Buddha bong.
Numerous scenes take place in various bars that feature sensual dancing and women wearing revealing clothing. The camera often zooms in on their curves, representing the leering the guys do. But leering isn’t where things end. Not even close. A sex scene montage after guys pick up girls at a disco cycles through shots of couples disrobing and having sex (in bedrooms, in cars, etc.). On display are passionate kissing and groping, bare backs, bare breasts and sexual movements.
There’s little talk of the consequences of such sexual exploits. But Billy does tell the guys that his girlfriend back home thinks she might be pregnant. They mock him mercilessly, telling him he’ll have to decide whether to marry her or help her get an abortion—which they characterize as a lose-lose situation.
Crude conversations about sex or sexual anatomy (involving such words as “p—y,” “d–k” and “poontang”) crop up continually. There are references to oral sex, masturbation and incest. At a party, women play Twister in their underwear. Similarly clad, two mud wrestle. Guys are shown in underwear and jock straps.
In a car, several of the guys shout rudely for female students to pull their shirts up. There are winking nods to S&M. Two girls are encouraged to kiss each other at a party (and they do). But the guys are horrified to hear a guy in drag allude to sex with other men, and they joke nervously about him being gay.
A team tradition involves duct-taping freshmen players to the center field wall … then having batting practice to try to nail the immobilized players. We see several take hard shots to the head, stomach and—of course—crotch. A game of “knuckles” leaves a guy’s hand badly bloodied. McReynolds angrily throws and breaks a Ping-Pong paddle after losing a game. Someone gets bounced off a mechanical bull.
Jay picks a fight with a bartender that nearly becomes an uncontrolled brawl before Jay and the rest of the team get forcibly removed from the bar by bouncers. Furious, Jay also attacks … a fence. Nes playfully takes on a female mud wrestler only to get body slammed by her twice.
About 150 f-words, a few of them mashed up with “mother,” one with Jesus’ name. A door has a sign on it that reads, “Fornication Under Consent of the King Room.” The s-word tally tops 50. A slew of vulgarities includes “a–,” “a–hole,” “p—y,” “t-ts,” “c–k” and “d–k.” “Douchebag” and “f-ggot” are used once each. God’s name is abused seven or eight times, paired at least once with “d–n.” Jesus name is profanely exclaimed a half-dozen times.
The guys’ coach tells them that they’re not allowed to have alcohol in the house or women upstairs—rules that are utterly ignored. Alcohol (mostly beer, occasionally hard liquor) gets consumed from start to finish. Drinking games and other such exploits include beer bongs and guzzling from a keg while being held upside down. A massive bender leaves people passed out all over the place (including on the roof).
Willoughby has an affinity for pot and turns several other teammates onto it. Thus, we watch as four of them take long drags from a bong. Weed crops up at another party as well, and someone makes pot brownies. There’s a veiled allusion to students snorting cocaine. Billy stuffs chewing tobacco into his mouth. People smoke cigarettes, and one guy has a pipe.
A locker room prank involves tricking someone into shutting his eyes and having another guy in a jock strap squat over his face. Someone flaunts a symbol for anarchy. Beverly describes rock ‘n’ roll as a (positive) revolutionary political and sexual force. She talks about dancers making themselves vomit to control their weight. There’s a mean joke about a “fat girl.”
Boys will be boys.
That’s what the old saw says. And anyone who uses that phrase in earnest means something like, “Well, you can’t hold boys accountable for their bad choices because, well, it won’t make any difference anyway.”
This film uses that phrase in earnest.
There’s absolutely no accountability or consequences here for anyone. At all. The closest we ever come to that all-but-alien idea is when Billy ponders the implications of his girlfriend possibly being pregnant—a situation that’s immediately laughed off by his bros.
Speaking of bros, there’s a lot of bro-ness in Everybody Wants Some!! In fact, it might be the bro-iest movie I’ve ever seen. Occasionally—very occasionally—the film’s focus on brotherhood leads to poignant moments of vulnerability or reflection.
Ha!! Who am I kidding here? This ode to the early ’80s that takes its title from a Van Halen song is really all about perpetually partying jocks scrounging around for another beer, another joint and another unsuspecting female conquest.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.