“Everybody Wants Some!!”: Get In On This

EWS.jpg

The title of writer-director Richard Linklater’s movie refers to a 1980 Van Halen song, one of the band’s most popular. But “some” refers to many things: sex, booze, marijuana, social capital, self-worth. All of the movie’s characters have desire on the brain: they’re college students, hungry for the freedom they’ve dreamed about since they realized, however erroneously, that it might be in reach.

Linklater’s last movie Boyhood was a sprawling, unprecedentedly ambitious fictional document of a young boy’s coming-of-age, conceived and shot over more than a decade to authenticate the depicted passage of years. At first glance, Everybody Wants Some!! looks like a trifle by comparison. It takes place over the course of three days, its cast is largely comprised of unknown actors and it lacks the overt whiff of attempted universality that gave Boyhood its grandeur.

But Everybody Wants Some!! makes sense as a next step in the narrative of Linklater as auteur. He finished telling a story about what it’s like to be a boy; now, he unveils a story about what it was like for him to become a man. He’s called this movie a “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused, and it’s obvious within the first five minutes what he means. What that movie did for the end of high school, this one does for the beginning of college.

Continue reading

“Serial” Season 2: Slow Rollout

Bowe.jpg

The final episode of Serial season one arrived amid a flurry of online excitement. The thinkpieces flowed like lava from a volcano — an apt metaphor given the temperature of some of the takes. Speculation about the perceived guilt or innocence of the show’s principal subject Adnan Sayed ran rampant, as did spirited debates about whether the series owed its captive audience a definitive conclusion. The show’s prominence grew so rapidly over its first three months that it warranted a Funny or Die parody starring Michaela Watkins and an SNL parody starring Cecily Strong.

It was a strange moment of mass adulation for what was, at its root, an act of thorough, rigorous journalism, blown out to epic proportions with the help of Sarah Koenig’s compelling delivery, eerily catchy theme music and the production’s team savvy week-by-week rollout. Suddenly, media outlets and pop culture consumers tackled a podcast about the localized failures of the American criminal justice system with the same fervor that they would the latest superhero movie or hourlong TV drama. When the dust settled, attentions quickly turned to speculation about the show’s seemingly endless possibilities for next steps.

Then a year went by. Radio silence.

Continue reading