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

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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.

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2014 in Review: Unsung Movie Performances

All too often, film criticism falls victim to what I call the “Oscar Eyes” phenomenon, prioritizing showy performances and actors who make noticeable physical commitments to their characters over work that’s subtle but no less critical to a movie’s effectiveness. Below, here’s my attempt to look beyond the performances likely to be up for awards. These performances are on the margins of Oscar consideration for several reasons: either they’re in movies that rarely attract awards attention, or they’ve been overshadowed by performances with more obvious “award-bait” moments. They’re worthy of recognition nonetheless.

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