Richard Linklater’s throwback/period piece/love-letter to everything 80’s isn’t just a movie – it’s a party where you get to stand by the wall, drink in hand and watch as the past flashes by.
A spiritual successor to the Director’s earlier hit Dazed and Confused, the auteur filmmaker has constructed a new reality so quintessentially and wholly retrospective there are parts it is difficult to comprehend were filmed today. Vinyl, strobe lights, arcades and oh so short shorts are only some of the gimmicks hauled out of Paramount’s 80s basement to further the vision, as gasp-worthy at times as it is intricately staged.
More importantly, it’s just a whole lot of fun. Freshman and star pitcher Jake (Blake Jenner) rocks up at his squad’s share-house, kicking off a three-day party in anticipation of the start of class. Among a throttle of none-too-recognizable actors, though Jenner did have a long stint on Glee, the lack of big names helps complete this illusion of what could be just about any epic party house in any corner of America.
Cycling through the jukebox of 80’ classics, Pat Benatar gives way to Blondie which gives way to punk, a deliciously-staged ‘theatre-kids’ party and a warming scene in a country bar where the then contemporary hit ‘Cotton-eyed Joe’ was played to full effect and without any trace of irony. Aside from a few moments where Linklater zooms in on some gobsmackingly-aged games console or pointedly reminds us that yes, the year is in fact 1980, the film’s events and classic charm are observed rather than overstated, letting you believe you’re actually there rather than watching some betamax reel you found tucked away somewhere.
The dancing scenes in the various clubs are among the film’s most vivid moments. Colourful and smashingly exuberant, 80s fashion and style has rarely looked so good. There isn’t so much of a plot as there are a string of events and parties ala Entourage, while a fleeting story involving Jake and new love-interest Beverly (Zoey Deutch) helps tie a lot of the film together and offers something beyond its character’s pure unadulterated jubilations.
Fun in no small measure; go invite yourself to this party.
Everybody Wants Some!! is currently screening at the Sydney Film Festival on Saturday 18 June – for tickets head to the Festival Website