Home / General / “Just so you know, voluntary means mandatory”: Revisiting Richard Linklater’s ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ in the absence of baseball

“Just so you know, voluntary means mandatory”: Revisiting Richard Linklater’s ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ in the absence of baseball

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For those of you likewise going through acute baseball withdrawal, I wrote about Richard Linklater’s excellent, overlooked college baseball homage Everybody Wants Some!! for The Ringer. It’s a day-night doubleheader of antics and sneakily poignant as well. Check it out if that sounds like your particular cup of chelada.

Linklater’s movies often seem to exist in their own time-space continuum and Everybody Wants Some!! is no different. The film takes place during a three-day period when its protagonist and Linklater stand-in Jake Bradford (prior to his filmmaking days, Linklater was a prized pitching recruit at Sam Houston State University) arrives at college, meets his teammates, parties hard, falls in love, and has his first team practice and his first day of class. The pace is languid and the tone wistful, even as the action is frequently antic. Like Yasujiro Ozu or Ingmar Bergman, Linklater possesses an intuitive understanding of time’s strange properties. All days are technically the same length, but life isn’t like that. Some seem to fly by in an instant, and some stretch out forever. Retrospectively, they are frequently transformed by the gentle distortions of memory or warped by the twinned elixirs of nostalgia and trauma. By the end of the picture’s two-hour run time, we understand what Jake cannot possibly grasp in the moment, that the entire template of his life has shifted permanently in 72 hours of seemingly prosaic activity. Linklater’s subtle build to this realization is another testimony to the patient genius of his vernacular. By eschewing the tendency of so many filmmakers to freight certain scenes with a veritable blinking billboard that reads THIS IS SIGNIFICANT, he replicates an authentic experience of life and growth more adroitly than all but a few of his contemporaries.

Your friendly author with the Everybody Wants Some!! soundtrack and a chelada.

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