Is it possible for a sequel to be as good as the original? Of course! Some would say Terminator 2 beats T1, Empire Strikes Back may be stronger than A New Hope, and of course The Dark Knight versus Batman Begins usually ends with The Dark Knight being the undisputed winner. When I walked out of the theater after viewing Richard Linklater’s newest film Everybody Wants Some, I was at a crossroads. To get right to the point, I loved the film! The reason I was at a crossroads was because I was struggling to decide which film I liked better: Everybody Wants Some or Dazed and Confused, which was released 23 years ago. Naturally, I will compare the two films throughout the review. I can confidently say that anyone who liked Dazed and Confused will enjoy this film. That I can tell you! However, I am still not sure which film will hold the trophy. I cannot promise anything, but hopefully by the end of the review, I will make up my mind. So if you want to see the real verdict, stay tuned!
I guess the one thing that surprises me most about Richard Linklater is that after all the time that has passed since Dazed and Confused made audiences laugh for the first time in 1993, the man still has the touch to produce a great sequel 23 years later! He can still pick up the torch after all this time and make audiences laugh again. He puts us right into the world of this film with a well known opening song and a badass car, just like he did in Dazed and Confused. Here is the synopsis: A 1980 Texas college campus is littered with immature baseball players with two things on their mind: scoring chicks and playing baseball. But honestly, the baseball part is a distant second. That’s the synopsis! It’s simple, but it never gets boring. All the familiar perks are there that were present in Dazed and Confused: the quirky characters, the great soundtrack, and the ridiculous shenanigans that the characters get into. It’s all there with all the flare!
Everybody Wants Some stays true to its humble roots while also being a film that goes hog wild on mayhem. The characters in this film are just as likeable as the characters from Dazed and Confused. However, while Dazed and Confused is essentially one big party, Everybody Wants Some is a film with many different parties, and the film takes place over many days. It is very interesting to get a glimpse of parties of different social groups that the baseball team constantly crashes. The main difference between the atmospheres of the films is that the characters from Dazed and Confused reflect more of the laid back stoner culture while the characters of Everybody Wants Some reflect the “go go 80s” culture. As a result, Everybody Wants Some seems a tad more energetic than Dazed and Confused, but that does not mean that the sequel is better than the original. Honestly it all boils down to preference. Some may like the more laid back stoner tone of Dazed and Confused while some may like the ridiculously hyper party scene of Everybody Wants Some. The difference of the soundtracks could even play an important factor in tipping the scale.
One thing that shocked me about the film is that it actually has a message that is not expected coming from a sequel to a film about high school teenagers drinking beer and getting high. Some of the conversations between the characters in the film are actually meaningful when they are moved away from the party scene, and it was a delightful surprise. Of course, when do most of these intellectual conversations happen? When they smoke marijuana of course! I was already glad that the film mostly stayed true to the roots that the wildly popular predecessor established, let alone discover that the film actually contained some parts to it that left me thinking when I walked out of the theater. Aside from pondering which film was better, I still think about some of the conversations held between these instantly lovable characters.
I know that I have praised this film endlessly so far, but I have to get to the negatives at some point. There are not many, but they do exist. Overall, the one thing that I thought could have been improved was the matter of dealing with the crazy male sexual urges of the baseball players. While it was entertaining to observe each character’s strategy of scoring the next girl, I thought it was pompous at times. There were times where all it seemed like the baseball team was focused on was winning the next girl as quickly as possible. I realize they are young horny men, but I think this idea could have been played down some. However, even though just about every character in this film appears to be a shallow and sex-crazed college male, I applaud Linklater for ensuring that these characters are able to show their relatable side at some point of the film. Therefore, every character has his moment to stand out from the rest of the pack and show his deeper side to him that makes him unique.
One thing I picked up from the film is that even though it has drawbacks like any other film, the drawbacks (at least in my case) were easily forgotten as the film went on. For example, there is an extremely arrogant character the team calls “Rawdog” that has a scene that I particularly did not care for. Even though I did not like the scene, Linklater seemed to make the next scene stand out in a way that made me forget the previous scene. Most of the time, this would involve a boisterous party scene that has great music. The next scene was so enjoyable that the last scene quickly faded from my mind. To me, that is the most significant accomplishment of the film. Yes, it may have a few flaws, but the overall positive tone and feeling of the film is so infectious that it is difficult to brood over a particular thing that may not settle well. There are no major plot holes that separate this film from greatness. The only thing that would separate it from the classics is if the diehard Dazed and Confused fans would react negatively to this film. Quite frankly, I don’t see that happening.
Final Statement: Everybody Wants Some indeed feels like a worthy and energetic sequel to Dazed and Confused, and it is surprisingly deep if watched closely. While it is difficult to judge which film is better when considering that I have only seen the sequel once, I would have choose Dazed and Confused for the pure nostalgia factor. Everybody Wants Some is definitely worthy of an A.