Everybody Wants Some!!
by writer/director Richard Linklater
Everybody Wants Some!! feels like a film I might have gotten around to a long time ago, something of a “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused from 1993. It's fully in the same "memory film" tradition, but I guess I had less conflicted feelings about college than I did high school—less urgency and material to be exorcized. While Dazed dealt with high school life in 1976, Everybody Wants Some!! is a recreation of college life in 1980. It took me a couple of decades to fully feel and begin to articulate what was interesting about that particular moment in time, other than birth and life chronology that dictated that was my time to be there.
I don't think I set out to make a nostalgic film, but somewhere in the process of making this, I fully realized what a great time it had been to be in college (just ask Obama). A quick comparison to today on the basic youthful anxiety scale: college was super inexpensive back then—you weren't mortgaging your future just getting an education. We were still in the pre-AIDs era, and there were no wars going on for you or your friends to go fight in. We were in the long Vietnam hangover and the country wasn't rushing to invade anywhere (as much as many wanted to bomb Iran back to the Stone Age for holding our hostages—it ended peacefully thanks to that wuss Jimmy Carter). Even though it's 1980, it's really the end of the ‘70s—what people think of the ‘80s didn't really kick in until '82 or '83. The cultural and political backlash soon brought the vapid "just say no" vibe as well as a systematic attack on youthful fun. They started upping the drinking ages, busting weed again in a big way (after it had seemed like it would be legal or decriminalized almost any minute), instituting curfews and limits as to how many young people could be in a car at once, etc. And abstinence-only education sure says a lot about a culture, namely, "shut up, be ill-informed, and don't do anything you're thinking about doing, even though we sure did when we were young, but for you, no more…" Okay, so the ‘80s kinda sucked, but this movie takes place blissfully right before all that.
I think 1980 represents America on the cusp of this transition, perhaps on the verge of a full-blown identity crisis, but when you're young it's really all about you, and I was in college and having my own identity crisis, or maybe "transformation" is the better way to see it. Everybody Wants Some!! is trying to be a travelogue to a time and place that existed all too briefly. I want audiences to be transported to this world through the energetic performances of our young cast (many of whom are making their feature film debuts here) and the world we’ve meticulously recreated. I want to share the feeling of what it was like to hear these songs coming out of the radio, dancing to them at discos or country bars, or on your home or car stereo. And there was so much going on musically! Actual NEW genres and sounds emerging, along the lines of punk, new wave and hip-hop. That coupled with the metal, disco (not technically dead yet), R&B, country (newly trendy thanks to Urban Cowboy), and many of the great bands and singer/songwriters at the top of their games… in short, there was a big all-you-can-eat buffet of music on the table at all times.
I have a personal connection to every song heard in the film, but Van Halen’s “Everybody Wants Some” is a song that perfectly captures the uniqueness of being on the cusp of the freedom of adulthood as well as the feeling of being young, horny, careless and wanting to have it all. Regardless of when you came of age, I want this film to be a reminder just how awkward, messy and amazing it was to be a certain age, with a lifetime of possibilities ahead of you.