Richard Linklater's Everybody Wants Some!! is being billed as a "spiritual sequel" to his 1993 high-school stoner classic Dazed and Confused, but in some key ways it feels closer to his animated 2001 philosophy bull-session Waking Life -- a freewheeling grab-bag of ideas, ruminations and loose ends held together by the director's generous sensibility. Or maybe the new film is the missing link between the two, turning these apparently disparate works into a continuum, a journey between checking out, self-knowledge and transcendence. That might seem like a lot of weight to put on a movie about a bunch of college baseball players trying to get laid. But Linklater's great talent is to remain light on his feet while drifting into the metaphysical -- to balance the earthly with the profound, and to find the people somewhere in between.
There are certainly a lot of people in Everybody Wants Some!!, and Linklater does a fine job of keeping them all in play. The nominal protagonist is Jake Bradford (Blake Jenner), a freshman pitcher who has just arrived at Southeast Texas University in September 1980 to live in a rundown house with his teammates. Chief among his crew is the philosopher-hedonist Finnegan (Glen Powell, fantastic), who chatters on endlessly -- the latest addition to Linklater's roster of lovable blowhards.
But as Everybody Wants Some!! proceeds, the tone switches from the ribbing and hazing and carousing of young men to something more questioning. The experience of watching this film is one of reflective exuberance. It's a movie about people who arrive sure of themselves and depart in the quiet confidence that all they know is that they know nothing.