Here for a good time, not a long time.

For many, the end of August brings two things: imminent Fall and the start of a new school year. Those last few days exists in limbo, offering up a final chance to live out the dreams of summer. Or, in the case of incoming college freshman, you take part in the chaotic ritual known as “move-in” weekend. If you’ve participated you’ll know the flurry of anxious eighteen year-olds looking to claim this next chapter of their lives and indulge in college life before academia rears its ugly head.

Some come looking to shed the personality that defined their High School years. While others embrace their pasts, looking to fall back into the same social groups that kept them afloat. Everybody Wants Some!! is at home between these worlds, celebrating both the chameleon of youth and the yearning to connect with others. There’s joy in the common experience, however reckless and fleeting it may be. This isn’t simply nostalgia, but a vivid slice of early adulthood, wild, messy, and above all, fun, fun, fun.

Dubbed a “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused (’93), Richard Linklater’s latest aims to keep the good times rolling, this time ditching the start of vacation in ’76 for summer’s last weekend in 1980. We follow college freshman Jake (Blake Jenner), as he moves into the Baseball house at the outskirts of an unnamed Texas university. Here he meets the rest of the team, including the baby-faced new bloods, the tough-guy veterans, and the token hanger-on. From the opening introductions at the house, it’s clear that guys will be guys and this film will be about those guys being- well, guys.

Rather than glorifying the kingdom in which the bro reigns supreme, Linklater leans into this perception. There’s something to be said about these young men and their large appetites, be it booze, babes, or playing ball. By day they’re unsure about their majors and by night it’s swapped for the question of who they might cozy up to later. Everybody, even the team’s know-it-all Finn (Glenn Powell), is looking for something or someone to put them at ease. We see their desires fluctuate between the immediate and the distant future. From just wanting to keep a vinyl mint, to finding purpose amongst the crowd of hotshots.

Here everyone can be the nut, the jock, even the weirdo. It’s a rite of passage alongside the constant ribbing, necessary to maintaining the team hierarchy. Linklater is showing us a portrait of masculinity that accepts vulnerability and is unafraid to be the butt of the joke, nor is it afraid to fight for that same right. Even the alpha, McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), one of the team’s captains and a self-avowed pitcher hater, tips his hand during a competition of table tennis that escalates from playful to painful. Revealing that even the sure-footed upperclassmen have their weaknesses, despite their status as kings on campus.

Like Dazed, Linklater gives us the lay of the land, hopping from casual pit-stop to wild party, all the while accompanying Jake and a constantly changing crew as they live out the last three days before class begins. From the trashed punk house with holes peppering the walls to the cluttered dorms, the world of EWS!! feels like a 1980’s microcosm in a way many period pieces can’t quite commit. Linklater knows that his characters are the true set-dressing, defining the world with their antics, wise-cracks, and ultimately, their camaraderie. He’s attune to the quiet moments filled with casual revelations- some bong induced, others fully smitten, realized in the throes of spontaneity.

For every scene there’s a matching outfit and a beat to go along with it. The soundtrack doesn’t stray too far from the classics, but it’s perfectly in-sync with the shape-shifting attitude and atmosphere. Sometimes it’s incognito, tight as the t-shirta and blue jeans, and other times it punctuates the moment, setting it ablaze and freeing inhibition. It’ll make you want to boogie, bop and even thrash around a little.

Everybody Wants Some!! is here to have a good time, that’s for certain. But as much as it  changes clothes and identities, it never betrays the young men that hold it together. The parties and drinking are just another ritual built by previous generations, and it’s who these men are the next morning that makes us want to jump on screen and shoot the shit. And like Dazed, it all ends with a sleepy smile, a reflection of the previous night’s events and the promise of more to come.

To close this out I’m going to use the words of Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), a pot smoking guru and Twilight Zone enthusiast, who might as well be Linklater by proxy.

“Finding the tangents in the framework… that’s the artistry, man.”

Right on.