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Hazed and Confused 

Linklater sets his sights on college life

Just three baseball players in the backseat of a car in 1980. No big deal.

Just three baseball players in the backseat of a car in 1980. No big deal.

If there were a running theme to the films of Richard Linklater, it would have to be the search for meaning. Each entry in his filmography spends at least a little time on the idea that as humans live through defining moments, they tend to miss the true import until either retrospect or nostalgia kick in years later. There is never a chance to mark something as "important" until it is much too late to matter.

Linklater's newest film, "Everybody Wants Some" plays like a sequel to his arthouse smash, "Boyhood," while also adding in some aspects of "Animal House" and "Dazed and Confused." It is a free-wheeling look into the college life of a group of baseball players in Austin, Texas, in 1980 with everything that entails.

"Everybody Wants Some" focuses mostly on Jake ("Glee's" Blake Jenner), who has just moved into a house populated by his fellow college baseball players, three days before college classes start. Jake is a perfect audience surrogate, as he experiences all of the joys of college life with wide eyes and a big grin. That's it. That's the story: The 72-hours of Jake's life as he settles into the world of college.

The character roster is mostly made up of jocks, so there is definitely a "bro" vibe to the film, but the masculinity in Linklater's world isn't so much toxic as much as it is heart-on-its-sleeve horny. The film easily could have slipped into a "Porky's" homage with young guys being horndogs and oogling women. There is some of that here, but the masculinity on display is refreshingly non-toxic.

All these guys want to get laid, but so do the women. Everybody wants some and the film doesn't shame them for their pursuits. The film is from the point of view of men, so the audience is primarily in the headspace of horny jocks. The women who do circle the film are intelligent and developed.

There is a sense of innocence to everything going on that is reflected in the entire good-natured vibe of the film. Make no mistake, there isn't much of a plot here to hang a film on, just a time period and a location. Linklater has populated 1980s Austin with some fairly lovable people, so the film is fun simply because the audience can view its own nostalgia for the simpler times through fresh lenses.

"Everybody Wants Some" is being sold as a spiritual sequel to "Dazed and Confused," and that is a fairly accurate template. Both films give audiences a chance to view collective American history through unremarkable people living in that time. It is easy to be nostalgic for a previous era, whether or not one personally experienced it, so to see this time period through these characters is a treat.

The film is not for everyone, nor should it be. It definitely seems like a guy movie, but there are moments of true beauty to be found throughout by all. "Everybody Wants Some" is a simple film made by a complex filmmaker who is searching for the way to show the human condition one microcosmic facet at a time. This movie won't change the world, but within the next decade it has the makings of a cult classic, speaking to a whole new generation.

"Everybody Wants Some"

Dir. Richard Linklater

Grade: A-

Now playing at Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX

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