Everybody Wants Some
I'm leaving off the bad punctuation of the title, which like the rest of the film, is fairly extraneous. It pains me to call this one of Linklater's worst, but there it is. Rekindling the plotless, amiable, time capsule reverie of "Dazed and Confused", this one places his lost and delirious youth at the birth of the 80's and also at ground zero of their college experience. Following a bevy of newcomers (some better, some who fare much worse) during the weekend before school starts, "Everybody Wants Some" is a uniquely masculine experiment, placing focus on the testosterone fueled group of baseball players at fictional Southeastern Texas College. Binge drinking, girl-chasing, swearing and pranks are the rigor, and not much depth beyond that. Linklater strains a few decently human strings together towards the end as young Jake (Blake Jenner, the closest thing the film has to a male lead and our central attachment) forms a relationship with Beverly (Zoey Deutsch) and their awkward, searching friendship takes hold in Brady Bunch-style split screen phone calls and a very intellectually stimulating party. No wonder these jocks feel like they're in outer space when they show up. The final 20 minutes of "Everybody Wants Some" feel like the closest thing to Linklater's previous films of growth, verbal intimacy and endearment. Perhaps it's this historical wealth built up by the filmmaker that would allow him to have some vacuous fun here. Regardless, its still a film of odious personalities who live, breathe and react in an artificial construction of 80's films.... one whose song choices are just as obvious and obligatory as the endless carousing of its dull-headed young men and women.
Allow my Jason Sudeikis moratorium to expire with "Tumbledown". Sean Mewshaw's romantic drama not only provides him with his best and most affable performance to date, but its also a film of surprising warmth, humility and carefully crafted emotional manipulations. Oh, and Rebecca Hall is pretty damn amazing also. Taking the narrative of cult-songwriter worship to varying heights, "Tumbledown" initially wallows in grief as Hannah (Hall) struggles to come out from under the shadow of her late husband's death. Added to her grief is the fact he released one personal album that (as mentioned in the same vein as Kurt Cobain) still resonates around the world as a lost musical genius. Obsessed with writing a biography of the man, Sudeikis enters Hannah's world as the two try to manage their expectations and accolades for the man from drastically different sides of his persona. Packing a huge emotional wallop, "Tumbledown" is a film that builds slowly. Part romantic comedy and part backwoods New York cultural war, I wasn't expecting the ultimate wallop it delivers. There are no big dramatic shifts or surprise secrets, just a cautious and searching tale about the lives we lead after unforeseen devastation. Just watch the scene where Hall listens to a previously unrealized song and watch the shadows of memory, love and loss sway across her face. In that single moment, "Tumbledown" hooked its claws into me and never let go.
Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell maintain sharp chemistry. It's just too bad one has to squint to see it amongst the bad Tarantino-violence. Full review Dallas Film Now.
I lost track how many times during Ariel Vroman's insipid thriller I rolled my eyes. This is the type of lazy action film that has every single person's movements tracked by cell phone GPS or facial recognition data, and yet the person everyone's looking for shows up at the home of the female whose central to the plot. Despite being stacked with great talent (Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Oldman), "Criminal" wastes everyone involved.