His message is incisive in 2016. People are often pigeon-holed according to whom they hang out with, the music they listen to and even the bar they frequent. I studied in a small-town college in Iowa, and it was normal for cliques to form according to sports teams, nationalities, ethnicities and majors.
Viewers would never expect a baseball player, whose culture is about drinking, fornicating and doing drugs, to fall head over heels for a performing arts major. They would also never expect his teammates to support or accept his relationship.
This tantalising possibility is broached in this film set in a fictional Texan state university on Aug 28, 1980, or three days before the start of classes. The date is vital as it allows for the predominantly white baseball players, including one black player, to bond.
It's hard not to be swept up by the film's infectious energy. From the moment My Sharona opens the film to the gentle kiss and ribbing at the end, Everybody will make you want some more.
|The boys drink up what's said by Finn (left).|
Over the course of three days, the players will drink themselves to death, fornicate till the cocks crow, do drugs, visit an assortment of bars, play a spot of baseball and cool off in a stream.
The Linklater stand-in who will take us through this wonderful journey is Jake (Glee alumnus Blake Jenner), a 6ft 1in freshman pitcher. He's the one who will go through the most profound change and accepts it all with an open heart and a bit of reflection.
The players visit a disco to bust a few moves and pick up women. They're ejected on the second visit, but make a beeline for a country music bar. They blend in effortlessly, even wearing a cowboy hat and doing a line dance.
Willoughby (Wyatt Russell) waxes philosophical: "The trick is you can't fight it. You gotta accept. it. You gotta f****** embrace your inner f****** strange. And when you do that, you bring who you are, never who they want. And that is when it gets fun."
Then, they bump into Jake's high school friend, who's a heavy metal devotee. The team head for a heavy metal bar and become head bangers and lap up the experience.
|Jake and Beverly mix it up.|
Finn (Glen Powell), the leader, replies: "It's adaptive."
Later, Finn says: "Accept your chumpification and pass it on."
Jake, in a tete a tete with lovely and effervescent performing arts major Beverly (Zoey Deutch), says: "I'm just accepting whatever comes my way, good or bad."
College is a time to experiment and be open to new people and ideas, and what makes this film interesting is that its theme about accepting who you and others are, strikes a chord in a fractious US society.
4 out of 5 stars