Freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) is the newest addition to the baseball team at a small Texas college, and he is quickly swept up in the rowdy, competitive atmosphere of the house where the entire squad lives. As he and the other players crash one party after the next in search of a good time and good-looking gals, he finds himself falling in love with an artsy student named Beverly (Zoey Deutch).
This has been billed as being the spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused, a film which I haven’t seen (I know I should) so I can’t speak to the parallels between this film and that one. I am a fan of writer/director Richard Linklater which is why I wanted to see this one. I also curious in how it would depict the 80s. I’ve also intended to see his previous film Boyhood but I haven’t been able to commit the time necessary to see it (it’s a long film).
The story is of a freshman named Jake (Jenner) who is the newest addition to a small Texas college’s baseball team. One he arrives, he is swept up by the rowdy, competitive atmosphere of the house where he and the entire squad lives. As he and his teammates, including Roper (Ryan Guzman), McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), and Finnegan (Glen Powell), go from party to party in search of a good time and good-looking women, he finds himself falling in love with an art student named Beverly (Deutch).
The entirety of the film takes place over the course of the first weekend leading up to the start of classes. During this time, we got to follow Jake and his fellow teammates as they go from party to party. This was all fun to watch as the film featured great characters. I found them very compelling to watch because I found them all very likeable and relatable.I also think people will remember these characters for a long time afterwards as the film was full of memorable moments. What made this all enjoyable was the great, clever dialogue which I found really showcased the actors’ ability. It all just felt natural which made it better. What I also liked about the characters was how fleshed out they were, they were definitely not one-dimensional.
The majority of the film consists of them just having fun, going from party to party, and various other hijinks. The film did a good job at making it feel like you were right there with them and we were with them a lot which I didn’t mind because of the above reasons. Comedy is used during the slower/quieter moments and it worked for me because of the acting and the dialogue. Sure the plot doesn’t really go anywhere because there wasn’t really a plot here as we were just along for the ride but that was fine. The plot does become a little unrealistic at times as there were never really any consequences to the guys’ actions. The only real branching out the film does is with a romantic subplot involving Jake and Beverly. It was fine but I though this didn’t get as much time as it should have.
It never really felt like the actors were acting here but I still thought it was great all around. Like I said before, I found the characters to be very likeable. I believe this was based on the combination of the performances and the script. Jenner was a serviceable protagonist here and it was great to explore this world from his perspective. Guzman and Hoechlin had good moments here as the older teammates. My favorite character has to be Finnegan played by Powell. Powell was great here and had a lot of hilarious lines which he delivered perfectly (kind of like in Scream Queens which he was great in). My second favorite would be the pot-head pitcher Willoughby played by Wyatt Russell who had some stoner-ish monologues.
Overall, this was a great coming-of-age ensemble film which was full of nostalgia with great performances elevated by a great script.