Opening 2 Jun 2016
Richard Linklater borrowed the not too subtle Van Halen anthem for his latest film. It’s an exuberant homage to youth, especially male youth at that turning point in life from childhood to adulthood all taking place in Linklater’s autobiographical backyard, a Texas college in 1980.
Freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) confidently swaggers into his new life on campus to live with the baseball team in a frat type house. This handsome, broad-shouldered high school star pitcher is immediately taken down a few pegs by his teammates, then joins them partying, drinking, chasing girls, smoking dope, and of course disco dancing. In between they constantly spar with each other turning everything into a competition testosterone fueled by unbridled jock rivalry. The upperclassmen’s hazing of the newbies takes on, at times, frivolously terrifying dimensions. Jake’s teammates are a motley crew, each one embodying one facet of The ‘80s All American Boy. Finnegan (Glenn Powell) is the wise/wiseass philosopher; McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin) is the hotheaded super competitive jock; and Willoughby (Wyatt Russell) is the hippie pothead. Most of the female roles are pretty faces in short shorts who are more than willing to go along for the wild ride. One standout is the enchanting drama student Beverly (Zoey Deutch), whom Blake meets on their very first day at college. Beverly has bigger plans than the other fun-loving coeds and dreams of heading to New York upon graduation. The hint of a tender romance with Blake might just sidetrack her for a while.
The wardrobes, cars, hairstyles and the incredible soundtrack generate a nostalgic ‘80s backdrop. This is a film men can relate to and women can stare at in awe. It is bound to become a cult classic, so why not see it now rather than later. (Pat Frickey)