How 'Everybody Wants Some!!' Connects To 'Dazed & Confused'
If you've been making an effort to revisit high school movies from the '90s, Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused is probably somewhere on your list. The Austin-based filmmaker's third work, Dazed chronicles the last day of high school for a group of friends and their pot-fueled misadventures. While most might argue that Matthew McConaughey is its breakout star, the coming-of-age comedy also marked the emergence of some seriously recognizable names, including Milla Jovovich and Parker Posey. And even though Dazed didn't make much money at the time of its release, it is an enormous cult favorite this side of the millennium. So, of course it's time for a Dazed and Confused sequel in Everybody Wants Some!! — well, sort of.
With other blockbusters like School of Rock, Boyhood, and Before Sunrise now on Linklater's résumé, it's no surprise that the director chose to revisit Dazed-territory all these years later with his new movie. Apparently feeding the same impulse as J.J. Abrams did with the Cloverfield series, Linklater first approached Everybody Wants Some!! as a "spiritual sequel" to Dazed, he told Reddit, and pitched it to execs as a film taking place 10 years later in the same universe. But, as the director has mentioned in a few recent interviews, Everybody Wants Some!! is not a full-blown sequel.
In 2013, Linklater made the press rounds for Dazed's 20th anniversary and began to hint at Everybody being a semi-sequel, telling The Daily Beast,
I call it my “spiritual sequel.” I think I’m going to do it in the next year or so. How times change! ’76 was a good time because I felt it was this monoculture of FM radio, hard rock, and a Southern/Midwestern rock-and-roll feel, but shortly thereafter, you had a much more disco, punk thing, and by ’80, I’m dealing with punk, disco, country, and stuff like Van Halen.
Dazed's soundtrack is iconic and plays a character as much as any actor in the film, capturing the flavor of the '70s in a way that resonates with classic rock fans. As seen in many of his movies, Linklater uses the soundtrack to propel his story and makes deliberate choices with songs; his choice to distinguish the two films through the use of music is unsurprising, but totally rad. As he spent more time with Everybody's concepts, however, according to The Daily Beast, Linklater grew less interested creating a second part to the Dazed universe. As Variety reports, he wrote the script in 2005 and attempted to finance Everybody in 2009; he believed that his choice to keep the two films linked would result in ease of production. Yet as Linklater told Variety,t his was not the case. Said the filmmaker,
It never really got going. It was surprisingly hard, even though I talked about it in Dazed terms. I didn’t have the adult roles because it’s not a sequel. It’s going to be a bunch of young people, which inevitably means there are not a lot of stars that age.
In this interview, Linklater also reiterated that Everybody is not the sequel fans might've been looking for, saying, "I used it as an orienation to the material, because Dazed was high school and this is college." And because the two films end up operating in such different times and places, it feels less important to focus on them as sequels. As one package, they might better illustrate Linklater's graduation over the past 20 years from cult-status director to full-fledged Hollywood filmmaker. So, will everybody actually want Some or will it just be "alright, alright, alright?" Only time will tell.
Images: Giphy (2); Paramount Pictures