Writer: Richard Linklater
DOP: Shane F. Kelly
Cast: Blake Jenner, Glen Powell, Zoey Deutch
In 1980, a group of college baseball players navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood. It takes over the course of 3-4 days leading up to the opening of college year with a group of freshmen joining their seniors from the baseball team as they occupy an independent apartment instead of the usual central dorms.
The film is considered to be a spiritual sequel to Linklater's breakout film 'Dazed & Confused' which was set on the last day of high-school in 1976. He had this story in mind back then itself but got financing to make it only now, possibly on the back of the success of Boyhood. Boyhood also ends with a guy getting into the college and that also is sort of a continuity coming to this film. Linklater's characters are generally very talky and the subject of much of the talk can be existential. This is something that you don't expect in a film with baseball jocks as its characters. I was slightly put off by it initially as it all seemed a bit too scripted and had turned it off after about 20 minutes a month back. Gave it a try yesterday and the film was indeed pretty great. Things that put me off like the philosophic nature of some of the conversations and what seemed to be the presence of token black guy in the group could be argued against by the fact that Linklater was himself a baseball player for his college team and the protagonist character is a version of him. It is conceivable that he indeed had these sort of conversations with his team mates and he might have had only one black teammate.
There is not much of a plot to speak of, which should never be a complaint when you are watching Linklater films, and there is not even a character arc or coming of age aspect to it. They are just moving from one party to another and in between we see them playing all sorts of games which most of them take very competitively. Some of them are at the same time very self-aware and not. You have one of the characters looking at normal students and commenting that they will go on to have a very average life with regular jobs while they all will have very interesting lives to look forward to as if all of them are going to make it as baseball players. It is a meandering watch and enjoyably so. It is always a good when you don't want the film to end. Performances are all good and the soundtrack is great. It is a must watch for Linklater fans.