First Hit: The music was to die for and the story grew on me as it evolved.
This film takes place over 3 – 4 days by following Jake (Blake Jenner) arriving on a Friday afternoon at an unnamed Texas University to take up residency in the baseball team’s campus home provided by a school sponsor and ending on the following Monday.
As with most Richard Linklater films, dialog and time period is clearly identified. When Jake gets in his car and drives off to the university he turns up the stereo in the vintage Oldsmobile 442 to blast out The Knack’s “My Sharona”. This perfectly sets the tone for the film.
Other music includes Blondie, Van Halen, The Cars, and Cheap Trick. As a jock hanging out with other jocks there is a perception about his intellectual capabilities. However, as the film points out a couple of times, each sub-group of people have their own ranges of intelligence and abilities. It reflects what is true in society. In other words, jocks are not all stupid.
That said, without any structure to their lives over the weekend they attend multiple parties, go to multiple nightclubs, and because they’re in college multiple types of pranks are pulled on each other. But in the end, you see these disparate personalities coming together in cohesive groups on their way to learning more about who they are.
Jenner was well cast as the young freshman baseball jock who is thoughtful. His quiet and inclusive ways made him very likeable. Justin Street (as Jay), Ryan Guzman (as Roper), Tyler Hoechlin (as McReynolds), Wyatt Russell (as Willoughby), Glen Powell (as Finnegan), Temple Baker (as Plummer), J. Quinton Johnson (as Dale), and Will Brittain (as Beuter) we’re all wonderful as the primary members of the baseball team. Each brought a strong and unique personality. Zoey Deutch as Beverly, Jay’s love interest, was very strong and an interesting character. Linklater wrote a very strong script with dialogue that really worked and his direction was spot on, especially the detail of in the scenes.
Overall: This was a wonderful slice of life film that has deeper meaning.