Knee-jerk review: "Everybody Wants Some"

1. Touted as the "spiritual sequel" to one of our favorite movies ever - Richard Linklater's 1993 masterpiece Dazed and Confused.
2. While Dazed and Confused explored a gaggle of high school students on the last day of school in 1976, this film looks at college student exploits in the three days leading up to the first day of school in 1980.  Nice symmetry.
3. Someone smarter than us coined this sort of format for TV shows like "Seinfeld" and "Friends" - the "hangout show."  The fun isn't what happens so much as watching it happen to these funny characters.
4. Seemed like smaller, limited-release movies like this would play for weeks in Los Angeles.  But here in Texas, if you don't move fast you'll never catch one.  We drove 40 minutes to see this.
5. It was worth it.
6. As we all know by now, Linklater has an ear for quirky, naturalistic dialogue and an uncanny knack for casting unknowns.
7. There's not much plot (as expected in a hangout), but it certainly feels like a documentary-like immersion in the subculture of male athletes - how they waste time, how they pursue girls, how they joke with each other.  Linklater, like the characters, played college baseball on a scholarship.  It shows.  The little details pop.
8. Some interesting background stuff here that points to the cultural transformation of the late 1970s/early 1980s music as our guys spend time pursuing girls at a disco, a honkytonk, a punk club, and a New Wave-infused house party.  The times they were a-changing.
9. Note also the way the film draws a clear distinction between the empty-headed patter of girl-chasing in the clubs and the way hero Jake has quiet, meaningful conversations with the girl he likes.
10. Glen Powell shines as psuedo-intellectual Finnegan, a part that would have gone to Owen Wilson 15 years ago.
11. Guess everyone in Texas in 1980 drank Schlitz or Lone Star.
12. The setting helps steep the story in nostalgia, but it's a familiar situation to any college student.  You may have been the big shot in high school, but now you're in a group of 10 other high school big-shots.
13. Gold star for the final visual of the movie: a teacher scrawling on the chalkboard one of the themes of the movie: "Frontiers are where you find them."  Take advantage. Carpe diem.  Yadda yadda.
14. We loved it.

Shows on our DVR (Winter-Spring 2016)

Here's a list of shows we spent the last few months recording on our DVR.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) - This is a strange one, if only because it's reinvented itself several times partly to line up with the Marvel movies.  That degree of narrative turnover is admirable, but it can be a little alienating (no pun intended).  Sometimes we think it's a show we keep watching just because we always have.

The Americans (AMC) - Soviet spies living in 1980s American suburbia.  What a premise.  Best drama on television.  Period.  If you're not watching it, you're making a big mistake. 

The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - It's always amusing, but never really hilarious.  Comfort food.  The wife/girlfriend characters are usually funnier than the male leads.

Blackish (ABC) - This is our new favorite.  Everyday family foibles reflected through the lens of an African-American family, all of it energized by a jolt of the absurd.  Top-notch.  Bonus points for some important racial/cultural discussions.

Blindspot (NBC) - It's a loud, dumb show full of clunky exposition, ridiculous coincidences, and credulity-stretching plot holes.  But... it's also a whole lot of fun and benefits from a cast that completely sells the crazy.  Guilty pleasure.

Fear the Walking Dead (AMC) - The ocean setting is novel and actor  Ruben Blades is magnetic.  But it's a show that's mostly needless.  The only people eager for this sequel show were AMC executives.

The Good Wife (CBS) - Just ended its run as probably the best network drama on TV.  It jumped the shark a couple of years ago when the show inexplicably wasted one whole season on Alicia Florick running for office.  But when it was good, it was HBO good.  Layered, quirky, plush, smart.

How to Get Away with Murder (ABC) - We're losing interest fast.  Probably shouldn't even be on this list.  There's something fascinating about the way the show burns through twists and plot turns that other shows might milk for a whole season, but storytelling tricks like that aren't enough when the entire cast of characters are this skeevy.

Modern Family (ABC) - About as slickly produced and well-oiled as a sitcom can be.  Dependable, reliable, it's the Volvo of comedy.  But there's only two reasons to watch, really: Ty Burrell and Ed O'Neill.

Orphan Black (BBC America) - It can be impossible to keep straight the many plot twists and knots of conspiracy in this tale of clones and genetic engineering.  But the work by actress Tatiana Maslany - who plays all of the clones - is nothing short of amazing.  You'll forget it's the same actress.  She should be winning Emmys.

The Price is Right (CBS) - There's nothing better to put on when you're washing dishes, making dinner, or folding laundry. 

Supergirl (CBS) - As many others have noted, it's a welcome antidote to the sour bleakness of the Zack Snyder DC superhero movies.  A fun, fizzy show with entertaining villains, cute dialogue, and a fantastic lead performance by Melissa Benoist.

Survivor (CBS) - Since its debut in 2000, we've missed just one edition.  We're just as surprised as you are that it's still compelling and engaging.  The last few editions have been among the very best.  Jeff Probst has the best job on TV.

The Walking Dead (AMC) - A grim show that too often revels in its grimness.  But we're fond of many of the characters and more and more the story has (thankfully) turned more toward community-building rather than zombie-killing.