Ranking the films of Richard Linklater so far

"Boyhood" Los Angeles Special Screening - Arrivals
It might have something to do with how much I love Everybody Wants Some, but I’m still thinking about Richard Linklater and his career to date. Yes, I touched on that a bit last week, and previously in 2014 when Boyhood was making its way through the awards season, but I’m not quite done just yet. There’s something about Linklater that has me constantly thinking about and re-evaluating his films. Interestingly enough, his flicks tend to be ones that lend themselves nicely to introspection/retrospection. In doing this, one of the things I’ve actually come up with is that he’s actually yet to make a bad movie, despite having a nearly 20 deep filmography. As such, it made perfect sense to rank his films today, showing you just how varied yet consistent he is as a director. It’s really quite something to behold, at least in my eyes…

Zoey deutch everybody wants some
As a reminder for those of you with memories on the shorter side, a bit once again about Everybody Wants Some. The movie looks at the first weekend at college for freshman pitcher Jake Bradford (Blake Jenner). We basically just follow him as he meets his teammates, including Glenn McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), Billy Autry (Will Brittain), Dale Douglas (J. Quinton Johnson), and scene stealer Finnegan (Glen Powell), along with a potential special lady in Beverly (Zoey Deutsch). The group of guys bond while playing ball, competing in their off campus house, partying, and of course going out to bars in order to chase women. It’s a hang out picture, and a great one at that. Linklater writes and directs here, with the rest of the ensemble including Austin Amelio, Temple Baker, Jonathan Breck, Ryan Guzman, Tanner Kalina, Juston Street, Sophia Taylor Ali, and Forrest Vickery. Cinematography here is by Shane F. Kelly, with editing from Sandra Adair, both of whom help to perfectly execute Linklater’s vision.

What you’ll see below is a list of Linklater’s 17 films so far to date, ranked in order of my personal preference (so yes, keep in mind that this is just how I see things, not a definitive ranking or anything of the sort). Even his “worst” movie is still thoroughly decent in my eyes, with his top ten including multiple titles that could be considered “masterpieces”. That’s something, being able to really nail a project like that. Obviously, his Before trilogy is there, along with the just released Everybody Wants Some, but what else? Well, you’ll have to take a look now at the next paragraph, won’t you?

before midnight ethan hawke julie delpy
Here is how I would rank Linklater’s filmography so far:

1. Dazed and Confused
2. Before Sunset
3. Before Midnight
4. Everybody Wants Some
5. Before Sunrise
6. Boyhood
7. School of Rock
8. Bernie
9. Slacker
10. Me and Orson Welles
11. A Scanner Darkly
12. Tape
13. The Newton Boys
14. Fast Food Nation
15. SubUrbia
16. Waking Life
17. Bad News Bears

Boyhood richard linklater  600x330

Again, I really think that Linklater is as good as it gets when you look at indie directors. He’s made comedies, dramas, pioneered a form of animation, and re-invented how you do franchises, as well as just plain tell a story. The master of the hangout picture, he basically can do no wrong. I eagerly await what he chooses to do next (possibly an adaptation of the novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette?), as has been the case for well over a decade now. Linklater has established himself as someone to put your trust in, cinematically speaking. He’s a real singular presence in the industry, and for that, we all owe him a debt of gratitude. Kudos to him once again…

Everybody Wants Some is out in limited release right now, with a nationwide expansion to come!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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