Following a freshman as he makes his way through the first few days at school, Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! could have been filled to the brim with unforgettable, coming-of-age moments that we so typically associate with the college experience.
But it isn’t.
Instead, Jake spends a very ordinary weekend on campus – and that’s perfectly fine.
A typical story follow the familiar steps of the Hero’s Journey, where the protagonist responds to a call to adventure, faces troubles along the way, and finally, learns a profound lesson through the tribulation.
There is no strife nor epiphany to be found here, however.
Instead, Jake’s journey goes off without a hitch as he meets new acquaintances, reconnects with old friends, and attends a slew of social events. You know, regular first-weekend-on-campus stuff.
And in Everybody Wants Some!!‘s noticeably inconclusive final scene, we’re left with Jake falling asleep in lecture with the words “Frontiers are where you find them” written on the chalkboard.
In keeping his story understated, Linklater quietly delivers one of his signature life lesson moments during a decidedly unexceptional bong circle with Jake and his baseball teammates.
While pondering the scales of Pink Floyd’s Fearless in a less-than-sober state, Wyatt Russell‘s Willoughby points out that it’s not the primary notes that deliver an exceptional listening experience. Instead, in his words,
“…finding the tangents within the framework, therein lies the artistry, man.”
We often use the epic events (like getting our driver’s license, or indeed, starting a college adventure) to measure progress and growth throughout our lives. We see them as defining moments – our frontiers.
However, most of life happens in between these major milestones. And let’s be honest: it’s mostly ordinary. Boring, even.
But it’s these seemingly minor experiences that make us who we are. These tangents are what add colour to our journey through life.
So it’s up to us to decide what to take away from the more ordinary moments, and what to leave behind.
After all, life’s frontiers are where we find them. ∎