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 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 story typically contains some significant conflict the protagonist needs to solve, some action on the way to its solution, and finally some profound lesson learned through the tribulations.
However, there is no epiphany to be found here, nor was Jake faced with any significant challenges navigating the new environment. Instead, things go smoothly as he spends time with new acquaintances, reconnects with an old friend, and attends a slew of parties.
You know, regular life stuff.
And in the film’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.
The word “frontier” typically conjures up images of majestic, untouched lands holding endless potential for impact. Think the wild west, Alaska, etc.
But as Linklater so masterfully demonstrates in his work, our impactful moments aren’t always neatly structured with epic conflicts, climaxes, and resolution.
While what happens in this world is mostly ordinary, that doesn’t mean it’s not profound.
Just as Jake’s weekend goes off without a hitch, he finds himself questioning his identity as he seamlessly transforms from baseball player to disco star, country dancer, punk rocker, and more.
Because that’s just life, and life’s meant to be messy. It’s the culmination of these seemingly minor plot points that eventually shape us into the people we become.
And whether it’s how we spend our Saturday afternoons or who we converse with on the bus to wherever, it is ultimately up to us to decide what to take away from these experiences.
After all, life’s frontiers are where we find them. ∎