Fast Times at Oakdale High


Brian Herman

Beyond simply entertaining people, movies can impact us as human beings in several ways.

Each successive generation can look back and reflect upon the media that made “their culture”. The fashion, the movements, the video games all are defining parts of their lives. However, the films they consider important are another key player to culture. So, as the generational shift brings films and genres in and out of relevance, what films do students at Oakdale consider prominent?

While certainly lacking consistency, the films chosen by Oakdale’s students portray a repertoire of different reasons for their significance. These different reasons stated by each grade level lead toward a new conclusion for each.

The seniors’ most pervasive reason for a movie’s importance in their lives was all about tradition. Movies, they said, were starters of something special for them, and a key part of their childhood or growing up. This included Romel Freeman, Dylan Moore, Brendan Christensen, Cody Watkins, and Tyler.

For instance, Romel Freeman commented that The Grudge “was my 1st horror film and watching them became a tradition.”

Watkins relayed similar sentiment, “Outlaw Josey Wales started a tradition of watching Clint Eastwood movies.” These memories all came from childhood classics, and kept a place in these seniors’ hearts for years.

Juniors had the same nostalgia in choosing their films. Several of them, including Mike Gerlock, Adina Twenhafel, Ryan Robinson, and Ethan Mullen cited this reason. For Gerlock, Jurassic Park was a “cherished movie I watched often with my Grandma”.

Likewise, Mullen’s experiences with Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith “stayed with him since he was 5 years old.” It seems many juniors vividly remember the movies that raised them, and those films are key to them today.

Sophomores differed from the previous grade levels in key reasoning for their important films. While a few named movies they grew up with, the predominant reason came to be succeeding at their goal as movies in a genre. The movies sophomores stated include Sleeping Beauty, Disturbia, Logan, Bad News Bears, A Dog’s Purpose, The Matrix and The Fault in our Stars. One sophomore who wishes not to be named said Disturbia worked and “scared them deeply”.

Mathias Yost stated The Matrix was “realistic” and compelling.  When a movie works at the job it intends to do, that contributes to its sustainability and how fondly people remember it.

Freshmen had another entirely different take than every other grade level. The freshmen interviewed seems to value a film’s critical value above all. Films like Gone Girl, Moana, Rogue One, Split, and Fight Club were all examples of such a mindset. One freshman who wants to remain unnamed said Moana had “beautiful music”.

Another freshman who does not want to be named said Gone Girl is important because of its “character progression”. These elements are important to movies on an analytical level, and that seems to be key to their relevance to freshman.

Overall, each grade level cited different reasons and vastly different movies. Across all kinds of genres, styles, audiences, and times were stated. This seems to show the pervasive diversity among what movies raised Oakdale students.

Some of the students came to love horror films thanks to traditions; others came to see film as a true art form, and analyzed them as such. Nonetheless, each student’s choice speaks volumes about that particular group, and could lead to fascinating discussion and connections.