Movies probably aren’t the first thing you think of when you hear Edgemont Jr./Sr High School. That being said though, even with all of their studying, Edgemont students still find time to squeeze in a movie or two every once in a while. In the midst of junior year, Matthew Howard (‘25) still told Campus: “I love coming to school each day and talking with my friends about a new movie I watched.” Here, Matt expresses the feelings shared by many Edgemont students: a love for movies and the film discussion.
The students of Edgemont enjoy a wide variety of films from all different genres and eras. When students were asked “What is your favorite movie?”, people had to take a second to think about it, which was a common phenomenon. Many students responded with “I’ll get back to you” or “I don’t know, there are just so many.”
Although movies may not be top of mind for Edgemont students, once they came up with one, they had a lot to say. Gabe Tanen (‘25), for example, said, “Whiplash is my favorite movie because I am a percussionist myself and thoroughly enjoy the jazzy soundtrack of Whiplash.”
The fact that he said this in band class may have swayed his choice, but regardless, it counts as an example of students’ ability to connect film with things they are passionate about. Out of all of the student responses, this was the only film that would fall under the genre of music.
Action and family movies were the most popular with four responses, each followed by drama and comedy with two responses. This isn’t surprising, as it reflects the current state of popular cinema with superhero movies like Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: No Way Home dominating the box office. Animated movies have also become quite popular, with hits like Minions: The Rise of Gru and The Super Mario Bros. Movie in recent years. These films tend to be more lighthearted and easy to watch, which makes sense as most teens watch films to relax and escape from the constant stresses of school. However, these feel-good films aren’t all Edgemont is watching; intense thrillers such as Django Unchained and Fight Club were also mentioned among students’ favorites, showing the wide range of tastes
Edgemont students have.
Students also picked favorite decades for movies. 57% of student’s favorite movies were from the 2010s, 22% were from the 2000s, and 7% from the 80s, 90s, and 2020s. Since most Edgemont students grew up in the late 2000s and early 2010s, their favorite movies reflect said periods. The twenty-first century has produced numerous generation-defining films, many serving as the favorites of Edgemont students. Students mentioned movies such as The Dark Knight and Sharkboy and Lavagirl. David Fincher’s 2010 masterpiece, The Social Network, also ranked highly among students, suggesting Edgemont High School’s students’ sense of nostalgia. The abundance of animated and children’s films being favorites indicate that most students’ first ideas of what their favorite movie is is from their youth. This was somewhat surprising, as one would expect movies from the past couple of years to have greater representation among favorites, but the power of nostalgia prevailed.
As for me, my favorite movie does not stem from nostalgia. In fact, I watched it for the first time just three years ago. That film is Donnie Darko, the 2001 thriller directed by Richard Kelly. Originally, I wasn’t the biggest fan of it due to how confusing and strange it is, but on each viewing of the film, I grew increasingly fond of it.. I love the bizarre yet beautiful atmosphere and how you uncover a new detail every time you watch it. While my #1 favorite may not be one from my childhood, some of my other choices are – Toy Story, Back to the Future, and A Christmas Story, to name a few.
Nostalgia figures prominently in much of the media that we consume and the favorite movies of the Edgemont High Schoolers certainly reflect that. In the end, Edgemont students may not always have movies at the forefront of their minds, but their diverse tastes and strong connection to their childhood make film discussions a beloved pastime at school.