By Jamaica Spencer
My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea is not a mainstream Hollywood film. It’s something I’ve watched on Netflix that caught my attention. This is no typical film we’re all used to seeing. This film was created by Dash Shaw Cartoonist and animator, mostly known for his comic creations. This film isn’t Shaw’s first film to be created, but his third. It was in fact called “the most original animated film of the year”. Not too bad for someone who’s not really for making films. Director Dash Shaw has brought us a disaster filled film with comical and typical high school problems we’ve all faced, told through varied forms of media and animation style. You will be thrown for a loop, but it’s mesmerizing and trippy one worth taking.
Film starts off like any other typical day for High-school students, Dash Shaw and his best friend Assaf start their first day off as new sophomores at Tides High School. Both known as the newspaper journalist, along with their friend Verti, who is the editor. Assaf and Verti begin to take a Romantic interest in each other, Dash isn’t happy about this at all. Dash on his usual gossip trip he discovers the principal’s cover-up scheme that puts the lives of everyone in danger. A disaster outbreaks and the friends must travel to the roof of the school to escape, while also being accompanied by new friends they meet along the way.
The animation likes to switch between different art styles and constant changes. Little things such as scribbles, lines, stripes, and the circles were emphasized to show how important something is or whether it didn’t need much attention paid to it. The art styles in the film did not stay consistent which made it seem like you were on some type of high. Not that I would know anything about that… The styles varied between watercolors, sketches, markers, paint, silhouettes. There were video clips of real-life scenes such as water, human hands, shredded paper, buttons, and strings. That’s what made the film stand out it’s not like your typical animated movie designed in one style, it incorporated others which Dash Shaw is known for and it worked well. In fact, Ill recall a part of the movie that illustrates this. When the earthquake first took place Assaf and Verti were in the library and a fire broke out. Dash discovered Assaf trapped under a bookshelf surrounded by small confetti, paper cutouts and colored circle objects used for arts and crafts (not sure of the name). This is just an example of how outside elements beyond drawing played a part in the film.
This film is no different from how we’ve experienced high school ourselves. Unless you’ve been homeschooled then just use this movie as a reference to some of the things you would’ve faced. Most of you crush on people that we were close to, or envious of our felt like you were losing a friend because they found a new love interest. Just like Assaf and Verti who’ve been friends for a while spark a love interest in each other. Dash becomes upset at Assaf because he feels as if he’s going to lose him, and has the stupid idea of spreading gossip about. Or when Verti tells the story of how she became friends with the new girl at school and she leaves her for another group of girls who all shared an interest in volleyball.
Sometimes we even tend to be a Gretchen (supporting character). Gretchen decided the best way for her to make friends is to become a people pleaser. She believed that if she followed the same thing her “friends” did they would actually like her. The moment Gretchen decided she wanted to Dash and the rest of the group to escape the school, her friends turned their noses up at her because she wanted to leave everybody else (so-called fun area). Sometimes we act like another person because we would rather be liked than cast out. Even if that means not being our true authentic selves. This isn’t new since High school is based on a social ladder. For anyone to pay attention to Dash he had to be “POPULAR” to actually hold any value. It looks like things didn’t turn out so well for the majority of the students. Obviously, that’s not even half of what teenagers go through in high school. Anyways what can I say high school is an emotional roller coaster.
This is a film you should just check out because of the varied art forms if that’s something you’re into, or maybe because you relate to some of the social challenges the students face in the film. So check out My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea on Netflix and enjoy it.