Jonathan Barker – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- As a graduating senior and film fan it is difficult not to reflect on all the movies that were a backdrop for these past four years of high school at LRHS, pushing the envelope and developing the new popular culture.

Approaching my freshman year during the summer of 2014, “Guardians of the Galaxy” was taking America by storm.  The dynamic between the five heroes, the only human being, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), the main character, proved to be an unprecedented box office winner, grossing $96 million in its first week, a record for any film released in August.

Former Mustangs Ahead writer and current student of Carl Sandberg High School, senior Sam Bradford, recalls the experience from back in 2014.

Bradford said, “Two words: humor and heart. At the time no superhero movie came close to ‘Guardians’ in heart and hilarity, plus that soundtrack.”

The year 2015 was a slow crawl, ultimately culminating into the intensely anticipated Star Wars continuation “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The first teaser trailer gathered over 50 million views on YouTube within a week of its release, a year before the movie hit theaters on December 18, grossing over $2 billion worldwide.

The familiar story of Rey (Daisey Ridley) and Poe (John Boyega) and their fight against the forces of evil reminded everyone how special the Star Wars franchise is and the magic that its universe possesses.

Senior Jake Hodges waited in line to watch it on opening night, and as he remembers, it didn’t disappoint.

“It brought back everything good- the magic and mystery of the universe I’ve enjoyed my whole life.”

A movie that shined in 2016 was ‘Deadpool‘. An R-rated, vulgar, and hilarious take on the modern superhero movie. It proved to be a distinct breath of fresh air in a genre constantly churning out products that often seem to blend together as one.

Senior Taylor Lewis commented, “I just watched ‘Deadpool’ the other day; very rewatchable. The dry humor probably makes it my favorite superhero movie.”

In addition, with Ryan Reynolds continuing in the sequel set for release on May 18, it seems the anti-hero will continue to entertain moviegoers worldwide.

The year 2017 featured unexpectedly thoughtful horror movies, with ‘Get Out‘ being a surprise to everyone. Writer-director Jordan Peele is iconic for his work on the titular comedy sketch show ‘Key & Peele’ alongside his partner Keegan Michael Key.

His chops as a legitimate writer were a question revolving around the release of ‘Get Out,’ but not any more. Tension built with pace, a sense of uneasiness and the unknown, this movie shattered expectations, being nominated for Best Picture and Best Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards.

Another horror movie that rocked 2017 was “IT,” which was based on the infamous Stephen King novel.

“‘IT.’ I watched that movie twice in the theater and it was better the second time. ‘IT’,” said senior Lauren Wheeler.

Clowns, which are scary enough for some, add a wicked sense of humor, sarcasm, and a penchant for disturbing the youth. Also, you get Pennywise the clown. A phenomenon right around Halloween, it felt like nearly everyone went out to see this movie.

The movie sits as the highest grossing R-rated horror movie ever, with a gross of over $300 million.

Almost halfway through 2018, it has been the year of Marvel. “Black Panther” which has been described as a cultural phenomenon, is the third highest grossing domestic film of all time.

Senior Brittanee Johnson comments, “I love that movie, hit them with that Wakanda flex.”

Marvel has continued its success with the mega blockbuster ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’ The third movie in the Avengers franchise focuses on the Avenger’s team, as well as many other staples of Marvel, find themselves in a fight for the universe against the all-powerful Thanos.

The movie grossed $1 billion in only 10 days, an unprecedented feat, showing that movies are not losing popularity and that Disney always wins.

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