Film Review: Blissful ‘My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea’

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – In animation, the real innovators who evolve the artform are the risk takers who stamp their own inspiration on those cartoon images. Director Dash Shaw is one of those breakthroughs, who creates a work of anarchistic art in “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea.”

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Turning the institutional concept of high school literally upside down, the animated epic uses an extreme (and somewhat comic) disaster to separate the true heroes from the pretenders. The insecurities, social cliques and outsiders are all present, and writer/director Shaw uses them as society’s pecking order, on a Titanic that has become their school building. The voice actors are familiar – Susan Sarandon portrays a kick-ass lunch lady with gravel-voiced sincerity – but the real star is Dash Shaw’s cartoon vision, which mixes his simple line drawings with a kaleidoscope of amazing colors and surreal set pieces. With shadings of “Yellow Submarine” blended with TV animation stylings from the 1960s to the ‘80s, “My Entire High School…’ is maximum entertainment.

Dash (voice of Jason Schwartzman) and Assaf (Reggie Watts) are best friends who have made it to their Sophomore year at Tides High School – the school overlooks the sea – but are still looked upon as nerdy outsiders. They, along with the student editor Verti (Maya Rudolph), publish an alternative newsletter criticizing school politics and cliques. Verti and Assaf are beginning to feel an attraction, which freezes Dash even further outside.

In retaliation, Dash prints lies about his friends, which gets him in trouble with Principal Grimm (Thomas Jay Ryan). He is forced to detention when he uncovers some records showing the school on a major fault line, and is stuck in a room with popular girl Mary (Lena Dunham) when the earthquake hits. The entire building falls into the sea and begins to sink, and the survival instinct kicks in for Dash and his friends, which includes Lunch Lady Lorraine (Susan Sarandon).

”My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea” continues its limited release in Chicago on April 5th at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 North Southport. See local listings for other theaters and showtimes. Featuring the voices of Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph, John Cameron Mitchell and Susan Sarandon. Written and directed by Dash Shaw. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea”

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The Survival Crew of ‘My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea’
Photo credit: GKIDS

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea”

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