As the mission statement makes clear, informative sense, explaining that the world before mobile phones and reality television, there was only footage to hold within storages of memory. Cardboard Boxes to be cut and ripped open, to glimpse into the past. The graduating class of 1984 at Torrance High was brilliant, arrogant, decisive, indecisive, unsure, but completely sure of who they wanted to be, or rather, become. In Keva Rosenfield’s All American High REVISITED, these individuals tell their stories.
They open up their worlds with thin wrappings from their minds, what they believe the world should be, become, or if it should stay exactly as it was meant to stay. Their worlds become yours, or perhaps, ours, because our hopes are intertwined in this film. It’s not simply a documentary, but a documentation of what is meant to be great, and falls short sometimes, and by short I mean separate stories; and then, eventually, take the lead. These students take the lead later in their lives, regardless of their shortcomings in earlier times. Life is without a doubt, a hopeless regret, until you wake up one morning and you realize you became exactly who you are meant to be.
The most notable individual within All American High REVISITED is the immigrant student, who seems to understand the world as it has been handed to her seemingly spoiled, arrogant, and sometimes, inspirational classmates. She voices herself like she is not one of the crowd, and to be honest, respect is given to her by an audience rather than her peers. Of course, it seems like she fits right in, at times, but in her own words we find an understanding of who we, as an audience, are and who we blatantly want to become. That’s who they wanted, and that’s who they will always become. It’s what we are, adults who were once teenagers, and who are meant to become, or rather, became.
The power behind this film is the students. They are loving to their football team, their fund-raisers, their hopefulness, their lack of words as they described concepts that seemed so large to themselves, but began to understand once the larger world presented itself before them. Students, with hopes, goals, achievements—some that were plagued by the unity of arrogance, some with enough arrogance to make a difference. But these students learned, quite well, that they would one day become adults who actually live those aspirations and dreams, or perhaps, have the opposite come true. By opposite I mean that their careers are based around their personalities.
The world is most definitely, a scary place, especially inside a classroom. As the students raise their hands high, they are often questioning the world, rightfully and, without meaning to, wrongfully, but it’s their obligation to learn, but life teaches you and me much better. The students are you and I, both, me and you—that’s the focus of this documentary…that high school, no matter how far away, is a place where individuals learn about the world. Once they cross over from being a group of teenagers, and enter the adult world, adults learn about themselves
Let me tell you about myself when I was in High School. I was a loud mouth know-it-all who was enrolled in AP and Honors classes (this honestly made me believe that I was smarter than everyone else even though I wasn’t) who was ignorant in a lot of ways, but I always tried to help the underdog. I was one of the editors of my high school’s literary and arts magazine, Kaleidoscope. I was a new girl who learned to be a part of the crowd, sometimes. I made idiotic comments and talked back to some of my teachers, but I respected more of them than I talked back to. To be completely honest, I haven’t changed too much. In a lot of ways I have, or I did, in recent years, but that’s all a part of growing up. When I was growing up my mother always told me, jokingly, “It’s a conspiracy” because, to be completely honest, I watched too many movies growing up. I’ve found that her sarcasm shaped who I am…because I did take life too seriously. And then I didn’t. And then I did. Sometimes I still act like this, but I tend to joke around a lot more—even when I shouldn’t be—because it’s important to be able to laugh at yourself. To cry when you have to. In this film, I saw a lot of the things that I had seen growing up.
All American High REVISITED is a brilliant understanding of the humans and their kindness. The world is destructively real in many ways. In high school it’s a time to figure out how the world works before you’re set off onto a mission for intelligence and learning expressions through meeting new souls and their remaining helpfulness. But, it’s always important to be wise with your decisions when meeting certain folks. It’s worth a second, maybe a third, most definitely a fourth watch—for it is great.