Journal staff’s defining childhood movies

The films that shaped us into who we are today

Movies can have a profound and lasting impact on our lives.

Movies may only take a couple of hours to watch, but their impacts can last a lifetime. Whether it’s a comedy, drama, or action-adventure, each film has unique qualities that resonate with viewers differently.

For these Journal staff members, one movie in particular stood out from their childhoods, carrying with it an important meaning that influenced their lives personally.

“The movie that defined my childhood was The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I first saw it in theaters at the age of four, and it changed my life.

The charge of the Rohirrim on Pelennor Fields still gives me goosebumps to this day. For the next four or five years, I pretty much exclusively watched that one movie, over and over again, to the point where I could (and still can) recite many scenes by heart.

It still holds up—in my mind—as the perfect climax to the greatest cinematic saga in the history of film.”

Luca Danetta, Assistant News Editor

“You ever watch Boyhood? With Ethan Hawke? I remember watching that late at night in high school with my best friend, and it was really moving.

It’s a movie about the tumult of transitioning from childhood to whatever purgatory being a student is. It made me realize the importance of keeping things in perspective.

The movie was shot over 12 years, and that sort of bird’s eye view of life showed me that our lives—meaning ourselves, as well as our situations—aren’t supposed to be constant.”

Jack Rabb, Sports Editor

Matilda was the uplifting and ridiculous movie that I would default to watching on a rainy day.

It taught me that there’s magic within all of us, but more importantly, it transformed me into the rebellious teenage feminist I’d one day become.

I lived in a house where my parents’ word was the law, but Matilda taught me that even grown-ups can be wrong. It made me feel comfortable in my own curiosity and showed me that you have the power to demolish the evil that came before you.

Also: Danny DeVito.”

Aysha Tabassum, Opinions Editor

“The movie that defined my childhood has to be Spider-Man—the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man. I must have watched it a hundred times.

I wasn’t much of a film analyst, so I was primarily obsessed with the concept of having a secret identity and super strength. The idea that Peter Parker is just a normal person who becomes this great superhero was a very appealing narrative to me, as I’m sure it is for most kids.

It was very reassuring to see this nerdy, understated character get to do something important and thrilling with his life.”

Shelby Talbot, Editorials Editor

“The movie Harriet the Spy resonated with me like no other childhood movie. The protagonist, Harriet Welsch, is a sixth-grade girl in New York City who yearns to be a spy and a writer.

The fact that she lived in what I thought—and still think—is the coolest city in the world, and led a life largely independent of her parents, amazed me. Harriet’s fearless attitude taught me at an early age to not be afraid to indulge your interests, speak the truth, and be unapologetically fierce.”

Sasha Cohen, Copy Editor

“I’m still not sure if I introduced the movie to my childhood best friend, or she to me, but The Lion King consumed every playdate we had. If we weren’t crying over Mufasa’s death, or singing along to “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” we were acting out the movie with our stuffed animals.

There’s something very human about Simba’s story that I think anyone can relate to. The guilt Simba carries for his father’s death, his desire but overall inability to fully escape his problems, and his iconic Hakuna Matata attitude are all things that stick with me even now, 15 years later.”

Chloe Sarrazin, Copy Editor

Easy A came out when I was 12, featuring Emma Stone’s iconic wit and spunk. As someone who went through puberty early and was constantly ostracized at my private Christian school for my blasphemous breasts, this movie could not have come out at a better time.

While incredibly hilarious, the film takes an important stance against a patriarchal society that simultaneously expects young women to have sexual experience and shames them for it. The conclusion? A woman’s body is not an object, and her sexual choices are none of your business—a valuable lesson for both young women and men.”

Raechel Huizinga, News Editor

“A childhood movie that definitely shaped who I am today would have to be Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. In the film, two Californian teen boys receive a time machine and use it to help them make a history presentation.

It’s a classic in my house, and although its goofy one-liners are perfect quoting material, it also showed a mini-me that there are a lot of different and innovative ways to learn. It’s a terrible cult-classic 80s film, but fun to watch with friends during a night in.”

Jodie Grieve, Assistant Photo Editor

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