Arts and Lifestyle

Students release third movie in ‘La Zesta’ series

Seniors Silas Stewart, Cooper Stewart, Ty Corley, and Nick Barrett have created a four-part movie series known as La Zesta. The first two movies were made for Spanish projects four years ago and one year ago, respectively, and the third and fourth were made for Moviemaking this year. In this piece, CoA reviews the third installment. Photo courtesy of Silas Stewart.

By Sam Fortenbaugh

La Zesta 3 is part of a Menlo student affiliated movie franchise. The first two La Zesta movies were created for a Menlo Middle School Spanish class. The third is the first to be made in English. La Zesta 3 has an extensive plot that keeps the viewers alert.

If you are not familiar with the first two La Zesta movies, then the third might be a little confusing because it recalls the plot from the first two movies. The movie features many intense gun shootouts as the protagonists chase the evil zesta dealers. The weapons mainly consist of assault rifles and even a blue smoke grenade. The actors consist of senior boys who play a variety of classic drug bust roles. Zestas, a classic saltine cracker, are portrayed as a drug in the movies that has taken over the streets.

Seniors Cooper Stewart, Ty Corley and David Schmaier, who are ZEA (Zesta Enforcement Agency) agents, try to take down Nick Barrett and the zestas to keep the streets safe. They encounter many obstacles on their chase, but I will not spoil the plot. In addition, the actors’ costumes are similar to those of any classic drug bust movie. The variety of shots and dramatic music keeps the viewers intrigued.

My one criticism is that the plot is complicated for those who have not watched the first two movies, but then what movie franchise is easy to understand if you do not watch the first two movies. The movie looks very pristine except for the gunshot effects which looked a little cheesy.

“While the plot is complicated and many outsiders may complain about it, many fans of the series are able to acknowledge that the script and storyline takes time and effort to create,” senior lead-actor Cooper Stewart said.

Editor's Note 1: The original post of this article included a cover picture of senior Silas Stewart holding an Airsoft gun. This photo was removed on March 16 and replaced with the current cover picture. 

Editor's Note 2: Two comments written by Menlo teachers were removed per their request on March 26. Some of the current comments were written in response to those teacher comments.


  • Ms. Jensen, this is not the school website. This is the Coat of Arms website. You are clearly triggered by the sight of guns, so it is going to be hard to reason with you. The title of the article clearly says that this page is about a movie made by Menlo students which has nothing to do with recent school shootings. You might want to brush up on your reading comprehension skills, and consider that not everyone who owns a gun (or even just a gun replica in this case!) is in support of killing innocent children like your comment suggests. You cannot censor student journalism just because your partisan liberal ideology demands it. The suggestion that we should get rid of all pictures of guns from our media just because the sight of guns makes you feel uncomfortable is a completely ludicrous argument.

  • I’m surprised by the tone of the anonymous comments here, though I think it’s pretty typical of anonymous comments in general. So, two thoughts. First, I too take issue with the original photo, not because I am “triggered” (I’ve gone target shooting) but because I think the photo was chosen to provoke instead of to simply inform, which is not good journalism. At a minimum it was tone deaf. The current photo is a vast improvement. Second, allowing anonymous posts encourages bad behavior online. Responsible conversation happens between people who are willing to be transparent and stand up for their opinions. So, anonymous posters, come to the library and let’s talk!

  • I’m just going to chime in here. Hi, I’m a director, actor, and writer in the La Zesta series as well as a loyal staff member on the Coat of Arms. To start, the La Zesta series is simply a parody of modern action and crime related shows/movies. Secondly, I was the one who gave the photo to the Coat of Arms to post on the article. However, my intention was never to “provoke.” My intention was to get a good still frame shot of the main heroes in their gear, which included their weapons. In fact, the old photo was indeed good journalism because it indicates to the audience that the movie is an action movie and also gave the audience a solid understanding of the heroes and the actors that play them. In my opinion, the new photo lacks the resolution that the old one had and an inclusion of all the heroes’ faces. I’m just dispirited that our own faculty would jump to such an outrageous conclusion and argue that the Coat of Arms chose the photo in order to provoke readers. And while I do agree with you that people should avoid commenting anonymously, I completely disagree that the original photo’s purpose was to induce controversy. I am also further disgusted with an earlier comment made by a Menlo teacher regarding this image. This teacher claimed to wonder if he should fear for the “safety of our own school” because of this photo if I recall correctly. However, I will highly recommend that people actually read the article. It is abundantly clear that the movie is simply a long-time tradition between four friends (if you actually take time to read the caption on the photo). The series started in middle school, and we have simply kept on making more of the corny movies simply because it is a fun activity. In this case, I see the same issue that is soiling the name of La Zesta: damaging and gross assumptions. Do people really think that posting a picture of seniors with airsoft guns on an article that explains that the photo is from a Menlo-made satirical film could signal a threat to our local community? If the general consensus is yes, then I am disappointed at where Menlo has come to and frightened for the incoming rounds of students. Thank you to these teachers for shining a negative light on a movie that I took pride in making and for turning a movie that was a fun, ongoing tradition between friends and me into a monstrosity in Menlo’s public eye. So please, in the future, I encourage all Menlo students and faculty alike to refrain from assuming the worst in fellow Menlo attendees and most importantly, think before you act.

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