Writer/Dir: Greg Mottola (Superbad)
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader, Martin Starr, Kristen Wiig
Seen: April 5, 2009 at the AMC Yonge & Dundas
Reason to see: Couldn't resist the possible connection to the experience, plus I loved Freaks & Geeks
I have to admit this wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The trailer gave the impression it would be lots laughs and considering it being set in the summer 1987 there is bound to be nostalgia goodness as well as general summer fun. Even though technically all those things are there to some degree, overall it made up a completely different film - and honestly I say that is for the better because it makes it feel so real.
Adventureland is a heartfelt story of a summer at a theme park. Long days and longer nights of people thrown together who bond through the experience that only a crappy job can give you. They are people that you may or may not like, but there is something about that experience that makes the relationships unique. Our protagonist James Brennan played by Jesse Eisenberg is the new kid on the games block who is thrown into the mix of seasoned theme park staff learning the ropes of park life, a funny skew on customer service and of course learning about life love and friendship.
Although I had issues with some of the choices, like college grads working at theme parks and a soundtrack with Animotion ("You are my obsession, my one obsession...") alongside The Replacements and Hüsker Dü, I am completely aware that those are very specific to me. I worked at a theme park when I was much younger than the characters in the film and the music reflected very different times in my life. Even so, the earnestness of the film strives through. The music always matched the moment and the characters were always real. This is a true testimonial to the cast whom really hit their marks especially Jesse Eisenberg as the earnest James, Ryan Reynolds as the too-old-to-still-be-working-there but 'cool' guy and Kristen Stewart as Em. I never doubted an action, reaction or reflex - be they good or bad choices you know they have, can and will continue to happen.
One of the coolest things about the film is it did get me nostalgic and thinking about music. I dug through my cassette (yes, you read that right) tapes to find the one my brother made me the summer I worked at a theme park. That was a little later, and the music a lot heavier. It included:
War Ensemble - Slayer
Thunderkiss '65 - White Zombie
Grey Diamond Desert - Screaming Trees
Makes No Sense At All - Hüsker Dü
Tail lights Fade - Buffalo Tom
1,000 Miles Away - Hoodoo Gurus was the song that played when I was on the ferry and I can literally feel the rumble of engines where I hear that song
Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it as coming of age film
13 minutes of preshow including 4 commercial and 4 previews: Crank 2: High Voltage (during which the peanut gallery said "Wasn't that the same as Crank 1?", The Proposal, Funny People, Terminator Salvation and 17 Again
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© Shannon Ridler, 2009