Adventureland… games games games games games
Adventureland is a 2009 movie about James Brennan (Jesse Eisenburg), who recently graduated from college and has plans to travel Europe before attending grad school at Columbia in the fall. However his finances fall through and he takes a summer job at dumpy local amusement park called Adventureland. There he meets Em (Kristen Stewart), who saves him from being stabbed over a big-ass stuffed panda. James eventually grows to love Em through a serious of strange and sometimes painful misadventures with their carnival-like workplace as a backdrop.
Mattie: Okay, so I liked this movie, but the weird things is that I liked it exactly as much as I was expecting too, even thought I was expecting a slightly different movie. Sounds weird… But it was neither worse than I was expecting, but also not better than I was expecting. Ultimately, there was nothing surprising about the movie. I suppose that’s not inherently bad, but this movie felt like it needed something. I’m not sure. Parts of it were too melodramatic. (Did my friends and I act like that just after college? Sheesh.) But parts of it were actually kind of endearing: the park owners Bobby (Bill Hader) and Paulette (Kristen Wigg) were simultaneously silly and believable, for example. Or James’ new friend Joel (Martin Starr), who was probably my favorite character in the movie. Also, I was surprised by how good Kristen Stewart was. (Everyone likes to rag on her for Twilight, and I will admit that the second Twilight movie was probably the worst blockbuster movie I’ve ever been dragged to, but I’ve been fairly neutral about Stewart. I’ve just never seen her in anything else, and I wanted to suspend judgement until I saw something with better source material, let’s say.) Jesse Eisenburg was good as well, thought Stewart was better.
Above I mentioned that I was expecting a different movie, and maybe that’s the source of my consternation. For all I knew, this was a comedy. In truth it’s more of a romantic drama. All in all, though, I recommend that you watch it. I give it a 7 out of 10.
Wait… did Kristen Stewart bite her lip?
Mikey: I had the “privilege” of reading Mattie’s wonderful review before adding my own. That being said I think Mattie is absolutely correct about Adventureland but he was nice about it. If you ask me what I thought of the movie in normal conversation I would say “it wasn’t bad.” The problem with this movie is it is forgettable. You don’t get attached to either of the lead characters and all the side characters are way more interesting.
The movie struggled with a weak main story of boy coming of age during his summer job. The reason for this was because there were so many side stories that were more interesting that the viewer is completely on the outside of and most aren’t resolved. Let me list some: James’s dad takes a financial hit at his job (catalyst for most of the movie) then gains an alcohol problem, James drunkenly drives through town ending up passed out in his neighbor’s yard, Em resents her father for his relationship after her mom’s death and we will end with the fact Em is having an affair with a married man. These things aren’t ignored but I expected a lot more from these events.
All that being said, the acting was good overall. I thought most, if not all, the casting was on point. However, that wasn’t enough to make this movie more than a 5 out of 10. Forgettable. Except the shirt. I would totally wear one of those shirts.