You’re By No Means Alone On That Score

A few weeks ago, a good friend and I planned what was supposed to be a classic movie marathon at a local Nashville theater.  Unfortunately, the marathon only turned out to be a back-to-back showing, but our second feature alone was worth the planning process.

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Although marketed as a comedy in the vein of Superbad, Adventureland turned out to be one of the best movies about growing up I’ve seen in several years.  The funny, intelligent, and well-written script mixed with excellent casting made for a great romantic comedy that felt more like a combination of Say Anything and The Graduate than one of Judd Apatow’s latest.  Set in 1987, the heavy use of 80s indie music as a form of added storytelling obviously didn’t hurt either, considering I’ll always welcome The Cure, Replacements, Big Star, or The Outfield to any movie soundtrack.

In Adventureland, Jesse Eisenberg’s character learns that amusement parks aren’t the only place with games rigged for the honest and trusting to always lose.  Upon hire, Eisenberg is deemed a “Games” guy, a group comically reserved to the intellectuals and introverts unworthy of being ride operators.  The main characters running around with “Games Games Games” printed on their chests is the perfect exemplification of Greg Motolla’s well-written, subtle script.

From Squid and the Whale fame, Jesse Eisenberg was spot on for the role of lead character James Brennan.  Riding on the positive vibes from Into the Wild, Kristen Stewart continues to add appeal points after an initial devastating blow from her association with Twilight.  As expected, the interaction between Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig’s characters was priceless and Martin Starr continued to prove his awesomeness originally showcased in Freaks & Geeks.

I was also impressed to see Ryan Reynolds take on a different kind of role than we’ve grown accustomed to seeing him in.  He perfectly captures the duplexity of a character that’s viewed as the coolest guy in town to the younger crowd he works with while a loser to the rest of the “real world.”  In a lesser film, his character would be a portrayed as the bad guy, but instead of taking sides, Adventureland chooses to focus on the richly developed characters’ struggles to get by.

While the movie falls victim of sometimes embodying the inevitable stereotypes associated with every other late teen/twenty-something coming of age relationship movie, Adventureland gets to the heart and deeper underlying truth within those clichés.  Granted, I’m biased considering I fall into the demographic currently experiencing the ups and downs associated with the youthful rites of passage, but regardless, Adventureland should be acknowledged for its ability to restore a piece of humanism to a comedic genre that has lately revolved around trite sophomoric jokes.

All that being said, I still like a good fart joke as much as the next guy.  I can only imagine how pretentious the previous paragraph sounded, so I felt a clarficiation was needed.  Basically, I just want you to go see Adventureland, so please do so as soon as possible.

Switching subjects, I’m also hoping that personal favorite Joseph Gordon-Levitt and sweetheart Zooey Deschanel come through in this summer’s similarly themed 500 Days of Summer.

6 Responses to “You’re By No Means Alone On That Score”

  1. Matty T Says:

    This movie was a pleasant surprise when I caught it with my sweetie one Friday night in New York City. This post was sweet too.

    The best thing about this movie was that it hit the right note of melancholy while still having its best joke be the most sophomoric one (you know which one I am talking about, Mark!).

    Also, it was sweet to see how Martin Starr has grown up (even if he still kinda plays Bill). I really liked his little B story with the girl (and the book, I love books)!

  2. cbgb Says:

    i really want to see this! and 500 days of summer. don’t knock bella swan though…we might not be able to continue this friendship if you keep that twilight bashing up.

  3. walthers2 Says:

    mark i will be your twilight bashing proxy… either that or you can drop the lady and we can bash twilight together 😉 :-# LOLLLLLLLZ

  4. Sanchez Says:

    Solid evaluation on a solid movie. As you noted, the movie…with the theme park as the extended metaphor for the complexity, craziness, and almost joke that a coming-of-age period is…does such a good job of really capturing this time in our lives, a time in which we are riding the fence of romanticism/realism, faith or a losing of it. I myself thought it was very well exemplified between Eisenberg’s choice between Lisa P and Stewart’s character. One girl represented a sweet, sexy simplicity while the other offered a complex, damaged, but beautiful realness. It’s a tough choice to make, but, as Eisenberg’s character sees, it’s one that is worth making.

  5. D-hoe Says:

    …you sold me.

  6. 2009 movies « Gatsby’s Monologue Says:

    […] as mark said earlier this year on his very own blog: In Adventureland, Jesse Eisenberg’s character learns that amusement parks aren’t the only […]

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