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Adventureland (Greg Mottola, 2009) July 30, 2009

Posted by Richard Bolisay in Hollywood, Music.


Written and directed by Greg Mottola
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds

Adventureland begins on a summer vacation, with James having to deal with the sad truth that his parents cannot afford to send him to graduate school, nor give him the expensive trip to Europe they promised him as graduation gift.  He is forced to find a job, only to find himself in Adventureland, a local amusement park, to take charge of one of its game booths, his lack of work experiences disabling him to find something that pays more. In Adventureland he meets people whom he shares pot and stories with, friends who drive him home, frantic customers who almost knife him on the side and chase him to death, bosses who save his life, and the woman he falls in love with.

Mottola makes telling it so easy. He captures that fearful uncertainty and brooding optimism of transition from adolescence to adulthood. That feeling when you live only for today, when everything happens just because they need to happen, when life sucks because you can’t get everything you want, when going out means looking forward to beautiful things, when all you want to do when you get home is to make a mixtape and give it to your crush the next day, when music is all there is to make you happy, when you feel that every line of your favorite songs speaks to you personally, and when you still can’t see life the way other people see it – – Mottola is high in bringing back those carefree times. He knows it because he’s been in it, and he tells it so honestly he’s like the pal we’ve been with during those years.

Needless to say, the music is the life and soul of this film. Like a bottle of beer it brings you into a state of conscious numbness and accompanies you in crossing that line of memories between yourself and the self that you wanted to be. You relate to it not because you experience exactly the same thing, but one time or another you get to experience that feeling, may you be young or old it doesn’t matter, the feeling of hanging onto something that is not at all certain, but you hang onto it because you believe it is something that you wanted to have. The Replacements, Lou Reed, Falco, David Bowie, The Cure, Husker Du, Yo La Tengo, INXS, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Whitesnake, and that exceptional Crowded House song playing as they gaze at the fireworks, with the beautiful strobe lights and bass beats in motion, everything feels so familiar you could feel your heart skip a beat.



1. Jayclops - September 4, 2009

I dunno but it’s here that Kristen Stewart’s uneasy fidgeting actually works, it’s kind of annoying in the context of Twilight. And Jesse Eisenberg’s restlessness reminds me again of The Squid and the Whale which I sorely miss.

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