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New Amusement Park Movie: "Adventureland"


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Adventureland was an excuse for the director and scriptwriter to spend millions of dollars to drop mid 80s post-punk names and talk about russian novelists. Way, way too much navel gazing as replacement for character development. The characters themselves are totally unlikeable. The female lead character feels totally inauthentic and for all the attempts to try and establish her as being wildly complex, comes across as shallow and equally superficial to the percieved villains of the film (who, in the case of the Musik Express operators, actually do the right things). Plus, there's some weird catholics-as-antisemite thing thrown in for no reason and lots of dudes being punched in the balls as replacement for jokes. The kind of thing self important freelancers for Rolling Stone and Village Voice would love and pretty much no one else.

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^ Yup. 100% agree with that. Granted, I *did* actually know a stupid kid that worked at a park that went around punching people in the balls for a laugh, it felt like it was shoehorned in whenever "quick, we've been serious for too long...lets drop a punch in the balls gag to get the audience laughing again."

 

And I agree with you about the characters being unlikeable. I didn't hate them, but I felt no compassion for them either.

 

Actually, my favorite character in the movie probably was Joel (and even he was kind of pathetic). When he says "Well, we are doing the work of lazy, pathetic morons" it sounded *just* like a guy I used to work with at Chuck E. Cheese. And the dude even had the longer hair and the slow monotone voice and everything.

 

I'm guessing they played down the theme park setting because they didn't think the general audience would relate. I still enjoyed the movie though.

I dunno, though. I have to think there have been a *LOT* of people who have spent a summer working at their local amusement park.

 

Just think about it - there are a LOT of amusement parks out there, both big and small (and even a FEC would count, IMO) and they require quite a few 'coming of age' people to work there.

 

For example, I'd be willing to bet that a GOOD majority of people who grew up here in the Santa Clarita Valley probably worked at Magic Mountain at some point in their lives!

 

Mine was "god damn, that was some fun, FUN times!..but some of the people really know how to suck that fun out and treat you like poo-poo"

Oh, it was just like that working at Disneyland also, but for me when I look back on it (remember it's been about 15 years for me since I worked day-to-day at a park) what sticks out in my mind was the silly, immature fun.

 

--Robb

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As for not enough ride footage...the main characters of the movie were games employees, why would they show more ride employees and ride footage when they are just secondary people?

 

Perhaps to add some action and energy into a film that was otherwise slow and tiresome.

 

I think that games v. rides split might be a real thing, but whomever thinks you should put the dorks in games has it backwards. Sweden has this one figured out.

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TL:DR ALERT

 

RE: the park at thematic - I think it was intentionally kept to the side. If anything, its a negative portrayal of working at a park. The main characters never seem to accept why they are working there. There's a general intonation that they are "better" than working there in spite of really offering no other reason than that they could roll spliffs and talk about how much they loved Velvet Underground and Nabokov. The other employees are all idiots or poseurs attempting to be like them (who says they jammed with Lou Reed to sound cool?). Working games is presented as amoral, like as if operating the ring toss is as inherently evil as skinning dogs or something. He dismissively departs at the end of the film to escape this life (which he is naturally better than) to go to NYC, live in a cruddy apartment/the YMCA with "that chick" (those who know know that character is an archetype and what happens when you date her), and bus tables or something that I guess is more socially acceptable for someone who writes bad poetry.

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I felt it was somewhat like a train wreck, you really shouldn't watch, but you have to finish it to see what happens. I spent the summer of 93 at CP, and pretty much had a blast. Fresh out of high school and met some really cool people that I would never have met staying at home. Relating to some of the things that happened in the movie was pretty obvious, and it brought back some good memories.

 

I seem to want to believe that they were shooting for some sort of rehash of the late 80's teen flicks like Breakfast Club and whatnot. Trying to bring back that feel and look that deep down you know you all still want to be like!!!

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I was pretty apathetic about the whole movie. I didn't like any of the characters and grew generally tired of the whole thing pretty quickly. I wouldn't say it was awful but I probably wouldn't watch it again.

 

As far as relating to it as a former employee at a park, I didn't get that very much at all. I felt their depiction was really far off from reality in a lot of ways.

 

Its been a while since I've seen it so I can't really comment too much on specifics since I don't remember them...

 

Edit: one thing I do remember not sitting right with me was the age of the employees. I felt like they just tacked on their age being over 21 so they could show them going to bars and drinking and what not. No one over 21, let alone with a college degree, would be working games at an amusement park... It would have probably felt more realistic to me if the main character was just getting ready to attend undergrad school and they were in high school or just getting out of high school.

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The mistake here was in the marketing-- the director Greg Mottola always intended it to be a small, bittersweet coming-of-age movie, whereas the studio made it seem like it was going to be a Superbad-esque comedy in an amusement park. I can see why some people were disappointed and/or confused. When I saw it in the theater, people were actually complaining as they walked out. They wanted "McLovin" and instead they got Kristen Stewart moping about her stepmother.

 

I thought it was refreshing to see something smart and quiet that was definitely NOT aiming for a mainstream comedy audience. That was a bold move for a big, studio movie by a "hot" director. It's very hard to get a movie like Adventureland made, so I admire Mottola for sticking to his guns and doing something deeply personal.

 

P.S. I love this movie, but that's besides the point!

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I watched the movie twice on my flight back from the US.

 

I think the main problem I had with the movie was the way it was marketed. It was advertised as"Superbad in an amusement park". What we got was something totally different.

I liked what Greg Mottola did with Superbad, but this seemed a bit off. I can't decide if I liked the movie or not. The first time I watched it, I hated it. The second time I watched it, I enjoyed it more, but still didn't quite... get it. I mean, I haven't worked in an amusement park before, but I've never worked in a convenience store either and I loved Clerks.

 

I guess the director didn't realise that if he names his movie after a theme park, people are going to go in to the cinema expecting to see some theme park.

 

EDIT: Crap, didn't read the thread all the way through and just realised I ripped off what DCody said word-for-word Oh well, it's true.

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Edit: one thing I do remember not sitting right with me was the age of the employees. I felt like they just tacked on their age being over 21 so they could show them going to bars and drinking and what not.

I felt the same way. If it wasn't for them drinking it seemed like they could have all been 17 years old the way the parents were "scolding them."

 

I noticed this more the second time I watched the film and for some reason I had forgotten that whole opening scene where they had just graduated college and it had seemed like they had just graduated high school.

 

I mean, so many high school comedies have drinking in it so the characters drinking hadn't even dawned on me that they were over 21.

 

I can't decide if I liked the movie or not.

This is honestly where I'm at with it. It frustrates me because there are many moments where it's *so close* to what working in a park is really like, but then it just misses the mark by and veers off in a totally other direction.

 

I wanted so badly to finish watching that movie and be able to tell someone "Yup, that's pretty much what it was like", but I can't, at least not really.

 

I guess the director didn't realise that if he names his movie after a theme park, people are going to go in to the cinema expecting to see some theme park.

 

See and for me, I wasn't really expecting to "see" theme park, but I was expecting to "feel" theme park. I will say though, that whole scene with the corn dogs and they were smelling that....that EXACT same thing happened to me with a box of should-be frozen Super Pretzels!

 

 

Thanks for the insight Dcody. I was kind of hoping to hear your thoughts!

 

--Robb "I really, REALLY wanted to like this movie more..." Alvey

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I was certainly expecting a full on teen comedy at an Amusement Park, but I liked it after I adjusted my expectations. It was nice to see something a original and a bit more real life.

 

It was the kind of film where straight after seeing it I was a little disappointed (no POV's for crying out loud) but on reflection I started to appreciate it.

 

BTW Bill Hader rocks!

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^Are the two movies not connected in any way? For some reason (I guess their names/the main actor) I was thinking that Zombieland will play off of Adventureland...is this not the case?

 

I loved this movie. I really felt for Kristen Stewart...until I found out she was a whore...and Bill Hader and the girl who played Lisa P were hilarious.

 

Plus, how funny was that scene where they started using eye patches instead of googly-eyes for the bananas?

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Anyone else think it's kind of weird that Jesse Eisenberg is one of the leads in another amusement park themed movie this year?

 

He's one of the main actors in Zombieland.

 

--Robb

 

Now THAT'S a movie I'm looking forward to. I'd pay ten bucks to see a Huss Giant Frisbee take out some zombies anyday.

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The mistake here was in the marketing-- the director Greg Mottola always intended it to be a small, bittersweet coming-of-age movie, whereas the studio made it seem like it was going to be a Superbad-esque comedy in an amusement park. I can see why some people were disappointed and/or confused. When I saw it in the theater, people were actually complaining as they walked out. They wanted "McLovin" and instead they got Kristen Stewart moping about her stepmother.

 

Yep, this is exactly what happened with me. Total bait and switch action.

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I too was expecting more amusement park "in jokes" and views of the rides, etc.

 

But taken on its own terms, the movie was quite good. I can totally see the comparison to "Nick and Nora", which I also though was quite good.

 

I say "kudos" to directors like Mottola and Peter Sollett and Jason Reitman for making really smart teen/early 20-something comedies.

 

As a teacher who works with people in roughly this age group, these films show that not all young people are idiots who do nothing but play X-Box, listen to pointless music, watch Flavor of Love, and can't find Canada on a map.

 

"Adventureland", for an old fart like me, was very rewarding....

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Despite the decieving ad campaign, I actually thought that the film was pretty good. It felt a little slow and unfunny at times, but over time I grew to like the characters. It wasn't Superbad, but it didn't have to be.

 

Overall: 9.5/10

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Anyone else think it's kind of weird that Jesse Eisenberg is one of the leads in another amusement park themed movie this year?

 

He's one of the main actors in Zombieland.

 

--Robb

 

Now THAT'S a movie I'm looking forward to. I'd pay ten bucks to see a Huss Giant Frisbee take out some zombies anyday.

 

The only theme park scene I've seen in the commercials is a guy shooting zombies with a shotgun while on a Wild Mouse. Still, pretty awesome.

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Just watched it, and I loved it. I knew going in it wouldn't be a raucous comedy like Superbad, so there was no disappointment there. I think I appreciated it all the more since I just visited Kennywood for the first time last year. Stepping foot into that park really is like stepping into a time machine, and it was a perfect setting for the movie.

 

I have a soft spot for teen-angst (or in this age, post-collegiate angst) movies, and I thought Adventureland hit all the right notes. Mottola's script touched on all the insecurities and vulnerabilities of youth, and Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart projected those feelings perfectly.

 

And Bill Hader is frickin' hilarious.

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