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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

ADVENTURELAND Is Something Special

So, your life must be utter shit or you wouldn't be here.

It's two o'clock in the morning. I'm tired and I have a headache. But I had to turn my laptop on and write. I just watched ADVENTURELAND; for the second night in a row. I have no idea what I want to write, I just know that I have to. This is how I know it's a great movie. When you start figuring out clever things to write in your blog midway through a film, then you know it sucks. 

'Adventureland' is about being in your teens or in your early twenties, at that stage when you're trying to figure your life out whilst surviving a bullshit job and falling in and out of love. Pretty much as soon as we love movies about these topics we begin to hate them and look for something more meaningful-- just like in real life. We're young people in dead end jobs for our whole lives but we're only really open and honest about it at the beginning -- at the age the characters in this movie are portraying. We spent the rest of life being grown up, pretending we have it figured out, refusing to dance the dance of emotion and love and lust and pain. We're only reminded of how big a part of ourselves these things are when we see a piece of art like 'Adventureland.'

Don't you just love that movies like this exist? That the guy who directed SUPERBAD (Greg Mottola) can follow it up with something so understated and honest. Who'd have thought? And who'd have believed that the girl from TWILIGHT would follow it up with something like this? While we're on the subject, it's important to say: Kristen Stewart is amazing. Everyone seems to hate her now because she's in these big blockbusters and because she doesn't smile and act like a whore every time her agent forces her onto television to do promotion or every time a group of journalists interrupt her holiday abroad to see if she's still with her boyfriend. We seem to hate her for the fact that she just likes to act, just likes to do her job. But she's something special. She's great in INTO THE WILD and IN THE LAND OF THE WOMEN and she does a solid job in TWILIGHT, but it's in films like this one where you really get to see what she's capable of. And what is it she's capable of? Honesty. Subtlety. Humanity. I can't help but watch her and feel like I know her. Or feel like I knew her, like we went to school together. She knows what acting is, she knows what her job is; and she does it with a grace and skill that is rare.

But then, so does Jesse Eisenberg. What I love about him on screen, whether it's in 'Adventureland' or THE SOCIAL NETWORK is that he just knows how to be himself. And of course, actors get criticised for 'always being themselves' but people don't realize how tough that is. Most actors spend their whole careers trying to be someone else because they haven't got a clue how to be themselves. These guys know how to do it and the results are incredible. Watching Eisenberg and Stewart in this movie; we get to really see the characters, we get to really feel something real; and as a result, we get to see ourselves.

You might think you're watching a bunch of young people working at a theme park but what you're really seeing is yourself back when you worked in that store, or at that leisure center or at that bowling alley or wherever the hell it was back when you kept falling in and out of love whilst trying to figure out what the hell you were going to do with your life. This is a movie about you and it's a movie about me. It's a film that dares to be honest and dares to be small.

They struggled to market this movie. It had the 'elements' like the big actors and the hotshot writer/director -- but there was a problem: it had a story, and it had heart. How the fuck do you market something like that? The problem is, you can't. You can't market heart. If a good heart was an easy sell then all the lonely people on dating sites tonight would be out there falling in love. But it's not that easy. Good heart doesn't sell well. It's hard to recognize, and people will misunderstand it and people won't be expecting it. You have to just do it, be it, create it. Heart will find its way eventually. Films like 'Adventureland' sneak up on you when you don't expect it. They are disguised as typical studio comedies and they're generally thrown out in cinemas and swiftly dumped because no-one really knows they exist or they know they exist but have been sold some bullshit by a trailer that made the movie seem like some contrived, typical junk.

But 'Adventureland' exists. And it's a little slice of magic.Thank you, Greg Mottola.

Wait, Em -- I think, I maybe see you a little differently than-than you see yourself. Yes, I-I see the person who fucked up but I.. I also see the person who saved me from being knifed over a giant-ass-panda.

Care to share?


  1. I enjoyed this film. It's sweet. Interested to see what Mottola makes of Pegg and Frost in "Paul".

  2. I LOVE this post. I remember seeing "Adventureland" in theaters, and I was moved and entertained by it, but it kind of fell by the wayside by the year's end. But I have since rewatched the film three or four times, and it is hands down one of the best romantic comedies I've seen in years. Eisenberg and Stewart are so well-matched, and that scene you highlighted in the rain is just beautiful.

  3. By the way, Stewart is awesome in "The Runaways" if you have a chance to check it out. I can only offer a slight recommendation of the film overall, but her performance is electric.

  4. Kristen Stewart, I don't like too much. I'm yet to see a performance of hers that has made me change that opinion. One of her problems is that she does the same thing in all her performances - the messy hair, her refusal to look you in the eye, the kind of stammered speech... same thing, every film.

    Adventureland as a film, apart from that, is great. I loved watching it. It's a slice of life from a land far, far away and more than anything else, I'm glad that it's told in a way that I can see it for what it is - life.

  5. I agree that you see yourself when you watch this movie. And it's one thing I liked about Kristen Stewart's performance - I had an experience very similar to hers, being the "secret girlfriend" - and I thought she expressed the pain of that situation perfectly.

  6. I love Adventureland, this is an awesome post!

    I really didn't like Kristen in Twilight, but she actually really excelled my expectations in this. One of my favourite movies :)

  7. You know, I also watched this movie on-demand awhile back...and then watched it again the next night. I think one of the things that makes it great is that it has that 80's tone to it...yet it's not necessarily set in 1985. Just a good all around movie.

    And I actually really liked Kristen Stewart in the film.

  8. I have this waiting at home and nearly watched it the last 2 nights. Sounds exactly like the stories I love. But for me deep down it's only ever about the people and the relationships, however they get dressed up and displayed.
    Now I'm not sure whether to sort it out and get watching, or go to the Camden NaNoWriMo meet....!

  9. I'm with JP and Milly and the other guys above - Adventureland is a very good piece of work. I enjoyed Ryan Reynolds' performance too.

  10. You guys have no idea how happy it makes me to see that you all love this movie too. Seems we are not alone -- I have been reading many other reviews-- this film REALLY is something SPECIAL. Wow. This movie reminds me of how much I friggin' LOVE movies!

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  12. I just saw it some days ago and liked it, too. Didn't love it but liked it. Especially that it was set in the 80ies where everything was still great. Okay, I was under 10 in this decade. This is exactly WHY it was great ;)
    Kristen, Kirsten or what is her name was a good fit for the part, I think. Haven't seen a lot of movies with her but she can really play the troubled girl that has few smiles left for the world. Never saw Twilight and never will, so I can like that girl a while...

  13. Agreeing with what Dan Man said, Ryan Reynolds was excellent, and someone I really rate as an actor. Having said that, the whole ensemble on the movie are excellent!

  14. I knew there would be someone besides me who found there to just be something more to this movie. Every single person I know who has seen it says it's either bad or ok and theres not much too it. Im 17 now and have been watching the movie for two years and it only gets more and more relatable every time I watch it. And this I think is the kind of movie you have to watch by yourself too to really take it all in. And it just feels good to be able to say something like that and not sound like I'm trying to overpraise/overanalyze it. Because unless you are in that sweet spot age group you mentioned you will really not be able to appreciate it in my opinion. If only there were more movies with such hidden beauty such as this...

  15. This is one of my favorite movies and one of the reasons why I insist Kristen Stewart is talented (despite the awfulness that is Twilight).

    I can't explain it, but there's something that this movie does to me. I was born in 1985, so I don't relate to the 80's atmosphere, but I relate to graduating college and not knowing what I want to do. I relate to the 15-29 young love that makes your heart go all giddy.