Friday 29 October 2010


On Tuesday I saw ADVENTURELAND for the first time. On Wednesday I blogged about it. Now it's a few days later and I'm still thinking about the movie, it's still playing in my mind and unravelling in my thoughts. There are songs in the movie that I love that I haven't heard in years, like "Unsatisfied" by The Replacements, but there are also songs like "Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House; a song that I always found annoying. But now I've heard it from a new perspective, filtered through the eyes of 'Adventureland' and now I can't get enough of it.

There is something no screenwriter or director can be taught. It's how to create something that will have the effect that 'Adventureland' is having on me right now. There's no formula for it. And, no doubt, there are people who will think this film sucks, and rightly so-- I'm not saying it's one of the greatest films ever, but maybe it is for me. The films I have been claiming to love recently are THE SOCIAL NETWORK and THE PUFFY CHAIR -- two very different movies, both great in their own way. But, when I think about it, they're just good movies. Very good movies. But they didn't connect with me in the way 'Adventureland' did.

But why? What is it? Is it because the film was set in my formative years? Is it because I can relate to the problems of the characters? Is it because I want the type of connection that Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart share in the movie? Or is it just because Greg Mottola and his team did such a great job and creating a world I could believe in and get sucked into for two hours?

I have no idea. If I was a film student, maybe I'd have an answer (they always do) - or perhaps if I was a more analytical blogger I'd be able to come up with some theory. But I don't have that, and luckily; I don't want that. I'm happy having this feeling-- a feeling where I'm watching every interview with the cast and crew I can find, and I'm listening to the soundtrack non-stop, and I'm telling every person I know to watch it, and I'm ordering multiple copies of the DVD and I'm going over memories of the movie in my head.

This is exactly WHY I love movies, and it's great to feel it again. As much as the reason I love movies is to get this feeling, the sad fact is that --- it's extremely RARE. But right now, before I ruin it by watching the film thirty times over, it's truly magic; and I am aware again of the awesome power of the cinema. It gets to have this effect, on people. That's something to strive for, someone to hope for; and that's something to be excited about.

Care to share?


  1. Wow, you do seem to be totally smitten on this. I watched it after your recommendation and I will say that I enjoyed it but it didn't have the same profound effect on me as it did you. I'm just too young to remember the 80s.

    Although, the effect you're describing reminds of the one I had with the characters in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which is being made into a movie. It's quite similar. Coming of age, set in the 80s, not much for people to do apart from drink and do drugs, boy meets girl and all the awkwardness that goes with it ensues.

    What effect do you think this movie would have had you if you had watched it as a teenager? Do you think it would be different?

    1. I saw it and was sad. That was my era, I being 20 in 1986. And I was cross between the preppy annoying buffoon (not as arrogant) and one of those losers on the sidelines (guy with the glasses), totally not having my act together in this way. And I missed my era's Kristen Stewart(s) but for a little guidance along the way.

      It was a great movie. Free on Netflix if you have an account.

  2. "What effect do you think this movie would have had you if you had watched it as a teenager? Do you think it would be different?" - fascinating question, I have no idea. Likewise, I was very young in the eighties, I don't think it's that era, specifically, that draws me in -- it's something more about that universal experience of, at some point, being young and confused and messed up -- I always dig that stuff. For me, that thing of being 17, or 21, of what that feels like, and what those relationships feel like, it's never as strong as you get older, you become more numb I think. Adventureland, for me, captures what it was to be in that experience.

  3. I agree - Adventureland was very enjoyable but also had a little depth without being too self-serving, and an excellent 80's soundtrack - better than most of the generic tracks usually used in such period pieces.

    I think i'm preferring Greg Mottola to the likes of Judd Apatow. Whilst Apatow can create very funny individual scenes, Mottola seems to have a better grasp of overall atmosphere within his films. I'm intrigued to see how his future pans out - I hope he doesn't get eaten up by dreaded system haha

  4. Next you have to watch Zombieland. It is almost like a sequel but with zombies ;)
    No, not really. I found Adventureland far more enjoyable than Zombieland.

    And it did for me one thing that no movie could achieve in years. It made me crack up big time. Everytimme Bobby and his wife appeared... it was hilarious :D

    And yes, the music. I personally love 80ies music. Not because it is great music per se, but because it is the music of the time were there was nothing to fear and nothing to care about and just live the life of a child. And you think everything had to be better in those times. But young adults had the same problems then, too. You just didn't realize it. And in the end of a movie like this I wonder "was it really a better life in those days?" because my parents say it was. And my older cousin says it was. (The seventies ought to be even better ;) Is it just that Adventureland was made from the perspective of the recent decade but set in the eighties...? The movie makes you think about things and so I agree, it is a good movie and I would definitely rewatch it.

  5. Last film that did that to me, couple of months ago, Bronson. Stayed with me for days. And dug into research, to get everything I could, on the process of making the film, the talent involved, the real guy, was all fascinating. And wow, Tom Hardy, bloody brilliant in role.

    Another one that totally immersed me, Survive Style 5+ (entirely unexpected, well worth seeing), stayed with me for a good long while.

    Can't wait to see Adventureland.

  6. I did a lot of similar things after I watched this film for the second time - I added plenty of the music to my iTunes library and I searched YouTube as much as I could for interviews with Eisenberg, Stewart, and company.

  7. Ok, it took two posts but now I'm going to watch it. A two-post film is worth a watch.

  8. I had the same type of effect happen to me after watching this. Particularly this movie made me appreciate Kristen Stewart and what she is able to bring to a character.

    I think she does a great job of capturing the essence of what I remember the ages of 19-21 being like as a girl. Those are the times in my life I grew most. And are most vivid. I think that's why I appreciate and connect with movies like Adventureland. To me, that age bracket has kind of a magic to it, because as tough as it was, there were so many new experiences that made life seem dramatic and whimsical.