Monday, November 9, 2015

Adventureland (2009)

Number Rolled: 94
Movie Name/Year: Adventureland (2009)
Tagline: Long hours. Low pay. High times.
Genre: Romance
Length: 106 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Miramax, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, This Is That Productions
Executive Producer: William Horberg, Bruce Toll
Director: Greg Mottola
Writer: Greg Mottola
Actors: Jesse Eisenberg, Kelsey Ford, Michael Zegen, Ryan McFarland, Jack Gilpin, Wendie Malick, Matt Bush, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Martin Starr, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Margarita Levieva, Josh Pais, Mary Birdsong

James is used to not having to worry about money. When his father is demoted, however, he’s forced to put aside his hopes for a European vacation and an ivy league college and take up a job at a theme park.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’m a fan of Ryan Reynolds (Self/less, R.I.P.D., Green Lantern), so I’ve been interested in Adventureland for a while. To be honest, I also wanted to see how Kristen Stewart (American Ultra, Camp X-Ray, Still Alice) would do in a movie that wasn’t a crapfest of sparkly vampires. I really haven’t seen much of her in other parts, so I’m curious.

To be honest, I don’t think this was Reynold’s best work. His performance was a little flat. That could be what was called for in order to portray his character well, but he came off as boring to me.

Stewart, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise. She wasn’t bad and it makes me wonder if she got her reputation for being so emotionless because she had to be to pull off the vapid and depthless character of Bella. She’s not the most amazing actress to ever grace the silver screen, but I don’t think she deserves the hate that she gets. In the case of any actor involved in the Twilight series: blame the writer, not the actor.

The movie was weird. Not a bad weird, just weird. I think that’s the general effect of starring Jesse Eisenberg (American Ultra, Now You See Me, The Social Network). He’s got the most spectacularly punchable face and he pulls off super awkward more than any other actor except, maybe, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass, Neighbors, Fright Night).

I think the real issue, is that you have to be into movies like this to really enjoy Adventureland. It’s not exactly a movie for people just dipping their toe into the genre. It’s very geared toward teenage romance with just a little drama. I tend to prefer movies that involve a lot of anticipation and that make my heart jump. I’ve seen some romances that could do it, but not this one.

It wasn’t bad, and I’d even recommend it to some people. It’s just not for everyone.

Cat’s Point of View:
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this film. I’m not the biggest fan of Jesse Eisenberg (The Hunting Party, Rio, Night Moves). I do enjoy a handful of his movies, though. I was hoping that this movie might have comedy on par with his performance in Zombieland (2009).

Then, take into consideration Kristen Stewart (Into the Wild, Jumper, The Runaways). She is excellent in portraying morose and flustered. Her performance in the movies she is most noted for is rather one-note on that level.

Further, what was up with Ryan Reynolds (Safe House, The Croods, Woman in Gold) and the last mention in the opening credits? I digress. That really doesn’t have any bearing on the film, itself, after all.

Survey says? I bought what this movie was selling 106 minutes of nostalgia. This flick took me back to a time when we had a small amusement park in town when I was growing up. Sadly, it closed in the 90’s after a tornado literally bent the Ferris wheel in half.

Can we also talk about Em’s car??? It was a Pacer, of all things. The first car I remember my parents owning was a silver Pacer. For unrelated extra credit – can you name other movies that little bubble car has appeared in?

I must give kudos to the music department for this movie. The soundtrack selection was well timed within the film, and was a crazy eclectic mix. There were 41 songs from the 1980’s packed into this film. The Cure made an appearance, in addition to David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Judas Priest, Whitesnake, and the Replacements – just to name a few. See if you can catch all the Easter eggs involving The Velvet Underground.

Sonic landscape aside, the movie was relatable. I liked the performances by Eisenberg and Stewart more than I thought I would. Their connection was there, and I didn’t feel like I was watching automatons.

Brace yourself for the bad pun – I enjoyed the emotional roller-coaster. It wasn’t a huge one that had me crying or clutching my chest or anything, but I did feel something.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 60%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

P.S. There’s a commercial for the Adventureland theme park seen in the movie near the middle of the credits. There are also some very familiar names in the “Special Thanks” portion.

Movie Trailer:

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