Posts Tagged Film
Normally, I wouldn’t publish movie reviews, but director, Greg Mottola’s new Adventureland is worth mention.
Though the film is set in 1987, many elements feel representative of the present. For example, new college graduate, James Brennan (played by Jesse Eisenberg) moves back home to Pittsburgh, where his Comparative Literature degree only earns him a summer job at Adventureland carnival. Along with working alongside his childhood nemesis, Tommy Frigo (played by Matt Bush) who still hasn’t grown up, James meets and falls in love with Em (played by Kristen Stewart), a troubled-but-deep college student who is coping with the recent death of her mother and her father’s immediate re-marriage. She works at Adventureland to avoid her dad and vacuous stepmother, so when she isn’t working evenings, she is having sex with the much older married maintenance man played by Ryan Reynolds.
Like most “B” movies, Adventureland has a strong start and weak ending, but most viewers will be satisfied nonetheless. The film is based on Mottola’s own experience working at an amusement park one summer, and perhaps that’s why the movie feels so authentic and honest. Critics all around agree. Anyone who has ever worked a thankless minimum wage job will feel James’s frustration over the little things that ruin his work shifts. He complains about the amusement park playing Falco’s goofy hit, “Rock Me Amadeus” on repeat all day, and by the end of the movie, the audience also feels nauseated by the otherwise catchy song.
The film speaks true to the 80′s plotline. It plays the best and the obscure of 80′s music, which works well with the carnival ride scenes. The characters smoke a lot of joints and get stoned on the job, and the late 1970′s housing architecture may remind you of the first home you were raised in, if you are a product of the 1980′s. There’s also some slight antisemitism going on. The young college-aged characters aren’t as extravagant with money as twenty somethings are today. James is working to pay for his Columbia Graduate School tuition because his parents cannot fund his Master’s degree in Journalism. They would rather he live at home and go to a third tier university, which he will still have to pay for on his own.
There are a lot of little details that make this a good movie. Eisenberg (who playes James) is a more attractive, cooler, and less awkward version of Superbad’s Michael Cera. They have the same quirky humor and manner of speaking, but James’s character is cute enough to be tempted his seductive co-worker, Lisa P. (played by Margarita Levieva), who all the Adventureland employees want to sleep with. James still prefers Em, who likes him back, but isn’t quite emotionally ready for his love confessions. James and Em have opposite views on sex and love. James will not lose his virginity until he falls in love, and Em, who has slept with numerous men, has never been in love. Audience members watch these two change their ways.
Eisenberg plays the main character, but Kristen Stewart is the most interesting person in the film. At present, she’s my favorite teen actress because she isn’t obnoxiously outgoing and vapid in movies. Her role in Adventureland is full of anger and bottled resentment, and it comes through in her vulnerable scenes. She’s the only character to cry on multiple occasions. An avid reader, James is drawn to Em’s maturity, and he is fascinated by her endless emotional depth.
As I said earlier, the ending still needs work. Everything falls apart at the climax, and once you see it, you’ll understand why nothing after that point can really be fixed. I’ll say that there’s a happy ending, which serves no other purpose than to please teenage girls. In the last half hour, the summer is coming to an end, and you lose the will to continue caring about the fate of the characters because it’s time for them to face reality and quit their seasonal jobs.
Anyone who has had a summer romance knows that you can’t hold onto the relationship come mid-August when it’s time to go back to school. Sometimes, the best part of a summer romance, such as the one in Adventureland, is when everything is fresh and thrilling at the start and middle of the summer, and a syrupy sweet fireworks scene with Em and James at the carnival’s Fourth of July celebration exemplifies summer romance at its best, most memorable moment.
In that sense, Adventureland is a metaphor for summer love. The first 2/3 of the film are strong, but everything from the plot to the characters crumble in the last twenty minutes, just as summer romances aren’t meant to last beyond late July.
If case you’re sick of all the shallow news at Perez Hilton, read my bi-monthly take on celebrities because I only report on their psychological/social problems.
Judging by her harsh words, Gwyneth Paltrow would probably disagree with my blog questioning Joaquin Phoenix’s sanity. It looks as if Paltrow has no sympathy for Phoenix’s strange new behavior patterns. Six months ago, he said he was quitting the acting business to pursue rap music. Then, he made an aloof, uncomfortable appearance on David Letterman, where he was unresponsive. Chicago-based psychiatrist, Paul Dobransky told the L.A. Times that Phoenix’s “socially inappropriate” behavior is a symptom of schizophrenia. I found myself in accordance with this doctor in my listed post.
The two actors starred in the recent Two Lovers, so Paltrow can actually make accurate claims while I base everything off my own observations.
Though she’s “not quite sure” what’s going on, she’s definitely unconvinced by Phoenix’s credibility. She told E! Online:
“What advice would I give to Joaquin? Hmmm…maybe to go live in the projects for a few years to get some authenticity, maybe.”
Sounds like she thinks he wants attention. She may not be far off, but if he seriously needs professional help, she’s at risk of seeming highly insensitive.