April 5, 2009

make it safe and clean

Posted in movies tagged , at 10:39 pm by placeinthestars

L. and I went to lunch today and then we saw Adventureland, which I really enjoyed. I wanted to see it for a couple of reasons – I was under the impression (incorrect as it turns out) that the “Adventureland” of the title was the one in Farmingdale (out on the island), which we used to go to as kids (the movie is set in Pittsburgh), and because it’s set in 1987, so it’s my teenage years they’re mining for nostalgia.

The movie does not disappoint – it opens with “Bastards of Young”, and makes fantastic use of songs like “Pale Blue Eyes”, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (which was my senior prom song, funnily enough) and “Unsatisfied”, and hilarious use of “Rock Me, Amadeus,” “Let the Music Play” and “Point of No Return”, plus brief appearances by “Just Like Heaven”, “Modern Love,” “Satellite of Love”, and something I think was Husker Du, though don’t quote me on that (Em does wear a Husker Du t-shirt at one point).

So I kind of want to marry whoever put the soundtrack together.

And the movie lives up to the promise of the soundtrack. It’s kind of a shambly, loose, sweet thing, about this kid, James, who’s just graduated from college and spends the summer between college and grad school working as a carnie at the amusement park, and the relationships he gets involved with there. It feels really true to the era, though, at least my recollection of it, and the music is perfect. Jesse Eisenberg has a geeky-sweet Michael Cera thing going for him, Kristen Stewart does a decent job as Em, the girl James falls for, and Ryan Reynolds is … well, he looks like he belongs in a totally different movie, but it suits the character – he’s playing an adult amidst all these 21 and 22 year-olds who don’t know quite what to do with themselves. Oh, and Wendie Malick, who is always awesome, has a small, funny role as James’s mom.

I really liked it, and if you’ve liked movies like Juno or Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist or if you were in your late teens/early twenties in the late ’80s and still have warm feelings towards the era, you’ll probably like it, too.

~*~

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