Last night me and mr H. went to see the new film "Adventureland". I hadn't really seen any trailers or reviews...so I went in without any preconceived ideas or expectations. The movie is set in 1987 and is about a guy who just graduated from Oberlin College in OHIO!. Which I may add is the place Liz Phair went to school and where I saw her perform Exile from Guyville in an old church. (don't be alarmed--I had a riot girl phase)
I had thought that this was gonna be a Superbad-Judd Apatow type comedy, but wasn't prepared for the trip down memory lane. I'm not even really sure what type of movie this should be categorized as. I mean the Superbad,Kristen Wiig and Hader fans may be disappointed cause it's really more of a suburbia 80's chick flick. It was pretty heavy on the young love juice. All I know is it took me to a place in my own awkward shy growing up phase.
The amusement park looked so much like the one I attended weekly as a kid-preteen, even the rides were the same. Music Express had the same psychedelic light displays and crazy 80's music pumping. I was almost convinced it was the theme park from my home town in Ohio called Geauga Lake, but found out later it was all shot in Pennsylvania. Midwest all the same.
So let me just say that the awkward coming of age lead actor Jessie Eisenberg is perfect for this role. He is the new neurotic replacement for films like this. His old childhood pal is a hyperactive antagonizer who reminds me of Vincent Spano's role in Over the Edge. He even rides a similar bike and wears a headband. There was something about this film that I knew was autobiographical to the writer. I knew that he lived this, or it was stolen from the pages of my journals. Considering I kept active journals from 6th grade til mid college this could be possible. There were moments in this movie that were so strangely nostalgic and uncomfortable that I found myself shielding my face. It dragged me back to strange summer jobs, early crushes, absurd 80's fashion, dance routines,messy parent problems, and of course "then their was the music". The music that you can claim as your own somehow. When you actually cared about the radio and playing mixed tapes in your car that some boy you adored had painstakingly made on a dual cassette recorder. I can still picture some of those tape covers hand drawn and neatly folded.
There is a scene where they are shown rolling a car down the driveway to sneak out, and instantly I remembered a night like that in high school. My two friends and I slowly rolling her mom's car in neutral past two houses before starting it and heading to downtown cleveland. Radio blasting dressed in some crazy contempo style outfits. I've seen a million Unsolved Mysteries start off that way now.
here's who I rolled the car down the drive with (it was her mom's)
I suppose this movie made me think about that time in your life where your a hopeless romantic and dream of leaving the midwest & living in a big city. Maybe that is a place no one dare wants to visit again. It left me at times with a lump in my throat. But I lived that suburbia scene and perhaps those moments when you said the dumbest thing ever to your crush can still haunt you and leave a lump in your throat. Or maybe you got into a fight and drove to their house and threw rocks at their window? Well...maybe not that much detail huh? The soundtrack throughout the film flutters from the Replacements, Lou Reed, The Cure, Husker Du, Falco, Wang Chung and ends on a high note playing "Don't Change" by INXS.
They say that things tend to repeat in fashion every 20 years or so and it's true that the late 80's are pushing for a comeback. I even heard that the book "Mysteries of Pittsburgh" by Michael Chabon is being made into a movie.
here's the trailer