It’s Recommends Day Wednesday!

This movie has inspired a rather atypical post here on DIH. Although I love all sorts of movies, I pretty much exclusively blog about genre flicks and TV. As I guess you know. But since I started this blog last February (aww, my baby’s all grow’d up! 7 months, *sniff*), only one movie has motivated me to break the genre mold and write about a straight-up comedy.

That movie is Adventureland.

poster by you.

I knew I wanted to watch Adventureland the very moment I saw the trailer:

I mean, can you blame me? This trailer has everything! An awkward and adorkable lead on whom I can massively crush, a rockin’ soundtrack, requisite 80s dance scene, charming googly-eyes between the gawky yet attractive leads, RYAN REYNOLDS, Kristen Wiig, and TWO KINDS OF BILL!

That’s right, there’s ubiquitous funnyman Bill Hader, who honestly does not seem to get less hilarious no matter how many of these Apatow-adjacent flicks he’s in every month or so:

Adventureland by you.

And there’s my favorite Bill of all time (sorry, actual real-life friend Bill), BILL HAVERCHUCK:

bill by you.

Okay, so that’s Martin Starr in the brilliant and tragically brief series Freaks and Geeks, and in Adventureland  his name is Joel, and he’s really only similar to Bill in that he’s a nerd that you adore. There are many subtleties to his character and I don’t want to stick him in this Bill box for the rest of his career, except for how I kept swooning, “Aww, Biiilll!” the way I always used to do during Freaks and Geeks eps while watching this movie, even though his name is Joel.

james and joel by you.

But anyway, despite my instant and passionate ardor for this film after watching the trailer a year ago, I missed it in the theater. WHICH IS TERRIBLE, I KNOW! There are going to be a lot of these Johnny-come-lately reviews and recommendations in the coming year, since this past year has been the only period of my entire life where I’ve been too busy to watch movies AND I DON’T LIKE IT ONE BIT.  But after patiently waiting for Adventureland to become available on blu-ray on Netflix, I watched it Sunday night, and I died a million deaths of happiness and paid it my ultimate compliment, which is to watch through the final credits, then immediately rewind to my favorite scenes while sitting on the floor near the television, hand over heart, sighing with tears in my eyes. You guys, as embarrassed as I am to admit that I sometimes do this, I do not do it a lot.  Adventureland warranted it.

The plot isn’t exactly startlingly original. I kept saying “They’re sleeping together! I called it!” or “He’s going to hook up with her. I called it!” or “They’re going to fight. I called it!” (Watching movies with me is hella annoying). And the direction won’t blow you away with groundbreaking revelations (featuring Bumper Cars Camera and Raindrops on Bus Window). But what IS startling and unique is the subtlety of this movie—Greg Mottola has lived life, and he knows what it looks like, feels like and sounds like. That spazzy sad-sack nerd from the trailer? That’s James (Jesse Eisenberg). He’s actually kind of smooth, very cool, and totally composed.

james and em by you.

The rebellious, mysterious, way-too-hot for him girl? Meet Em (Kristen Stewart). She’s really sensitive and understated, and totally into James right off the bat, and you totally can’t blame her.

em by you.

I have to admit, as I tend to entirely avoid all things Twilight because I find it sort of scary and alien, I had no opinion of this Miss Kristen Stewart. I LOVE HER SO MUCH NOW. I have the biggest, most painful girl crush on her and her character, Em. She’s just so absolutely, entirely cool

Also, there’s the hot, selfish, swoony dude.  That’s Connell, aka Ryan Reynolds, and if you don’t know who he is, then I welcome you to this blog! It’s so great to have you here for the very first time! Connell’s not evil. He’s pretty cool, and kind of nice, and sort of sad himself.

rr by you.

I love the camaraderie of the Adventureland staff. I’ve worked some summer jobs, and once you survive a crazy season at a terrible job with some other schlubs, affinity springs, man. Polar opposites bond in the battlefield, and half-assed theme park Adventureland is one hell of a battlefield.

the crew by you.

There were so many places this movie could have gone, and all of those places, while expected, would not have disappointed me. I thought I knew exactly what I was going to get when I watched this trailer, and I was perfectly happy with that, and then…I got something better. Adventureland is graceful and surprising. It’s just a really, really good movie, you know? A movie I will buy immediately and wear out, taking poor Forgetting Sarah Marshall‘s place on my list of Comedies That Surprised Me and I Will Now Force Matt To Watch Three or Four Dozen Times.

Bonus points!

Hats off to Wendy Malick and Jack Gilpin as James’ parents, who are just so very tragically parent-y.

james and parents by you.

I also have to give it up for Matt Bush as Frigo. This kid is SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS, but I kind of embrace his hyper idiocy.

frigo by you.

Lisa P! Wear your amazing pants and dance your goofily sultry dances in every movie I watch from here on out, please!

lisa p by you.

Finally–a bad-asssss soundtrack, all Lou Reed and Bowie and Velvet Underground and CROWDED HOUSE. Despite my relative youth, these were the soundtrack to my college days, too, and my college self was not disappointed. If only I’d managed to wrangle a romance like James’ and Em’s back then. And also some psychotropic cookies.

james and em 2 by you.

Review Preview:

Oops, I left my The Final Destination notes at home today! (Yes, I took notes, sitting in my shaking seat and looking under my 3D glasses, spiked Sprite in hand, and I don’t care if you ridicule me for that). So look for my review tomorrow!

One Response to “It’s Recommends Day Wednesday!”

  1. LISA P FOREVS!!!!!!

    gah I LOVE THIS MOVIE! reading yr review made me want to go buy it RIGHT NOW. and also maybe work at a carnival for the summer. except that i’m at work. so i can’t do either of those things.

    i had the same experience you did– i wanted to see the movie based on the trailer, and what i got was totally different and a thousand times better! and that never happens!!!!

    i’m really glad kristen stewart redeemed herself with this movie, cos she really is so pretty and not a bad actress (esp. if she could learn to stop pushing her hair back from her face).

    martin starr!!!! i feel so honored to be bffs with his dad now.

    and i think i was most impressed with the ryan reynolds character, in terms of how he surprised me. it would’ve been easy to hate him, but i didn’t… and although i would like to give the guns all the credit, it’s really about the writing (mostly).

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