4.05.2009

If you don't see -- and love -- Adventureland, well, then you SUCK


Well, not really.

But, yeah. Really.

I loved this movie. Loved it. And I think in our modern world of Appatowian dramedies, this film could be an Us-or-Them divider. As in, cat or dogs. Beatles or Stones. Hilary or Barack. Despite Greg Mottola's Super Bad credit, this is no Super Bad. No Knocked Up. This harks back to his Daytrippers days. This is the kind of movie where I was watching it, and I thought, "Oh...a filmmaker made this."

Which, granted, is snooty as hell. But we are who we are.

And it's not just that. I was eager to see the movie because the trailer looked fun. But then I read an article in the LA Times about Mottola where he described Adventureland as a "romantic movie for sensitive males."

Now, that's either going to sell you or it isn't. And I was effing sold. Throw in Kristen Stewart and I've got myself a party.

On a weekend where Fast & Furious is bound to take the #1 spot -- and I really do need to point out that this umpteenth sequel is semantically hinged upon the removal of two articles and the substitution of a conjunction for an ampersand -- you're either in the cars & guns camp, or you want to see the awkward boy get wrapped up with the indie rock girl with emotional issues.

That's about as Hilary & Barack as you can get.

But I think it goes further than that. Even though Mottola is most definitely in bed with the Appatow dynasty, I find it interesting that he'd make this movie. Appatow's stamp is all over current hit comedies. And sure, you might think Jonah Hill or Leslie Mann are the most annoying aspects of that.

But what pisses me off is the Appatow Man. You know. The eternal child. The emotionally stunted Peter Pan with a beer gut who's prone to outbursts and fashionable loserdom. With the occasional Paul Rudd thrown in as an emasculated yet snarky schmuck -- because someone has to get their balls handed to them to remind the Appatow Man why they must maintain the status quo.

But Adventureland is a movie that dares to dip back into the indie 90's pool of smart, neurotic guys who aren't Appatow-Man-fat, and who bumble more than quip. It dares to acknowledge that you can be a pathetic guy without being a moron. You can have ambition, be educated, and be self-aware -- and still have no idea what you're doing. Hilarity can still ensue.

And Kristen Stewart. C'mon.

But I think that my point is that this movie isn't just straddling the genre film and the smart film. It isn't just jockeying for position in the same market market as, dear god, yet another Vin Diesel movie. But it's also an alternative to I Love You, Man.

It's one for the rest of us.

ps. But I'm also talking about a movie that thanks about every member of the Appatow gang in the credits. So maybe I'm all alone on this. But that's coo', cause Martin Starr was smokin' a pipe. So it's all good.

pps. B pointed out to me that Fast and Furious in fact has no ampersand. Touché, B, touché. But I'm pretty sure my point still stands.

ADDENDUM

Even the Variety review of Adventureland seems to dislike Jesse Eisenberg's character for Appatowian reasoning. He has a "furrowed brow," and is "earnest." Which basically finds fault in his giving a fuck, and not being a complete dumbass. Seriously? Seriously Variety? I'm picturing Frank from 30 Rock at a keyboard here, because, "earnest?" Earnest young males pretty much make up for a wildly significant portion of dramatic story telling prior to the 21st century.

I guess I just miss the era of Whit Stillman, and Mottola's own Daytrippers. And I'm thrilled at its return, even if it's a slight return. And a good friend of mine who choice to see Fast and Furious instead this past weekend agreed that while we went in very opposite directions, we both still find the present cinema climate to be confusing and troublesome.

But he got his cars, and I got my earnest boy and quirky girl meet-cute.

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