Skip to main content

Adventureland Revisited

Eyewear saw a little-heralded "stoner" indie movie that came and went last summer (2009) after a Sundance debut - Adventureland. Starring Kristen Stewart of Twilight infamy, and Jessie Eisenberg, of cult classic The Squid and The Whale, the film (on DVD) is actually a very sweet (and hilarious) coming of age story (with discussions of theology), set at the fag end of the Reagan 80s, in the dead-end summer job Purgatorio that is Adventureland: a sagging lo-fi amusement park that employs kids too broke to go to Europe, and divides them into a Games and a Rides cohort.

Playing on the Schindler List trope that saw Schindler's quick rise through the fascist ranks due to his copious baskets of champagne, the main character is gifted with a magic stash of weed at the start of the film, and manages to ingratiate himself quickly with the theme park wastrels.

Of these, the most touching is the loser Russian lit student, a beanpole four-eyes with alternative hair and a stunned expression; and then again, there are the girls - at one end of the the spectrum "Lisa P", a Madonna-like flirt with ideal curves in spray-on pink jeans; and Em, played by Stewart, who is a smart complicated haunted Jewish girl from a rich broken family, simply dressed in cut-offs and Lou Reed Ts. The soundtrack avoids the big hits (Prince, U2, Madonna) and goes for the chintzy core of the decade - we get songs like "Obsession", "Rock Me Amadeus" and Wang Chung. That's about right, but there are a few classics from The Cure and The Replacements. Missed are Pixies.

The style and tone is so accurately nostalgic for an era usually derided, and the characters so lovingly handled, one feels like it is classic manque that will hopefully find a new life as a rental night-in - a bit like a John Hughes film crossed with Caddyshack. I for one was deeply moved by several romantic and comic moments. Highly recommended for all those who were once smart, skinny, 21, erotically challenged, and in-between university and the bad world. One concern for the leads - so ideal are they as teen/young adult indie geeks, it is hard to imagine their twitches and grimaces and shrugs and little breaths and downcast eyes will translate bankably into adult roles later. But for now, they are sweet.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:

HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!