Another theme park movie? 'Adventureland' hits theaters Friday
The genre of theme park movies pretty much begins and ends with "National Lampoon's Vacation
Until this week.
Friday, Greg Mottola's "Adventureland" hits screens in the United States. Mottola most recently directed the comedy "Superbad," and earlier worked with Judd Apatow on the TV show "Undeclared." But before any of that, Mottola was... an amusement park employee. The now-44-year-old worked in the 1980s at a Long Island amusement park called Adventureland, and has written and filmed a movie loosely based on that experience.
Jesse Eisenberg, Martin Starr star. Photo courtesy Miramax.
They've kept the name, but shot the movie at Pittsburgh's Kennywood, which filmmakers grunged up to look like a more decrepit '80s suburban carnival park. In Mottola's film, working in a park isn't a glamor job: The movie's website tag line? "Long hours. Low pay. High times."
Yeah, expect a lot of stoner jokes in the flick, which, like Superbad, revolved around a smart, earnest young geek trying to make it with any one of a number of elusive girls. In the end, though, the main character tones down the nerd act, gains some cool and gets some of what he's, um, been looking for.
As someone who also spent his first year out of college, in the late 1980s, working in a theme park, this movie hits very close to home. It's not exactly a twin of my life's story, though. I was fortunate enough to work at Walt Disney World, hardly a lousy amusement park, and the next joint I smoke would be my first. (Was that TMI on TPI? Whatever.)
But working in a park affected me deeply, too. Mottola made a movie. I built a website. Okay, I worked at a better park than Mottola did, but he'll make far, far, far more cash off his project than I'll ever see off mine.
Still, I thank him for inspiring me to spend several hours on the Magic Kingdom West Attractions Alumni Facebook page, clicking through hundreds of old pictures, remembering faces and incidents I'd since forgotten, but swiftly remembered.
I've spent almost two decades working in journalism, traveling the country and meeting people from disabled farm workers to U.S. Senators. But working in a theme park remains, by far, the most social job I've every held. Every month I worked at the Magic Kingdom was crammed with rich moments that could fill several movies. I was invited to an advance screening of the movie, but could not attend. But I'm looking forward to hearing what Theme Park Insider readers have to say after the movie opens on Friday.
I'm all about seeing this one. I like most of Judd Apatow's stuff (he at least produces a lot of them) anyway, although I wasn't that into Superbad.
Well, it's better exposure than Final Destination 3.
I'm telling you Robert -- as someone who also worked in the Magic Kingdom -- someone could right a decent theme park novel about working at WDW in the 1980s and 1990s.
Always nice to see some kind of amusement/theme park in a movie. I may not rush out to see this one in the theater, but the dollar DVD rental looks good.
I saw the trailers for this a while back and definately want to see it. Fingers crossed for this weekend, work permitting!
I can't wait to see this movie. I grew up on Long Island and went to Adverntureland all the time in the 60's,70's and 80's. It's still there and very popular. The rides are geared toward the younger kids and has a carnival atmosphere but it's still a lot of fun. I usually came home with a goldfish.
Rollercoaster is available on DVD. I owned it. Past tense. I remember loving it when it came out. Didn't hold up very well for me so it didn't stay in my collection. But I'd say it is worth a one-time rental. Add it to your Netflix queues.
I have Rollercoaster. I also own an episode of The Brady Bunch titled "Cincinnati Kids". It heavily features a newly opened Kings Island. It's pretty cool to see the park then as compared to now.
I viewed this movie last night at an advance screening.
I caught this at a preview screening on Tuesday, and thought it was an average movie. The performance of Kristen Stewart was very weak and convoluted, and tarnished and reduced the quality of the supporting performances. I really wanted more Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, but their characters took a back seat to the primary love story. The promotion for this movie is advertising this as "from the director of Superbad," and in that respect, many people may walk out of the movie disappointed. There are part of the film that are pretty funny, but a majority that revolves around the central love story I would describe as "artsy."
Just because this movie has the back drop of kennywood park does not mean it is a "must see" of amusement park affectionados. I wish the amusement park fans would not show up to see this junk, and force Hollywood to make good films with a Kennywood or amusement park background. This won't happen however. This is what bad film making, bathroom, fart humor, female degredation, gay bashing is all about. Save your $10.00 and save it for the parks this summer. They are going to need our help and support for a potentailly down summer. Skip the traash movie, support the parks.
Thanks for the updated comments to Robert's initial post. Like I said....I'll just wait til the dollar dvd rental to check this one out.
It's NOT an amusement park movie and if you all expect that, go rent Rollercoaster.
I just got back from seeing it and both my date and I enjoyed it. I wouldn't consider it that much of a "theme park movie" - however, some of the gags around the Musik Express and the Horse race game (and the mannequins with hats game - never seen that one) were hilarious. Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig should have gotten more screen time. The part that made me laugh the loudest is when they were running low on googly eyes for the stuffed bananas.
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