In the absence of any real news this week, I’m going to write about what I’ve been enjoying these last few days. Adventureland
There are movies in which plot is king. That’s probably the majority of movies, actually. Then there are movies in which a bunch of cool people hang out for a couple of hours. Adventureland is that kind of a movie.
A few hours after watching Adventureland, my brain was still humming along to the rhythm of the movie. I wanted to hold that particular feeling. It wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen in my whole life, but it was pleasant, and fun, and funny. It gave me a good feeling and for that I have to share it with you, dear readers.
Jesse Eisenberg plays James, an overly-literate Jew who just graduated from Oberlin, drives an Aries K Car, and reminds me not at all of myself. James plans on moving to New York in the fall and attending Columbia’s school of journalism (because he admires Charles Dickens’ travel writing so much). These plans are thwarted when his father is “transferred” (we are not told why, although it might have something to do with the fact that he drinks nonstop everytime we see him) and his parents have no money to fund these extravagances. James finds gainful employment at the local theme park, Adventureland (what is the theme, you ask? ADVENTURE!).
In spite of Eisenberg playing the lead, Kristen Stewart (playing Em) truly steals the show. She takes the thankless role of “love interest” and fills it with that indefinable quality that makes men trip all over themselves and act even goofier than usual.
Here, as in many movies unfortunately, the guys are defined by what they do (or want to do) and the girls are defined by what is done to them. In spite of this, Stewart makes her character deeper and more involving than the script provides. I was so interested in her, ah, acting that I checked to see what other movies she’s been in. Turns out she is best known for being in some teenage vampire movie. Crazy, right? I never would have guessed.
Throw in hilarious performances by Martin Starr, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, and you’ve got a real winner. While not as hilarious as Superbad (the director’s previous film), Adventureland is extremely addictive in the same way the best TV shows tend to be. I only wish Adventureland was episodic; as it is, we only get 100 minutes with these characters.
The Complete K Chronicles, by Keith Knight
I never got a newspaper that carried the K Chronicles when I was younger. That’s a shame, because it is quickly becoming one of my favorite comic strips. I can only wonder how obsessed I would have been if I started to read the K Chronicles when I was 12.
Better late than never; I’m about halfway through this impressive tome. At 500+ pages, it truly feels like a “complete” collection of work. Still, I have to wonder what Knight feels like when he sees years of his life condensed into a single book. I imagine it is the same as an editor at National Geographic must feel when he sees decades of the presented on a single hard drive. Information is getting more compressed, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. At least, I hope not.
Each episode of the K Chronicles is overstuffed with words, pictures, and jokes. Instead of the four-panel format, each K takes up a full page (usually 9 panels). Knight can tell whole stories in the space. Unlike some of the terrible comics that forever recycle the same lame jokes and stock characters, K deals in the real and the now. You won’t find any lasagna jokes (I haven’t yet at least), but you will see fresh takes on race, class, gender, from a black man living in San Francisco.
Also, he’s got a weird fixation on sheep. It gets funnier the more you read, trust me.
Adventureland and The Complete K Chronicles have absolutely nothing in common as far as I can tell. If I was writing reviews for a real newspaper I’d have to find something to close this post, shoehorn some weird “and so they both blah blah blah the end.” Fortunately I’m a hack blogger, so I’ll just say ROBERT PATTINSON IS TOTALLY HOTTTT!!!!!