Monday, November 1, 2010

Movie Mondays-Things we can learn about writing YA through movies.

It's the year before college and James (Jesse Eisenberg) is forced to get a job after his dad gets demoted and can no longer pay for his Ivy League school.  The only place where he can get hired is Adventureland where he meets "Em" (Kristin Stewart) a cool carnie, working at the amusement park despite having a rich lawyer father. (the movie never really explains exactly why she's working there, but whatevs)

They begin a sweet romance, though James doesn't realize she's secretly involved with a sleazy "musician" (played with oozing squeeviness by Ryan Reynold) who also works at Adventureland as a mechanic. Rumors of him playing onstage with Lou Reed have all the younger teens in awe of him.

Though the characters in Adventureland were a little older than most YA characters it's definitely a fun coming of age story about figuring out who you are and what you want.

WHAT I LOVED/LEARNED- Character Development - Em's character is flawed and makes incredible mistakes in the movie, yet she is also completely sympathetic and we root for her as James's love interest despite what we know about her. It was so well done the way we are shown reasons for her behavior.  We are never bonked over the head with an explanation about why she does what she does, but we know enough to understand her because it is shown to us. And despite her bad choices, we like her.

James is also a really well developed character. The loveable nerd (a la Micheal Cera) who has many obstacles to overcome and makes mistakes of his own on the way, but is honest and good and it shines through and we cheer for him. He didn't have to be perfect, but he redeemed himself through his actions.

The squeevy musician is also shown by his actions. Again we are never told overtly about him, but discover as the movie progresses.

The secondary characters all have a story of their own. They don't overpower the main storyline, but adds to the charm of the story. Well done!!

WHAT WAS A LITTLE OFF- SETTING- The story is set in the 80's though to me, Jesse Eisenberg and Kristin Stewart didn't really fit into the setting as well as the other actors did. I thought it stuck out that all the other girls wore the jewellery, hair and loud colorful clothes of the 80's, but Kristin's hair was straight and she didn't seem "80-ized" to me.  As if she was too cool to be so 80's. (The same way Drew Barrymore stayed a little too current in The Wedding Singer, also set in the 80's)

RATING- It's a great, feel good movie! Funny! The music from the 80's rocked. The dialouge was spot on and the character development worth a second watch!

P.S. I developed an inappropriate old lady crush on Jess Eisenberg (my inner teen would love to have met such a great boy)

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