I wrote in April, when I first saw it, that Adventureland was a rare movie. I wrote that it was so good that I sat in my seat hoping it didn't screw it up, and it didn't. Well, Adventureland came out on DVD this week, so I scooped it up and re-watched it. One thing I didn't realize the first time I watched it was that I wasn't just watching the best movie of the year, I was watching one of the great movies of the decade. Adventureland is the most wonderfully realized, delicately crafted, and emotionally affecting movie about young people that I've ever seen. It captures a moment in time that didn't even exist in my life, yet I connect to it so deeply I almost can't explain it.
There's not a single moment in the movie that rings false to me, and so many moments that transcend the maligned "young adult/teen" genre. Of course, it's not about "teens", it's about people just out of college realizing that their studies in Comparative Literature or Russian and Slavic Languages don't mean much in the real world. It's also about those fragile feelings of first love, real friendship, jealousy, and taking the wrong advice because you don't know any better yet. More than anything really, it's the first love story. But because everything is so carefully constructed, capturing life, the feeling of real life, it's about much more than that simple genre description might allude to. Sure, it's not documentary-esque real life, it's idealized and nostalgic, but in the best way possible. If this doesn't end up as my #1 movie of the year, I will be greatly, greatly surprised.