Thursday, July 25, 2013

Parks and Recreating

Adventureland, 2009
Written by Greg Mottola

The Way Way Back, 2013
Written By Nat Faxon and Jim Rash

Both Adventureland (2009) and The Way Way Back (2013) can be synopsized as: A sweet coming-of-age story about a young man who makes new friends and surprising epiphanies while working at a schlocky amusement park.

Both films feature familiar comedians, pretty love-interests and dependable character actors. Most viewers will identify with the nerdy lead: hasn't everyone felt misunderstood, invisible and angry at their parents for ruining their lives?

With so much that's similar, the difference between the two films can be found in the writing. Adventureland feels more polished, with a believable backstory for each of its central characters. The Way Way Back filters its emotion through its main character, while the supporting cast remains largely mysterious and backstory-less.

Both films play on nostalgia and muse what it's like to be on the cusp of maturity. Adventureland uses a confident adult point of view and identifies with each player in its little world, while The Way Way Back takes an innocent look at one summer, recognizing its importance but not its depth.

PS The amusement parks Adventureland and Water Wizz really do exist!

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