adventureland_200812171624You know that feeling the first time you kiss someone you really like? You feel like you’re falling, right? Adventureland is, hands down, the sweetest movie I’ve seen in a long time and taps right into that dizzying free fall – that vertiginous, dangerous, utterly perfect last three inches before your lips meet.

Jesse Eisenberg plays James, a likeable if slightly uptight protagonist who wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s smart, he’s sincere and he’s stuck working at a cheesy amusement park in his hometown of Pittsburgh instead of traveling around Europe after college as planned. He ends up falling in love with the beautiful and troubled Em played by Kristen Stewart. Eisenberg is perfection – he is authentic and restrained and brings us all the angst, yearning, butterflies, sharp pangs and small humilations of young love with total immediacy and subtlety.

The movie is set in 1987. This is my era – I was 17. The soundtrack is full of ridiculous gems that make you chuckle (Your Love – The Outfield) and that hit you in the gut (Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely – Husker Du, Pale Blue Eyes - Lou Reed). Nostalgia tends to make me slightly queasy, but since this movie so deftly sidesteps sappiness, it was easy to just relax and indulge. It’s a coming-of-age flick with brains and heart.

Doctor Dash and I picked this movie because we just wanted to escape and laugh a little – we didn’t really want to have to think. The last thing we expected was to feel. And remember.

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