Thursday, 12 May 2011

Adventures and Anticipation

Today's blog post was, unsurprisingly, going to be about the anguish of the Championship Play Offs as a Forest fan, but the BBC's Jonathan Stevenson beat me to it with a really good blog post which captured the majority of my feelings so far as this end of season competition. Seeing as he wrote about what i was going to and did a better job of it than i probably would have i'm not going to spend too much more time talking about the Play Offs.

However i will mention two reasons why these games cause me to feel quite so nervous that are more personal. Firstly, the 2003 defeat against Sheffield United was agonising for all Forest fans, but for me the actual game was the easier part; I'm from Sheffield and the next day i had to walk into my school where it felt like everyone knew i was a Forest fan. It wasn't just the United fans who spent the day mocking me, but nearly everyone who was a football fan. The United fans were crowing about their victory, the Wednesday fans were having a go at me for Forest's failure to beat their near rivals and the neutrals were laughing at me for the manner in which we threw away such a commanding position in the game. It's safe to say that day ranks amongst the worst memories i have of school.

Fast forward four years and i can explain the second reason i have a particular dislike for the Play Offs above and beyond the average football fan. That mid May night in 2007 when we capitulated so spectacularly against Yeovil was also the night of my Year 11 Prom. A night which should be about celebrating secondary school being over, about wearing a suit for the first time and about saying goodbye to friends who wouldn't be returning for the Sixth Form instead became dominated by the texts being sent to me from an Uncle who was at the game, texts which sent me into a deeper and deeper depression. As always the United and Wednesday fans were unsympathetic to my plight which didn't exactly help matters.

So it's fair to say as the clock ticks away towards tonight's first leg match against Swansea at the City Ground there's a lot of fear wrapped up in the anticipation of the night.

The rest of this blog post is going to be a film review.

Adventureland (Mottola, 2009)

Now i'd seen this film once before but i hadn't paid enough attention at that time to give a fair review. It had been my A-Level results day and i was too wrapped up in exactly the kind of teenage dramas that 'Adventureland' explores to do the film justice. In fact my memories of the film were pretty negative; in the mood we were in we'd have been better off watching something like Transformers, a film where a limited attention span is almost beneficial.

Watching it last night though i realised i'd been very wrong about the film. Mottola's second film after 'Superbad' is a semi-autobiographical homage to growing up in the 80's. It avoids the over the top clich├ęs of 'Hot Tub Time Machine', instead deciding to focus on the more timeless elements of making that step from being a teenager to something resembling adulthood.

It's the story of James Brennah (Jesse Eisenberg), whose aspirations of holidaying around Europe before taking his place at an Ivy League School are dashed by his dad having to take a major step down career-wise. Suddenly faced with having to finance his own college experiences he reluctantly gets a job working at the local, run down theme park, Adventureland.

Much like 'How to Lose Friends and Alienate People' which i reviewed a few days ago, it's in some ways pretty standard genre fare; teen finds himself in a world he isn't used to, makes friends, learns lessons and most importantly meets 'the' girl (Kristen Stewart).

It's the subtlety of the writing, the quality of the acting and the realistic nature of the central characters that marks this film out. What could have been a generic teen comedy turns out to be something sweeter, funnier and more complex than most comparable films. A lot of that is down to the performances of Eisenberg and Stewart. I'm a fan of Eisenberg, he's also great in 'Zombieland' and 'The Social Network', and at least so far as the two 'land' movies are concerned he's managed to create characters who are likeable because they're so relatable for the majority of the audience. He plays guys who are more awkward than they care to admit, less cool than they wish they were and more confused than even they realise; most teenagers can understand those character traits. Stewart on the other hand i wasn't sure i would like but she is great here; freed from the constant moping that makes up her performances in the Twilight movies she really comes into her own here. She perfectly captures the combination of attitude and insecurity that pretty much sums up being a teenager and you can both believe Eisenberg's character would fall for her and the self-made obstacles that get in the way. There's a complexity and depth to the performance which i really didn't know she was capable of, but that's more my fault for judging her on one role rather than giving her a chance.

It's a heart warming Indie rom-com with some great laugh out loud moments and a brilliant alternative 70/80's soundtrack (Lou Reed, The New York Dolls, The Replacements and The Cure all feature), i'd definitely recommend it.

4/5

Seeing as i've just mentioned them in the film review and they fit within my theme for the week, this seems a pretty appropriate song choice to finish this post with:

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