Maybe it's a little early to canonize a scene from a movie that came out only a few months ago, but as fall responsibilities quietly encroach on our sweaty summer abandon, it feels right to point out a scene in Adventureland that particularly reminds us of freedom, unexpected fun, and most of all romance. Thankfully, Greg Mottola's film arrived on DVD and Blu-ray this week, so we were not only able to recall it as our favorite moment in a movie filled with many memorable ones, but make sure the details weren't lost in the intervening (three) months between now and its original release.
Jesse Eisenberg isn't necessarily one of my favorite actors, thanks mostly due to the Wes Craven abomination Cursed, but he's well-cast in Adventureland as James, a college graduate who's smart enough to get himself into trouble, but not enough to get himself out – at least where girls are concerned. After delicately wooing his fellow theme-park colleague Em (Kristen Stewart) for the first half of the summer, he's interrupted while giving a typically self-important post-graduate speech ("The only holiday I celebrate is Bastille Day") when 4th of July fireworks begin to explode in the sky. Whether it's in his head or playing over the park's loudspeaker, Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" begins to play as he sits down next to Em to watch the show, and the two of them share a moment that not only feels important, but authentic – that connection between two people the world manufactures, particularly for two people falling in love, and which is almost always followed by some heavy petting.
I'm not entirely sure that I ever had a moment like that one, but I remember it anyway, thanks to movies like this with a touch delicate enough to make their romantic moments understated rather than stomped across. In fact, it's precisely this kind of scene that really makes these coming of age stories essential, if also sometimes misleading: we often want to experience perfect moments like these where we don't have to do any of the work, and the world does the heavy lifting, and it seldom does, but their appearance in so many different stories lets us know we're not the only ones in search of something a little easier than reality offers, and moreover, something a little more special. Check out the link below, but definitely check out the whole movie, because even though this is the best scene, it's certainly not the only good one; Adventureland is available from Miramax on DVD and Blu-ray now.