PITTSBURGH MADE: Adventureland (2009)

I love Pittsburgh to the point that even talking about it makes me tear up a bit. Rick Sebak’s voice makes my soul weep. And yet I hate Kennywood. Maybe it’s because I dislike waiting in lines. Perhaps it’s because my parents didn’t have the money to take us there. It could also because they got rid of Garfield’s ride and I’ll never forgive them.

Director and writer Greg Mottola grew up around Adventureland in Farmingdale, New York, but he went to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, where he probably went to Kennywood and realized that it’d be a filmable place to set his movie in which James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), a recent graduate from Oberlin, has to work at instead of. going to Europe the summer after graduating. There, he meets and falls for Em Lewin (Kristen Stewart), an art history major who teaches him more than he probably learned in college as he spends the hot summer days working in the carny games booths on the midway.

There’s some good casting choices here, like having Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader as the husband and wife owners, Ryan Reynolds as the too old to be sleeping with college kids maintenance man and Wendie Malick as James’ mom.

For some reason, Lou Reed is idolized in this movie. Now, I wasn’t around Kennywood in 1987, but I know that in my hometown, the original choice — Neil Young — is way more Pittsburgh. And outside of the folks that listened to WXXP, hardly anyone in tahn would be listening to Big Star, Hüsker Dü, The New York Dolls and The Jesus and Mary Chain, but hey — it’s a movie.

Beyond being filmed at Kennywood, other scenes were filmed in McCandless, Beaver County and Moon Township around the airport, including the Stardust Lounge.

One thought on “PITTSBURGH MADE: Adventureland (2009)

  1. I hate the end of this movie is Kristen Stewart should have told him to go back home. As someone who moved to NYC after college (more or less) and is still here, I can assure you nothing is a bigger no-no than showing up on someone’s doorstep like a lost puppy and expecting them to just open their doors to you to stay as long as they want. You’ll never be able to get rid of him and they will be as a 20-pound bag of albatrosses on your neck at parties. That K-Stew accepts him in at the end ensures I will hate Jesse Eisenberg and this movie 4-eva. God spare us all from small town moochers… in the future.


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