The first decade of this millennium is often heralded as some sort of golden age for children’s films. Sure, most of Pixar’s best flicks came out in this period, and there were some winners in general, but I think people tend to view the films of their own childhood with rose-colored glasses. Most of these films are goddamn godawful. Just HOW goddamn godawful, you ask? Let’s find out together by checking out EVERY kids film between 2000 and 2009. From theatrical to direct-to-DVD to Disney Channel Original, we’ll look at ’em all because I am a glutton for punishment.
This week, I am saved from a Land Before Time movie but still suffer anyway.
THE LAND BEFORE TIME VIII: THE BIG FREEZE ADVENTURELAND
So I really expected to be in for a horrifying week. But the gods smiled upon me and this specific Land Before Time Film appears to have dropped off the face of the earth. I am overjoyed. And, in keeping with tradition, I am replacing this hole in my viewing slate with something off my Netflix queue.
This week, it’s 2009’s Adventureland, which I’ve wanted to watch for a while now. Plus this was the kinda week where I could benefit from a funny movie that also made me face some too-real shit. And this movie delivered.
The film follows James Brennan in his post college summer job working for the Adventureland amusement park. Over the course of the summer he goes through a journey of personal discovery while surrounded by a cast of colorful characters.
Look, the setup isn’t exactly new but the execution is what makes it work. Well, that and the cast.
Eisenberg is perfectly cast and gives a really solid performance, as does Kristin Stewart who often gets unfairly dumped upon as an actress. Fleshing out the supporting cast are kick-ass comedic performers like Kristin Wiig, Bill Hader, and Martin Starr who each get some of the funniest moments in an otherwise very subtle film.
Martin Starr especially kills in his role, having some of the best punchlines of the movie. But while the film is pretty funny, it’s skill is in the understated tone it keeps throughout. The stakes get sufficiently high but that air of summertime fucking about keeps all the plot beats grounded in this very specific atmosphere. Even Bill Hader, who has easily the most outlandish performance, is incredibly restrained to garner the movie a sense of realism.
Also Ryan Reynolds is in it, so if that does it for you, this is worth a watch.
The film is overall well paced and structured and incredibly good. Not excellent, but it hits every beat it wants to and still leaves time over for some great little character moments in its decently long runtime.
For a weird little movie with an outstanding cast, this one knocks it out of the park.
THE LITTLE BEAR MOVIE
I don’t know what to say. Not since Back to the Secret Garden has a movie left so little impact on my mind. I remember next to nothing about watching this movie. And i did it TODAY.
That shouldn’t be possible, right? Like, I can remember frames of animation but nothing else.
Like I got goddamn neuralized.
They should play this movie while briefing people on classified secrets to ensure no one remembers anything.
I swear to fuck, I think I got missing time from watching this one.
I’m honestly a little worried about subliminal messages. Some real “yvan eht nioj” possibilities there.
WAIT, I REMEMBER A THING!
There was a character named Moon Moose.
Man, that really should have made this more memorable. That sounds friggin’ great.
I love it.
I think there were bears? Right? Maybe two of them?
Somethin’ about wilderness bears vs… um… whatever the fuck little bear is.
City bears? Walks-on-two-legs bears? Help me out here guys.
So yeah, in conclusion, this was indeed a movie. That I saw.
Next week, I’ll hopefully be able to remember the things I’ve watched. Although I’m sure that desire will bite me in the ass.