By George Rose
January 19, 2010
For every good movie that makes more than it should, there is a great movie that goes relatively unnoticed. In 2009, that was Adventureland. There are many reasons to love this movie, but for me it was the cast. This movie was like a Who's Who of Hollywood – 2009 Edition. In the leads you have relative newcomer Jesse Eisenberg (who had a breakout year with his similarly-titled Zombieland) and Kristen Stewart (if you haven't heard of her, Twilight, or New Moon, then there is traffic somewhere nearby that you should walk into immediately). Together, these youngsters face life and love in their early twenties while working a summer job at the nearby theme park.
Though drama is present and hearts get broken, the film is actually pretty funny. That is in large part because of the amazing supporting cast, which includes another massive star from 2009, Ryan Reynolds (Wolverine and The Proposal) as the man who comes between Jesse and Kristen. Rounding out the crew of comedians are Bill Hader and Kristen Wig (of SNL fame), both in their element as the bumbling owners of the park. While the movie was never going to cross $2 billion at the worldwide box office and would have been lucky to see even $50 million stateside, it still deserved much more than the $15 million it exited theaters with. Hopefully, with my help and yours, we can turn this into a cult-favorite on DVD. It's quirky, honest, and always entertaining... which is more than some of the moneymaking 2009 blockbusters that the actors starred in can say.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
I never understood the hype behind Iron Man. I have loved superheroes and the Marvel brand name since I was in kindergarten, and have looked forward to every Marvel movie to come out since the first X-Men. I've even gone to the early midnight screenings of some of their most awful products, like Daredevil and Ghost Rider. Why? Because Stan Lee needs my support. Or at least I thought he did. Then one day, out of nowhere, Iron Man comes out and everyone and their mother goes to see it and says it's the best super hero movie ever. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Yes, Iron Man was a great movie and the sequel looks even better. BUT, was it so much better than X2: X-Men United that it needed to make $100 million more than it? No, not even close. At first, watching the success of Iron Man infuriated me, because I wanted to see that same kind of support given to the X-Men universe. Then I realized the silver lining of Iron Man: Robert Downey Jr.
Iron Man, as a movie, is good. Heck, I'd even say it's great. But what made it the phenomenon that it was is Downey. He took what could have been another Daredevil or Ghost Rider and made it bigger than X-Men. That is no easy feat, and while it's a feat I'm not happy about, it's a feat I can appreciate. After that, there was no doubt he would turn Sherlock Holmes – a property I deemed too old and boring to become a blockbuster – into another amazing action movie. If he could do it to Iron Man, he could do it to anything. With the help of director Guy Ritchie (who I cannot praise enough for his resume), Jude Law (who I have HATED since he had an affair with a nanny and now completely forgive), and Rachel McAdams (to know her is to love her without question), Sherlock Holmes was transformed from the unbearable books I was forced to read in middle school to a big screen epic. It was amazing the first time I saw it, and has only gotten better with each additional viewing. If it weren't for Avatar, Sherlock Holmes would surely have become the biggest movie of the holiday season. Because of Avatar, it must sit at third behind that abomination of a Squeakquel.