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An iconic tribute to a culture, place and state of mind that defined small town America in the early 80s. It is a universal moment in time, when everything you know to be true starts fading. The story is personal, yet familiar, set against a visually arresting landscape of music and vistas of Americana. Written by
This is no 'ADVENTURELAND'! I've heard comparisons been made between the two and 'ADVENTURELAND' was actually one of my favorite films of 2009, this film is mediocre at best. Both are coming of age tales set in the 1980's about recent high school graduates evaluating their lives and deciding what they want to do next, while working dead end jobs (in this film it's at a skating rink, in 'ADVENTURELAND' it was at an amusement park). They also both co-starred female 'TWILIGHT' stars as the love interests (in 'ADVENTURELAND' it was Kristen Stewart, in this film it's Ashley Greene). Both young stars are talented and more than adequate in their respective roles but lead Shiloh Fernandez (of 'DEADGIRL' fame) is nowhere near as memorable as Jesse Eisenberg. Eisenberg gave 'ADVENTURELAND' a lot of heart and relatability that this film just doesn't have. 'SKATELAND' is passable sappy drama but ultimately forgettable.
In the film Fernandez plays a 19 year old skating rink manager, named Ritchie Wheeler, at a rink in Texas during the 80's just when skating was starting to dies off in popularity. Due to business deflating the rink is set to close and Ritchie is forced to look for another job. At the same time he has to deal with his parents (Melinda McGraw and Brett Cullen) getting a divorce and his sister (Haley Ramm) always pestering him about college applications. He's also in love with his best friend's sister (Greene). Things become even further complicated when tragedy strikes his best friend (Heath Freeman).
The film was directed by Anthony Burns and written by Burns as well as Heath and Brandon Freeman (who also has a small part in the film). The writing and directing is decent and so is the acting (Greene is a standout) but there's nothing much to the story. It's so routine and unoriginal and nothing really exciting or memorable happens. It's definitely not a bad film it's just also definitely not a very good one either. It's one most people will probably forget quickly after watching it and if that's the case what's really the point?!
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