Eisenberg Eisenberg

It’s no secret that two smallish films about a young, highly intelligent curly-haired guy trying find his footing in life — The Education of Charlie Banks and Adventureland — are opening within a week of each other, and soon. March 27th and April 3rd respectively. And that both have the earnest, curly-haired Jesse Eisenberg in the lead role.


Jesse Eisenberg and Eva Amurri in The Education of Charlie Banks.

Kristen Stewart and Eisenberg in Adventureland.

And that both Eisenberg characters — – I’m sure they share many similarities but this one I’m dead certain of — experience erotic-emotional longings for a attractive classy-soulful 20something girl — Kristen Stewart in Adventureland and Eva Amurri (the daughter of Susan Sarandon) in Charlie Banks.

I missed Adventureland at Sundance (where it received a positive if unspectacular response) but I’ll be catching it tomorrow. It’s obviously the more broadly accessible audience film between the two, and the hand of director Greg Mottola (Superbad) tells you it’s not submental.

I haven’t seen Banks but it’s said to be a character-driven period piece, set on the Vassar campus in the early ’80s, about a bright dweeb (Eisenberg) having to deal again with an old high-school rival (Jason Ritter). The was directed by Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst.

I have a slight problem with the title of Durst’s film. The Education of Charlie Banks suggests that it’s about some kind of primal, life-changing lesson that shapes the character of young Mr. Banks. Not “an” education but “the” — big difference. Except daily life is a constant education. School is never out in this sense, and who’s to say which life lesson you absorb is the big one that really matters?

That’s why I love the title of Nick Hornsby and Lone Scherfig‘s An Education so much. It doesn’t imply that what Carey Mulligan‘s character learns over the course of it is a major game-changer; it simply says that she picks up a thing or two.

51 thoughts on “Eisenberg Eisenberg

  1. Mottola did Superbad, not Pineapple Express.

    Liked Eisenberg a lot in Roger Dodger and The Squid and the Whale, but I’m not convinced he has a whole lot of range. He does his thing well enough, though.

  2. I’ve been meaning to see The Hunting Party, that war-satire movie with Dick Gere and Eisenberg. Anyone have anything good to say about it?

    Eisenberg was fucking priceless in Squid and the Whale. He’s got some chops.

    Adventureland looks like it could be fun — anything with Bill Hader and Krisin Wiig will get my cash.

  3. Hunting Party is watchable, nothing special or especiallly memorable. Gere seems to work best when his co-stars are males, as here and HOAX.

  4. Eva Amuri is actually Eva AMURRI. I know because that photo made me want to google image search her.

    David Gordon Green did Pineapple Express. That was info I already had.

    “The Hunting Party” got some good reviews but I thought it was ridiculously bad.

    Someone needs to get Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Cera into a movie together, like, immediately, with each trying to trump the other in the departments of nervous, awkward and low-key humor.

  5. Hunting party was good, roger dodger was good, how long is this kid gonna play the dweeb?? you wanna see a good dweeb movie? the wackness….

  6. I think I’m one of three people (if there are more, excuse me…) who actually used to watch Get Real with Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg.

    It wasn’t bad for a TV family drama. They did interesting formal plays — non-linear storytelling, breaking the 4th wall, etc. But nobody watched it. So they tried to retool it to play more traditionally, then it died.

  7. Jeff, having not seen Fred Durst’s film, you’ll be surprised how unbroad Adventureland is. It’s not the dumb, teen comedy you seem to be hinting at. The trailers are misguiding and are rightfully trying to sell it to the Superbad crowd, but it’s not that dissimilar from some of tones — and especially look and feel — of say The Squid And The Whale. Whether its as successful as that movie is subjective, but…

  8. The title’s too close to Charlie Bartlett, although I guess the difference is this takes place at college.

    How does Fred Durst get to keep directing movies? Who does he have pictures of in uncompromising positions?

    Still, the kid’s got chops, and I’ll take him over Shia LeBouf, or that kid from Forbidden Kingdom that REALLY wishes he were Shia LeBouf, anyday.. But he needs to branch out a bit more, or all those jokes and comparisons to Cera will come to fruition.

  9. Wow, I went to an Adventureland screening yesterday and I have an Education of Charlie Banks screener waiting to be watched. I had no idea I was going to have the watch the same film twice.

    As for the former, Playlist is right. It’s a good, solid film, but it’s so aggressively mellow that I almost wanted more broad amusement park jokes (if only because I feel they didn’t take enough advantage of the location). I’d hate to complain that a film wasn’t broad enough, but the film’s amusement park location could have swapped out for any workplace without affecting the story much.

  10. Scott is right, a not unfounded criticism is how reserved some of it is. Not the broad sweeping gagfest Wells seems to allude to. Scott were you at the NY post-drinks thing? If so I guess we crossed paths.

  11. Wow berkguru, you hate when people offer a well meaning compliment? So actors can only compliment other actors? We civilians, who I assume the actors are performing for, can’t offer opinions about our perception of their talent? What’s the deal?

  12. I have a question for all of you guys/gals. I had the same bit of confusion with “Superbad” as well. OK: “Adventureland” is supposed to take place in the 80s, but the clothes, hair, music and even the font they use in the ads is 70s. Why? “Superbad” was supposed to take place modern-day, but the same thing with the 70s stuff. Just curious. I thought I would ask all of you because you are in the know.

  13. Actors have such an unblemished record of nominating the best performances? I’m sure Cary Grant and numerous others will be comforted to know that.

  14. Jesse Eisenberg better never make a film with Michael Cera or their combined earnestness will burn out the retinas of all who view it.

  15. Education was made in 2005 or so. It’s one of those unwatchable movies that gets a limited release years later even though everyone wishes it would just disappear.

  16. As much as I love Superbad, Adventureland is a really strong and honest comedy about growing up. It’s more like Dazed and Confused than an Apatow movie.

  17. As Rothchild said, Education is a fairly old movie. It’s Durst’s real first film. He directed a lot of music videos for his peers then got to do a smaller indie film. He parlayed that into that weird Ice Cube children’s football movie.

  18. I saw Adventureland at a test screening over a year ago. During the movie, you can cut the indifference with a knife. I think I remember the audience letting out a collective shrug at the end.

    Is anyone else tired of Michael Cera, Jesse Eisenberg, and Jon Heder playing the same fucking character in every fucking movie.

    These guys have about as much range as my cock.

  19. even mottola is afraid the ‘adventureland’ marketing is going to alienate audiences…it’s much more ‘angsty teen love story’ than zany fun times….

    and the revelation in ‘charlie banks’ is the usually sweet jason ritter as the scoiciopathic bully…he turns in a pretty frightening performance…..

  20. Scorecard for those who are awesome:

    KRISTEN STEWART OWNS EVERYTHING EVER. As in, EVERYTHING. Greatest actress ever, sexiest woman ever, most intoxicating and hyonotic screen presence in THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF CINEAMA. She should also be president, queen of England, emissary to foreign lands and goodwill ambassador of ownage for the entire world. SHE. IS. GOD.

    FRED DURST IS AWESOME AS FUCK and I still listen to Limp Bizkit 11 hours ago and strap on my RED CAP and start mean mugging and OWNING people doing my Durst imitation and randomly shouting Durstian bromides like “Get the fuck BACK, BITCH!” DURST 4 EVER.

    JESSE EISENBERG, on the other hand, seems like a limp-dick douche and I hope Ryan Reynolds OWNS his ass in Adventureland.

    Eisenberg is one of those NO CHARISMA nonentities like Anton Yelchin, Ashton Holmes, Aaron Stanford, and Colin Hanks who NOT ONE SINGLE, SOLITARY AMERICAN MOVIEGOER has EEEEEEEVER made a trip to the multiplex because of, but because they got into the biz at age 3, we’ll have to endure their zero-charisma wishy-washy dork asses for another thirty years.

    Just like we’re still enduring, say, Campbell Scott, who’s never, ever, ever been remotely charismatic or interesting on screen in twenty years.

  21. “Can someone explain Kristen Stewart’s appeal to me?”

    As I described Twilight to a friend, it’s about a girl who looks like a boy falling in love with a boy vampire who looks like a girl.

  22. There must be some serious self esteem issues for up and coming directors if they are consistantly using Eisenberg as their Doppleganger.

  23. funny that the actors who you find so ugly are both Jewish. Hm. I have a funny feeling you aren’t. Makes you think…

  24. oh please, boys, as a heterosexual woman I think Eisenberg is pretty cute and I wouldn’t mind doing him if uhh, we ever happen to meet one day. He is NOT ugly or annoying. I hope he sticks around for a long time.

  25. Nope, I saw the film at a Mirimax screening in Beverly Hills at the Aidikoff Screening Room; one of those places where the sound is great, the picture is terrific, but the screen is only slightly larger than my DLP HDTV.

    Sad to say, as I was watching the movie, I thought ‘hmm… LexG is going to love this one’.

    And people, get off the ‘they hate Jews because that random Jewish actor isn’t attractive to them’. Frankly, it insults me as a Jew.

    Oh, and ‘that kid in Forbidden Kingdom’… he’s Michael Angarano. If you want to see him in a much better performance, check out the flawed, but bitter little comedy One Last Thing. Besides, if someone asked you to do a kung fu film that teamed you with Jackie Chan and Jet Li, is there anyone here who would be going ‘well, only if the script is better’?

  26. oh please, boys, as a heterosexual woman I think Eisenberg is pretty cute and I wouldn’t mind doing him if uhh, we ever happen to meet one day. He is NOT ugly or annoying. I hope he sticks around for a long time.

  27. I don’t think they’re ugly, but they don’t stand out much, and they seem to be stuck typecasting themselves more as comic foils than serious actors. They probably would work better on a CW sitcom than a “coming-of-age” film. [Do they still have those on that network...?] Freaks and Geeks: The Next Generation, maybe? But really, how many times can you remake “The Wonder Years”, Hollywood?

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