Of course I walked into the Palace Theatre last night wanting to like the movie ‘Adult World.’
Director Scott Coffey took writer Andy Cochran’s poet-graduates-college-and-then-gets-an-education story and set it in Syracuse. There was a fair amount of huzzah around these city streets while the Hollywood production was being shot here in 22 days in February 2012.
Emma Roberts was spotted. She’s the daughter of Eric Roberts and the niece of Julia Roberts. John Cusack was seen. He was Lloyd Dobler in “Say Anything” and much, much more.
Big films do not use our streets and landmarks as a backdrop all that much, although I must say that the Syracuse University quad held its own during the Ernie Davis biopic “The Express” just a handful of years back.
“Adult World” debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City in April 2013. Syracuse’s restored downtown movie palace, the Landmark Theatre, hosted the local premiere to close the Syracuse International Film Festival on Oct. 6, 2013.
Then the film, owned by Treehouse Pictures, was sent to the world of Video on Demand, limited theatrical release, and iTunes.
The Palace Theatre bagged a handful of showings on its big screen.
When I settled into my seat among a crowd of about 50 last night, I was surprised to hear the voice behind the curtain announce before the movie started that this would be the last showing in Syracuse of the movie shot in Syracuse. At this Syracuse theater, at least.
Syracuse looked outstanding, in all of her scenes.
Snow was falling outside the suburban tract house in the near-eastside suburb of DeWitt, where Roberts’ character Amy Anderson’s family lived.
Snow was falling outside the university neighborhood house where Cusack’s character, Rat Billings, lived.
Snow was falling outside the downtown store, Adult World, where Amy Anderson had a lot of chemistry with manager Alex, played well by intense Evan Peters.
The Syracuse University campus can’t go wrong with its bold, old and exciting architecture.
Clinton Square is a natural with its ice rink, monuments, and eye-pleasing surrounding buildings.
Will this scenery be enough to bring productions back in the future? It’s likely to have more to dow with economic incentives and initiatives set up by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Roberts was tremendous, all eye-roll and dramatic movement and manic reactions.
Cusack was interesting as a reluctant mentor with more than a bit of a cad in him, but enough honor to tell the truth.
The message was genuine, if not exactly earth-moving. Just because you want to be good at something doesn’t mean you will be. Growing up is hard. Your idols might not be what you expect.
I laughed out loud during some scenes. I clapped at the end. I wished that it had gotten more of a chance with widespread theatrical release, maybe gain some word of mouth for Roberts’ performance.
“Adult World” had some pleasing quirkiness to it.
“Adult World” was pretty good.
Here’s the source for the movie poster.