Starring in ‘Adult World,’ Emma Roberts, John Cusack, the city of Syracuse …

The Palace Theatre on James Street was not in 'Adult World.' But it could have been.

The Palace Theatre on James Street was not in ‘Adult World.’ But it could have been.

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.

Movie poster (From

Movie poster (From

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.

31 thoughts on “Starring in ‘Adult World,’ Emma Roberts, John Cusack, the city of Syracuse …

  1. This is the first of my catching up. I may not comment on all the pieces, but I just want to let you know that I’m reading. Haha.

    Glad you enjoyed the movie. You know I loved it already. Syracuse does look beautiful on the big screen. Let’s hope for more cameos in the future.


    • I indeed recall your piece about ‘Adult World,’ sir. It had enough quirk for both of us.

      I think Syracuse, she does look pretty and different than the usual background player. Let us hope that attracts the eyes of those who see the world through a square made by their fingers.


  2. Well this is not the first time Syracuse has been touched with movie greatness. I was there for Paul Newman’s “Slap Shot” at the War Memorial. 😉

    Will “Adult World” be shown around the country? With its star-studded cast, I’d expect so.


    • It’s already at the on-demand stage, so I’d expect next step is DVD, Judy. It bypassed the regular nationwide theatrical run for some reason.

      Yes, Paul Newman at the War Memorial with those darling Hanson brothers. One of the best sports movies ever. You are fortunate to have been there for the shooting!


    • Find it when it comes out on DVD, Beth, for it is exactly the quirky kind that you always tell us about so well. I hope more movies will be shot in Syracuse, but it doesn’t happen every year, that’s for sure, not with big name actors like this one.


  3. I am going to see if our library has this one, Mark! They get fairly popular and quirky movies, rather quickly! Some go out as “Boomerang’s” that have to be back in 3 days and others in 7! Thanks for this candid review. I will look closely at Syracuse in its beauty and background, the back drop for “Adult World.” I love Emma in a few of her young roles, and always like John Cusack. He was good with Billy Bob Thornton in the air traffic comptroller role, pretty crazy and varied, talented actor! Thanks for this review!


  4. You know what Mark?
    I am a film snob.
    (and a drunk)
    Not certain ‘witch’ one, of the two, takes precarious precedence, but… you write well.
    Swell, in fact.
    I have but one request: (and this is a ‘leap’)
    Write a review…of a movie, I admire.
    Make me feel young again!

    Now, here is a challenge:

    Write a review of Zeffirelli’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, or ‘Taming of the Shrew’, or ‘Hamlet’.
    Then…then! I will try to foment some comment, I may embrace.
    (Till then, I do love the way you have taken your Nineteen-Fifteen-seven’s-so much farther than mine.)

    (And, Mark: I do not comprise…to make you despise… it it just that I am having a really bad relationship with my sanity–it will pass–she’ll get tired and I will wear her down.)
    i.e., Mark: this ain’t personal.
    (I do fear, My Good Friend, that you occasionally take my words ‘personally”)
    If you ever realize how funny that is to me….

    P.S. Mark: Please delete this comment soon: it should have a short half-life.


  5. The whole time I was reading your post, I was waiting for your leading question to be something like: Have you ever had a movie filmed in your hometown? And I was gearing up to reply, “Why, yes, Mark, I have. Edward Scissorhands was filmed here in my hometown of Lakeland, FL. However, I am actually the one female in the world who is not a Johnny Depp fan, and I have never seen the movie. Thank you for asking.” But since you did NOT ask that, all I can say now is, “What a great review, Mark! Now I need to go see Adult World for myself. You were right, in that I did enjoy Labor Day, so I trust your judgment. Thanks for the recommendation. Great post! 😀 “


  6. Hey Mark, Don’t have my gravatar set up or my new blog set up, but I’m back again. Kentucky Angel is flying once again by the seat of her pants, new email addy, and soon the site will be fixed with the gravatar and the bio, but at the moment I’m just letting people know I’m down a bit but not out. It’s amazing what two nights of sleep will do for a person. So my new email addy is on and I’ll probably have to pay again to customize my blog, but for now I’m just aiming at getting it set up to go full speed by Sunday. See ya then buddy.


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