Snack Shack

snack shack
snack shack
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Snack Shack is Adam Rehmeier’s latest film (The Bunny Game, Dinner in America with Kyle Gallner). The coming-of-age comedy draws heavily from his own life growing up in Nebraska and while not a simple pastiche that explores universal experiences of the era and films of the genre. This script might seem familiar to some audience because of its structure. However, it is the characters who are really brought out by a talented cast that make this film one that could be a new cult classic.

Set during summer 1991, Snack Shack follows AJ (Conor Sherry) and Moose (Gabriel LaBelle), best friends on the verge of starting high school. These two have an incredible knack for get-rich-quick schemes as well as a keen eye for business but they always seem to fall short and disappoint their families who consider them losers and troublemakers. They decide to buy the snack shack at the public pool and run it through summer which seemed like a bad idea at first but turned out to be quite profitable.

AJ’s new neighbor Brooke (Mika Abdalla) moves in next door, takes up a job as a lifeguard at the pool, causing both young men to begin competing for her favor. Not only do they find themselves falling in love with her but also have established what they want to achieve in life–if anything–and whether or not they should cling together forever or go different ways.

Snack Shack is on one hand just another coming-of age story. However, most Hollywood movies about YA have transitioned away from traditional coming-of age themes, usually being designed into an action blockbuster such as MCU Spider-Man movies or fantasy/sci-fi like The Hunger Games. Yet, it would appear that there are fewer films being made about average kids than before. That’s why it seems slightly antithetical that this movie set firmly in 1991 is targeting both the modern-day children and kids growing up during that period, thereby proving these emotions universal.

Snack Shack is a clever twist on an R-rated crass version of a classic Nickelodeon live-action sitcom. In fact, it feels like a modern day version of The Adventures of Pete & Pete on Nickelodeon (ironically, the TV show debuted around 1991, which is when this movie is set). This script could easily have been toned down for an even younger audience to enjoy but instead shows what usually happens to those preteens after their media made them do stuff they wouldn’t express.

Most YA media has teenagers as the main characters but they are not allowed to speak like teenagers actually do since that would be inappropriate, ironically. They constantly curse in Snack Shack and act tough because it’s cool for young people, especially when trying to impress others or make themselves feel like they have control over their own lives.

Their roles are well performed by the young cast. After appearing in The Fabelmans, Gabriel LaBelle became a sensation as an actor and it seemed that he was ignored for an Oscar nomination in that role. Moose is not Sammy Fabelman at all. In contrast to his previous character who spoke softly and looked weakling, here the actor is playing a wise guy who’s always ad-libbing but winning. With anyone else starring as this character, he would have been so unlovable but LaBelle gave him a charm that even in his most annoying moments you fall for him. Today, LaBelle has established himself as one of the most exciting young actors alive today.

The movie mainly revolves around Conor Sherry’s A.J., who does an incredible job shifting from being more casual with friends to having deeper conversations when forced to find his own identity without their presence. He has no idea what he wants to be yet and this conflict between what people want him to do and what he desires is well played by Sherry.

Sherry’s AJ and Labell’s Moose have a certain cinematic chemistry that feels organic through which they act just like other cherished teenage relationships on TV like Seth & Evan from Superbad, Amy & Molly from Booksmart or Cameron & Ferris from Ferris Buller’s Day Off.

“The girl next door” character is Brooke, played by Mika Abdalla; she may be the most intriguing thing about this release but also its weakest point. This is not her fault though as she portrays the part excellently as a screen personality. It has more relevance in relation to the screenplay than anything else. Brooke forms a key figure while serving as a wedge between these boys’ friendship hence becomes some sort of object in their lives . But there isn’t any time put aside for her alone where audience sees into her life .This then means we’d end up with something along the lines of (500) Days of Summer or any other film where the point is that the lead female character is just comprised of stereotypes seen by a guy; but that film has been critiqued for this very reason.

Yet, there is a kind of self-awareness here, making it hard to tell whether these are intentional faults or things are not working. Does Brooke have no story outside boys’ perspective? Is she meant as a comment on how immature young men treat women? Or does the script have nothing else in mind for her but being used as an instrument to break them up?

Abdallah stands out as being a gifted actor; that’s why we identify Brooke as she is present. There can be no doubt that the chemistry between her, LaBelle, and Sherry is amazing. The three have such perfect timing with each other that the movie flies by like a great party where you are just enjoying everyone’s company. Shane, played by Nick Robinson in particular provides this especially for his character who becomes an older brother to the boys but also lightens up any scene he is in. Any script shortcomings can be easily compensated because everybody act so much fun.

Summer is amazing. For movie lovers, summer cinema has always been a blast but when you’re a kid it’s something totally different. It means freedom from the daily grind of school; it means time to just relax and enjoy ourselves: No responsibilities for many people At first summer starts with bangs but later on there is always this haunting fear of its end coming eventually. These are exactly the reasons why summer makes for such an awesome background in coming-of-age stories since it often signifies freedom before stepping into reality and growing up.

When Snack Shack begins, neither Tad nor Ethan seems to separate from one another at all, they are inseparable friends who depend on each other for everything even work which referred to them as ‘package deal.’ However, as the movie continues both characters begin realizing that they have different aspirations and wants than their partner does whereas Brooke has had greatest impact on this realization but not too much according to her.

Robinson’s Shane was a big part of the film as he returned home from a short stay in the armed forces during Desert Storm. His story acts like parallel to what happens to boys since everyone looks up to him because he seems like he has his life figured out already. In particular, A.J.’s voice of reason becomes Mr Shane and they want go away next year without Moose involved in their plans as well. This was not an intentional decision but rather a way of breaking the routine, especially for A.J., failing to realize that what seems unimportant to him may seem like the world to Moose. Change is hard and can be difficult to accept.

The Snack Shack is like a sequel in spirit to 2009’s Adventureland. Besides both films having the obvious ‘job’ element during summertime, there is a definite air of sadness knowing that this is only one moment in time which will ultimately end someday. Snack Shack is an appealing character study about youthfulness; it could apply to anyone who ever had an enjoyable summer. Maybe not all people can relate exactly with many others circumstances depicted here but their feelings are universal ones at least. Snack Shack makes for a great double bill with Dazed and Confused for a cool relaxed summer evening after spring break; it also stands alone as an enjoyable coming-of-age movie with amazing characters.

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