This week, a mischievous 3rd grader from a popular book series debuts in theaters looking for "thrill points" - some of the most memorable ones found at a classic amusement park - in Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer. Of course, summer and amusement parks go together like movies and popcorn. Here, we recount ten more favorite movie memories spent in those great outdoor adventurelands!
Set in 1987 at a Pennsylvania amusement park aptly named Adventureland, this dramedy starring The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg and Twilight's Kristen Stewart feels so real that when Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" plays during the 4th of July Fireworks show, you'll swear you're right back there even if you were never alive in the Reagan era. It's the perfect movie moment.
A 12-year-old slaps a coin in the "Zoltar Speaks" carny machine, wishes he was 'big,' and the next thing you know, he's Tom Hanks. Made actually during the late '80s, it's still a potent mix of innocence and sentiment, and great fun for kids big and small.
Despicable Me (2010)
There's only a couple scenes set at the amusement park, but Despicable Me the movie, with the antics of super villian Gru softening under the touch of three orphans, warms into a rollicking summer time adventure. Plus, we can never get enough of Gru's crazy yellow minions.
National Lampooon's Vacation (1983)
Chevy Chase's finest moments on film (other than perhaps the Fletch movies) can be found in National Lampoon's Vacation, especially after his Clark Griswold finally reaches Wally World and hijacks John Candy's put-upon security guard. Who's the moosiest moose you know? Of course. Marty Moose. Throw in some Lindsey Buckingham, and get shaking down the "holiday road."
The second Jesse Eisenberg amusement park movie on our list is Zombieland. It features not only a super fun amusement park called Pacific Playland, but has Woody Harrelson as a zombie killer riding the roller coaster and machine gunning zombies at the same time. What's more fun that that?
Jeff Conaway may no longer be with us, but we'll always be together with him and Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta and Stockard Channing in the classic music number "We Go Together" during the school carnival. Once you watch it, you'll want to gather your friends and hightail it to your own local amusement park.
Jurassic Park (1993)
In the summer of 1993, dinosaurs did rule the earth in Steven Spielberg's groundbreaking Jurassic Park. Eighteen years later, these velociraptors and T-Rex are still more than capable of scaring the living daylights out of moviewatchers in sparkling, loud digital sound.
The Lost Boys (1987)
You might remember the actor at left (Alex Winter) from his role as Bill S. Preston in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. But in '87, he was tearing up the Santa Carla boardwalk alongside Kiefer Sutherland and some other cool vampires, looking MTV stylish eons before R-Patz and his crew.
Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
While admittedly not the best film in the Beverly Hills Cop canon, we still give Eddie Murphy and director John Landis brownie points for trying to throw in some summer fun and setting the finale at a cool-looking outdoor venue known as 'Wonderworld' (actually California's Great America, south of San Francisco).
The Jerk (1979)
Steve Martin is his own sort of amusement ride in the deliriously stupid comedy The Jerk. When the oblivious man-boy secures a job as a weight guesser in a traveling carnival, well, it's a match made in movie heaven. For some old-school laughs, this one's still a keeper.