Also known as: Action Park (Canada – alternative title)
Release Date: August 20th, 2020 (Florida Film Festival)
Directed by: Seth Porges, Chris Charles Scott III
Music by: The Holladay Brothers
Cast: John Hodgman (narrator), Chris Gethard, Alison Becker, various
Pinball Party Productions, HBO, 90 Minutes
I wanted to watch this when I first saw the trailer for it months back. However, it was an HBO Max exclusive and I couldn’t get that app on my Amazon Firestick. I’m glad the two parties got that shit sorted out because now I have the app and therefore, access to this cool documentary about a defunct and pretty dangerous theme park.
Action Park wasn’t just dangerous, though, it became a place of legend. So much so, I knew about it in Florida when I was a kid from the few friends that moved to my state from New Jersey or others who had made it up there on a family trip.
The park actually served as inspiration for the Johnny Knoxville starring Action Point, which was a box office bomb but still looked kind of entertaining. I haven’t seen it yet but I might watch it soon after seeing this documentary about the actual source material.
This documentary did a great job of building nostalgia for the park it featured. While I personally have no first-hand knowledge of Action Park, the passion and the memories of those interviewed really came through, amazingly.
This goes through the founding and design of the park and it’s slapped together rides, as well as the problems it had, the shortcuts the owner took and all the dark stories that hadn’t been as widely known until now.
It’s the type of place I’d never send my kids to but if I was a kid, you’d bet your ass I’d sneak off and check it out regardless of my parents’ orders.
This was an energetic and endearing documentary and it made me feel kind of left out, as I never got to experience it for myself. Although, I grew up in Florida, the land of theme parks, and I probably won out in the end.
Pairs well with: the content on the YouTube channels Defunctland and Yesterworld, much of which has been featured here in Vids I Dig posts.