Tag Archives: HBO Max

Throwback Thursday: Action Park!

I never actually went to Action Park — the infamously dangerous 80’s-era  amusement park in Vernon Township, New Jersey.  But the name alone conjures childhood memories because it was a perennial source of rumors and urban legends for kids at the time.  (And we all lived a few hours away in Eastern Long Island.)  I remember the commercials too.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard the name mentioned since that time.  (The park closed in 1996, in part because of the same recession that was giving my generation so much anxiety in our first  post-college job searches.)

So I was surprised when a friend in Britain, of all places, sent me the first video below.  Not only does Action Park’s infamy live on, it extends across the Atlantic.

Anyway, it turns out that the park was one dangerous place.  There was even a 2020 documentary about it on HBO Max.


A short review of “Station Eleven” (2022)

If you are a fan of apocalyptic thrillers, as I am, then HBO Max’ “Station Eleven” might disappoint — its truly unnerving initial episodes gradually give way to the character-driven drama that I’m sure are the focus its source material.  (I haven’t read Emily St. John Mandel’s internationally bestselling novel, but I loved this miniseries so much that I plan to.  And the book gets glowing recommendations from that most erudite of sources, my Mary Washington College alums.)

The show is still incredibly good.  I’d rate it a perfect 10 for being a beautifully scripted, surprising, moving and original story that leans heavily into the themes that presumably spring from the book.  I can’t remember the last time I was as emotionally invested in the survivors of an end-of-the-world tale.  (Other reviewers have wisely observed that it’s surprisingly hopeful for a story about a flu that wipes out humanity.)

As far as its themes go, your mileage may vary with how well they resonate.  It is very much about the power of art.  (Here’s a treat for comic fans — its central plot device is an in-universe, self-published graphic novel that is has nothing to do with the plague.)  “Station Eleven” seems to have a few optimistic things to say about human nature — and about the possibility of reconnecting with people who are important to us.  (The former was a little less plausible to a cynic like me.  I honestly believe that shallow, aloof or selfish people do not become less so after calamity strikes.)

I highly recommend this.  It really is a successful example of experimental, genre-busting storytelling.