..Alpine Slide burn?
This documentary follows former staff and park goers of a water/amusement park in Vernon, New Jersey that was opened from 1978 to 1996. It was known for its dangerous rides, consistently uninterested teenage staff, and a healthy flow of booze to aid park goers in their dumb fuckery. It was essentially the first big American water park and judging by all the injuries and deaths that came from it, it's incredible that it was allowed to go on for as long as it did. Don't worry, there's an explanation for that to.
After being so bitterly disappointed in I'm Thinking of Ending Things, I turned on HBO Max for this as it had been on my recommended page for a few days, and let me tell you, this is exactly what I needed. I had never heard of Action Park before watching this so it was all new to me. Everyone in the documentary is super engaging and the cheap animation they used to reenact some of the rides was a funny touch. The amount of crimes being broken during all of this was staggering. From fake insurance, to paying teenagers to test the rides, to pulling teeth from some of the safety pads and having to paint the bottom of one of the pools white so lifeguards could spot bodies more easily, some of this stuff was truly out of this world.
But of course, it's not all fun and games and more than one person died at the park. One person's family is interviewed to bring us back to reality after an hour of bafflement. That's the one part the documentary struggles, the tone for the last 20 minutes or so is a bit weird because we're talking about something serious, but a few of the previous interviewees are still talking about how nostalgic they are for the part. Alison Becker saying that it was sort of like "If you can't take it, get out of Jersey" then cutting to the family going to the cemetery to visit their son's grave was a bit strange.
I haven't seen many documentaries yet this year but this is easily my favorite of what I have seen. I can't recommend this enough.
Memorable Quote: "And if you can't swim....yikes." - Faith Anderson