Snack Shack

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Adam Carter Rehmeier’s film Snack Shack (2024) follows in the footsteps of Summer Days, Summer Nights (2018), Adventureland (2009) and a slew of other summer set coming-of-age dramas. Although it is highly derivative, Snack Shack has enough genuine heart to offer the viewer some legitimate escapism and even a few tearful moments. Snack Shack gets its mileage from the chemistry of its two leads, Conor Sherry and Gabriel LaBelle.

Snack Shack follows two fourteen year old buddies who, circa 1992, have taken over the titular vendor at the local public pool. Love triangles, bullies, and death are but a few of the highlights that await the two boys as they embark on the summer of their young lives. Unfortunately the plotting of the film is often predictable and narrative beats are anticipated long in advance. That the cast can make those beats feel urgent or relevant is a testament to the performers.

However, my biggest issue with Snack Shack is that there isn’t enough to signal the temporal setting of the film. The movie theater marquee advertising Terminator 2 is hardly visible and the many candy wrappers glimpsed failed to suggest the narrative moment. Personally I would have liked the films Conor Sherry watches in his bedroom to have all the grainy goodness of VHS.

The thing about movies like Snack Shack is that they either recreate a historic moment and tap into a popular nostalgia or they don’t. The success of the film is entirely dependent on the nostalgia of its audience. If it fails at this, the film becomes little more than a self-indulgence on the part of the filmmakers.