Class Action Park

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Class Action Park
Class Action Park Digital Poster.png
Digital poster
Directed by
Produced by
  • Michael Garber
  • Chris M. Johnston
  • Chris Lyon
  • Seth Porges
Narrated byJohn Hodgman
Cinematography
  • Rob Senska
  • Chris M. Johnston
Edited by
  • Chris Lyon
  • Chris M. Johnston
Music byThe Holladay Brothers
Production
companies
  • Pinball Party Productions
  • Strategery Films
  • Warner Max
Distributed byHBO Max
Release dates
Running time
90 minutes
LanguageEnglish

Class Action Park is a 2020 documentary film. The documentary's subject is the American amusement park Action Park, which was located in Vernon Township, New Jersey and was known for the popularity it had among locals and infamous for the poor safety record of the attractions located on its grounds.[2][3][4]

The film premiered virtually at the 2020 Florida Film Festival and was released a week later on HBO Max.

The film premiered on TNT on December 27, 2021.[5]

Plot[edit]

Class Action Park begins by chronicling the life of penny stockbroker Eugene Mulvihill, who is described as having become rich from pump-and-dump schemes. It outlines his path to opening Vernon Township's Action Park in 1978. He envisioned it as a park with "no rules".[6]

The first two-thirds of the film features former Action Park guests and employees reflecting on the park's more dangerous rides, such as the Cannonball Loop, the SuperSpeed Waterfalls, the Alpine Slides and the Tarzan Swings, and reflects on the park itself and its general atmosphere and culture. The life of Eugene Mulvihill is also chronicled, including a discussion of his legal issues, which often involved Action Park. For example, a land dispute with the state of New Jersey is said to have been resolved after the state got tired of dealing with him.[7][8]

The last third of the film focuses on the dangers of Action Park by chronicling the deaths that occurred there, as well as documenting the story of George Larsson Jr.'s death while riding the Alpine Slides in 1980, which was the first death at Action Park. It was covered up by the park in order to avoid reporting his death to New Jersey authorities. It was claimed that they didn't need to, as he was not a member of the general public. Action Park claimed that Larsson died as an employee of the park riding the slide at night during a rain shower, but in fact, all three claims were untrue.[9][3] The suggestion that Mulvihill corrupted Vernon Township officials during Action Park's existence is also mentioned, as are the downfall of the park and Mulvihill's death. The film ends with the interviewees reflecting on Action Park as a whole, with one stating that its vision continues to live on in schemes such as Fyre Festival and Theranos. Another calls it an '80s movie in real life that will never happen again. Footage of George Larsson Jr.'s parents visiting his grave is shown.

The film also mentions that Donald Trump considered investing in the park at one point, but backed out after finding Mulvihill's vision for the park to be too risky.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Class Action Park was the number one film on HBO Max for the week following its premiere date of August 27,2020.[12] The film has been praised by many critics for pointing out the dark side of the park and talking about the people who died at the park, as opposed to glorifying the park's nostalgia. [13][14][3] As of October 2021, 96% of the 52 reviews compiled on Rotten Tomatoes are positive, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Disturbing and thrilling in equal measure, Class Action Park is a raucous chronicle of the infamous water park that was as beloved as it was dangerous."[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Class Action Park preceded by Patty, Are You Bringing Weed In From Jamaica?". Florida Film Festival. August 20, 2020. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  2. ^ "'Class Action Park' Remembers The Perils Of A Really Good Time". NPR.org. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Bailey, Jason (September 1, 2020). "'Class Action Park' Review: Thanks for the Injuries". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  4. ^ Jackson, Dan. "All the Wildest Stories From HBO Max's Dangerous Theme Park Doc 'Class Action Park'". Thrillist. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  5. ^ "TBS and TNT Launch Front Row a Limited Commercial Interruption Programming Destination".
  6. ^ Syme, Rachel. "The Thrills and Horrors of HBO's "Class Action Park"". The New Yorker. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Greenblatt, Leah (August 25, 2020). "HBO Max theme-park documentary 'Class Action Park' is a wild ride: Review". EW.com. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  8. ^ Phillips, Michael (August 31, 2020). "You must be this high to ride…". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  9. ^ Rosen, Christopher (August 27, 2020). "A Theme Park So Dangerous Even Donald Trump Thought It Was Nuts". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  10. ^ Hughes, Josiah (August 31, 2020). "Fantasia Review: 'Class Action Park' Is Funny but Lacking in Empathy Directed by Seth Porges and Chris Charles Scott III". exclaim.ca. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c Phillips, Michael (August 28, 2020). "'Class Action Park' review: Welcome back to the world's most dangerous waterpark". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  12. ^ NJ.com, Amy Kuperinsky | NJ Advance Media for (September 4, 2020). "'Class Action Park' documentary wins big, becoming No. 1 film on HBO Max". nj. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  13. ^ "'Class Action Park' Remembers The Perils Of A Really Good Time". NPR.org. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  14. ^ "Notorious Action Park in New Jersey is topic of new HBO documentary". TODAY.com. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  15. ^ "Class Action Park (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 10, 2021.

External links[edit]