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The Jaw-Dropping Documentary That's Taking Over HBO Max Right Now

There is an exhilarating chunk of our lifetime when we feel invincible. A segment of time when we do nothing but slurp down soda, chomp on corn dogs, and cheer, as we freefall through fifteen feet of air and into a murky pool. That teenage spirit was embodied in full by a New Jersey amusement park known as Action Park, which became the stuff of urban myths. And now, thanks to a new documentary, audiences are being reintroduced to a time period that may never exist again — when you could lose a tooth in a fiberglass loop-de-loop, and just walk it off. 

Since its debut on August 27th, the HBO Max original documentary Class Action Park has dominated the streaming platform's charts. It has been the service's #1 movie since it debuted, and it ranks #3 among all subscribers, just behind Lovecraft Country and John Oliver's Last Week Tonight. Rotten Tomatoes has the documentary Certified Fresh, and search engines are lighting up with inquiries into "Action Park." The film's confessionals from park-goers are both exciting and terrifying, but as revealing as these interviews are, the documentary also employs a significant amount of investigative journalism: Filmmakers dug through documents and old home videos, combining them with original animations to create a clearer picture of Action Park, the not-so-safe attraction from a bygone era.

Class Action Park will keep you gasping

Waterslides are fun, but nowadays, there is a numbing sensation that washes over you as you climb the stairs, past the warning signs and legal mumbo jumbo. Your excitement gets dulled by the knowledge that thousands (or millions) of dollars have been spent to ensure that your ride experience will have you pop out the other side, unharmed. The danger element no longer exists. Action Park, as it was, would be unable to exist in this new millennium. 

Back then, though, the amusement park was considered a haven for wild teenagers. A place where the youth could roam wild and untethered. The founder, Eugene Mulvihill, eventually came under hot water for labor law violations, and began drowning in financial suits: no surprise, given the man tested his new rides by offering teenage employees $100 to jump down a dark tube lathered up with hose water, as described by North Jersey. The documentary leaves you flabbergasted when you learn that the park's downfall was not even its substantial injury output — if anything, the danger involved with the park only seemed to drum up more business (for a while, anyway). Meanwhile, alcohol flowed freely, both in kiosks and mixed with iodine in spray bottles that were used to disinfect scrapes and bruises. According to Weird NJ, the park even bought the local hospital some additional ambulances, in order to help them keep up with all the injured patrons sent their way. 

If you lived in the New Jersey area, you most likely knew someone who was injured at "Accident Park," and this documentary will bring back memories. 

A waterslide for the 21st century

Chances are, most people won't be able to go to a water park again for some time — and definitely not one that risks severe personal injury. Thus, HBO Max's Class Action Park is a refreshing way to experience one of the most dangerous parks to ever exist, while comfortably sitting a safe distance from your fridge. After all, even if things someday return to normal, it's unlikely most people will be rushing to float down a lazy river, crowded with other people, when it's so much easier (and safer) to lounge around in a bathtub, with pizza pockets and a box of red wine, watching other people get hurt, instead. This documentary encapsulates the entire ordeal perfectly, by properly presenting the nostalgia involved with engaging in a waltz with danger, while also highlighting the horrific neglect behind the scenes, which led to some dark times for the park. 

Class Action Park is available now, to anyone with an HBO Max subscription.