The thing about film festivals is that, if you’re not in attendance, you can learn a lot about the films that premiered there through word of mouth or written reviews, without ever having seen any of the film besides a still or a poster. Movies can become the most anticipated releases of their respective seasons without having premiered a trailer or a clip. Case in point: The Spectacular Now, which received rave reviews out of the Sundance Film Festival, already has an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes (albeit from only seven critics) and has made it onto countless summer movie lists (including Crushable’s), but hasn’t actually premiered a trailer until today. But it finally debuted on MTV, and I’m excited.
The movie stars Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, who are also co-starring in the upcoming adaptation of young adult book series Divergent. Shailene has proven quite the YA queen, since she’s also starring in an adaptation The Fault of Our Stars, plus this very movie we’re discussing is based on a young adult novel by Tim Tharp. Both Shailene and Miles won the Special Jury Prize for acting out of Sundance. Miles plays Sutter, a partying high schooler who lives in the “now” (title, anyone?) but falls for the more pragmatic “nice girl” Aimee, played by Shailene. We’ve seen this kind of story before (A Walk to Remember comes to mind), but this one looks different. Critics have praised its maturity and believability, something that’s hard to accomplish in a climate of high school movies that depict teens as stupid partiers and sex-obsessed idiots. John Hughes’ name has even been brought up, which in the world of high school movies it like bringing up Jesus.
From what I can glean from the trailer, Shailene Woodley looks like she’s really separating herself from a little show called The Secret Life of the American Teenager and establishing herself as a up-and-coming talent. I thought she was great in The Descendents, so I have high hopes. I also think the dialogue and situations seem authentic. The trailer of course features the requisite poppy music and general drama, but that’s to be expected, so it doesn’t dampen my anticipation. Get excited, because the movie’s set for an August 2 release.