‘Young Adult’: Trailer Reaction

In Blog on October 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm

So, the other day, Paramount released the trailer to dream team Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody’s latest, “Young Adult.”

About a young adult author who comes back to her high school hometown to win back an old flame, the film looks promising and like a must-see.

I know many have gripes against Cody’s work, but I think she’s a genius. And I think it speaks to a lot of the culture of folks who think they can criticize working writers about their work that the trailer’s received some backlash in comments.

I can’t reminder if I was sold on screenwriting before “Juno,” but definitely after seeing it, I realized how much of a beautiful artform it is. Cody’s dialogue, though now the butt of jokes, was inspiring, different and daring at the time.

“Juno” maintains this level of timelessness, with its “honest to blog” line the only thing dating it. That, and, I guess, the ultrasound scene.

I love that I can’t tell what “Young Adult” will be about. I’ve been playing a guessing game in my head the past few days over what possibly could come from this movie.

I think it carries with it so much of “United States of Tara”‘s feel. And I think it’s important for trailer-viewers to understand what Cody’s writing is like in a post-“Juno” world.

Maybe some of the anonymous critics — and some of the folks in my screenwriting class freshman year — don’t understand that, disregarding the dialogue, “Juno” tells such a fantastic, original and touching story that really earns all of its praise.

Sure, now, in 2011, it’s a film that you could probably pick up in Walmart for two bucks, but, to me, it’s a defining moment in my life as a teenager and as something interested in the film industry and in music.

Before “Juno,” I didn’t even realize how much I enjoyed and appreciated lo-fi and folk music. I hold very strong connections to pop music, and I’d say even still, my pop music backgrounds sway the kind of music I find enjoyable — I want it to have a definable chorus, I want to dance to it, I want to feel either sad or happy. But when my friend Chloe’ bought me the soundtrack for my 17th birthday, it just epitomized that time in my life.

I turned 17. I appreciated more “alternative rock” music. And I loved everything about “Juno.”

Anyway, all of this doesn’t deter from the fact that we’ve grown so accustomed to trailers dictating our view of the film that when we see a trailer that just glimpses into a film almost episodically, we’re thrown off, we’re detached, we’re prone to negative criticism.

Ever since I heard Reitman and Cody would combine their forces together to create a magical film, I knew I’d fall for it hard. I knew that once Charlize Theron was thrown into mix — “Monster” is one of those films that I know I’m a big fan of, I just haven’t actually seen it, yet — that I’d back the project even more. And who could forget “Little Children”‘s Patrick Wilson? Wow, was he snubbed back in that awards season.

I appreciate the trailer for leaving the direction the film will take until its theatrical viewing. There’s nothing wrong with that. “Thank You for Smoking” seemed like a movie too old for me, playing on ironies. “Juno” seemed like a quirky teen comedy. “Up in the Air” seemed like a George Clooney flick with that chick from “The Departed.”

But over time, those trailers turned into films that I saw and appreciated and with which I identified. “Thank You for Smoking” turned into a battle between journalists and ad agencies. “Juno” transformed into a tale of identity struggles. “Up in the Air” became a forlorn warning about the economy’s downward spiral and created now-household names, to me, at least, of its brilliant cast.

Reitman’s films consistently go against what his trailers suggest. That’s a part of his style. That’s a part of why you go see the movie. The marketing lures you in so you can see how the marketing contradicts the film itself. “Up in the Air” isn’t about flying. “Juno” isn’t about stripes. “Young Adult” isn’t about a lustful, washed up YA author.

There’s nuance there, and the trailer suggests it, if you keep your eyes out for it. The vulnerability in its final shot displays something opposite of Theron-Patton Oswalt dialogue that permeates throughout the rest of the trailer, something more indie-dramatic than what folks think they’ll expect from a Cody script.

I hope that as the trailer’s naysayers learn more about the film, they’ll come to realize how interesting, unique and daring the film might actually be. I read a piece about Reitman wanting his films to go on the darker side. If “Up in the Air” doesn’t make you feel lonely and helpless — and eventually hopefully — then I don’t know what could do it; at least you’re laughing through it, as well.

I hope “Young Adult” calls feelings of sadness and unsettling while conjuring hilarious moments to humanize it and make it more realistic. The film can’t go wrong as a Reitman-directed, Cody-written and J.K. Simmons-narrated story. It simply can’t. And we should be so lucky that Reitman and Cody give us another film in the future.

Oh, and “United States of Tara” taught me that there’s more to Oswalt’s performances than he reveals surfacely. Maybe we expect Wilson to have the biggest impact on the film, but I’m certain Oswalt will have stealing dramatic — and, predictably so, hilarious — moments throughout.

Five stars. Will watch again. Plus, who can get enough of David Bowie? Answer: No one.

Check out what the heck I’m a-talkin’ about here:


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