Trailer Of The Week: The Wackness

Trailer of the Week is a little weekly column I plan on tackling from here on out that covers some really good movie trailers for films that might have gone under your radar. Sometimes, a film gets a kick ass trailer and ends up being complete garbage and vice versa. With Trailer of the Week, I plan on tackling film trailers of all genres, from romance and comedy to foreigns and horror.

I won’t have a time cap on it either, so expect films from the past ten to twenty years or even this past year. My goal is to introduce a variety of well-made trailers, for hopefully well made films, but that isn’t always the case. In addition to the trailer I hope to give the viewer a rundown on the film, from its box office success to its troubles getting financing. I want you to leave the post wanting to check out the film or at least having a sense of enjoyment from viewing the trailer. So sit back and strap in for the ride!

The Wackness is director Jonathan Levine‘s (50/50) second feature film and probably the first one seen stateside, since his first film, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane has still yet to come out in the U.S. With The Wackness, he manages to tackle the whole coming of age sub-genre with slick visuals, an honest story and a great soundtrack, which features tons of old school rap hits. The film is set in New York, more specifically the summer of 1994. The film follows Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck) as he dabbles in love for the first time, while dealing drugs and while seeing a shrink, who he also deals drugs to.

What the trailer does very well is set the tone of the film. Coming of age films can be hard to sell in the trailer, because there isn’t much action to show off or too many moments of hilarity. There are a few funny moments in the film, but what makes it truly shine are its characters and how honest and real they are. The trailer focuses on these characters; played by Josh Peck, Olivia Thirlby and Ben Kingsley, all of whom deliver exceptional performances.

Peck breaks out in The Wackness and really plays the tough and confident on the outside, emotional and real on the inside, very well. His character is generally likable and very relatable. Who hasn’t fallen for that girl that just wanted a quick fling? Who hasn’t been down in the dumps in life and just wanted something or someone to care for? Peck really gets personal as Luke and I honestly didn’t think he had it in him to play such a serious role, but he did it and he did it with ease!

Another thing the trailer focuses on is the rap music, which plays a very pivotal part in the film. It essentially brings everything together, from the relationship between Luke and his doctor, Mr. Squires (Ben Kingsley) and the relationship between Luke and the girl of his dreams, Stephanie (Olivia Thirlby). I thought the choice of music was excellent and the trailer includes a few of the tracks, which help give you a sample for the film.

What really impressed me with The Wackness was how Levine blended all of these things into making a perfect film. The characters all have enough detail and emotion, the story is full of real life situations that we’ve all been through and the music and visuals help form it into something of its own. The film has several unique shots throughout the film, like Peck dreaming on a subway or dancing down the street, which is shown in the trailer. It’s these little touches that helps make for a different feel, one that hasn’t been done before.

The Wackness was released limited and only ended up grossing about $2 million in the U.S., which wasn’t anything amazing, but it never really expanded too wide. While I enjoyed it in theaters, I almost think it would be even better to discover on home video. It’s the perfect movie to rent and really enjoy. It has a little bit of everything for everyone. It’s a very universal film that touches on a lot of issues people deal with in life, without ever getting too down or depressing. It tackles said situations in a lighter manner, while still pulling on a few emotional strings.

The trailer captures the film perfectly. It balances the drama, comedy and music really well, with the occasional unique shot thrown in like I noted above. I strongly suggest you check out the trailer below! If you enjoy it then by all means rent or buy the film. It’s a surprise hit that came and went back in 2008 without much of a fuss. It proves that Jonathan Levine is a fantastic director and someone who you should have a close eye kept on at all times.

If you liked the trailer and the idea of Trailer of the Week, please feel free to drop a comment with some ideas for what to do next or how you’d like me to format it. This is the first one, so it might take a few to adjust!