“Captain America 2”. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”. “X-Men”…what is it, 7? “Guardians of the Galaxy”. Another “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. And should we include “The Expendables 3”, a live-action “Hercules”, and the latest blockbuster in Michael Bay’s mega-grossing “Transformers” series. Call it what you want, but with all either already open, or coming soon(from now through August)to a theater near you…I’m going to label it a virtual glut of SLAM-BANG-POW! We are most certainly in the midst of the “golden age” of superhero films, and part of that is okay. Some of them are quite good. And they can even be extremely artistic, as Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy proved. However, it gets exhausting. Eventually, for the more seasoned audiences, enough is enough. And that’s why I’ve championed springtime releases like “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Under the Skin” in 2014. And come July, we’ll finally get to experience Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”. It’s been a 12 year wait.
Why, so long? First of all, be sure to watch the trailer above for a quick synopsis. It briefly details what Linklater has set out to do. And with raves and wins already, at various film festivals around the world, it appears he was successful. What I know about the “Boyhood” plot is very basic. A struggling, and eventually estranged, couple are raising their young son in 21st century Austin, Texas(Mr. Linklater’s home city). The story takes place over the course of twelve years. It stars Linklater regular Ethan Hawke(the “Before” trilogy, “Waking Life”, “Tape”)as the dad, and Patricia Arquette as the mom. The son is played by Ellar Coltrane…and that’s where the intrigue lies. Mr. Linklater had the ambitious notion, to chronicle a relationship and the rearing of a young child…in real time. So, he cast Master Coltrane in 2002, when Ellar was around 7, and has been gathering his actors and crew for a few weeks annually, so that we can watch Ellar Coltrane grow before our eyes to the ripe old age of 18—through the magic of cinema. Wow. This one sounds really special.
Now, in the hands of a lesser director…maybe not as big of a deal. But with Richard Linklater at the helm, this is most likely the cinematic event of the summer season. Richard burst onto the indie scene in 1991 with “Slacker”, and soon followed it with the iconic “Dazed and Confused” in ’93. The latter was a launching pad for current stars like, Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams. Chapter 1 in the “Before” series debuted in 1995, followed by its sequels in 2004 and 2013. Along the way, there have been popular and/or critical favorites like “School of Rock”, “A Scanner Darkly”, “Me and Orson Welles” and “Bernie”. The prospect of this motion picture reminds me of my intense anticipation for “The Tree of Life” in 2011. And then for “Moonrise Kingdom” in 2012. Followed, of course, by Linklater’s own “Before Midnight” just last year. All three of those features, I’ll remind you, placed at or near the top of each of my annual Ten Best lists, respectively. Richard Linklater takes the forefront again in 2014, with a project that sounds like one for the ages. So, superheroes be damned! “Boyhood” is the summer epic I’m yearning for the most!