Director: James Ponsoldt
Stars: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler
Release date: Sometime this summer
Movies about teenagers don't have to be idiotic. Case in point: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, last year's resonant, brilliantly acted sleeper hit about a tortured high school kid's (Logan Lerman) coming-of-age around a new group of eclectic friends. Treating his youthful characters with the respect filmmakers usually reserve for older protagonists, writer-director Stephen Chbosky (who also wrote the original novel) made an adult film that worked for younger and older audiences.
In 2013, filmmaker James Ponsoldt (the writer-director of last year's criminally slept-on Smashed) is keeping progress alive and well with The Spectacular Now, an adaptation of novelist Tim Tharp's book about a hard-partying guy (rising star Miles Teller) who reevaluates his life after connecting with a cute, sci-fi-loving outcast (Shailene Woodley, your future Mary Jane Watson in next year's Amazing Spider-Man sequel).
Following its triumphant Sundance premiere last weekend, The Spectacular Now was swiftly picked up for summer 2013 distribution by the burgeoning A24 (the company that's behind Spring Breakers and The Bling Ring, both found elsewhere on this list). Expect to hear plenty more enthusiastic claims about it in the coming months.