People who go to movie festivals do not see the same movie twice at the same movie festival. It’s just not done. There are scores of films to watch, and no time to waste watching a movie for a second time. But that’s exactly what I did at the 2007 Sundance Festival (before I was banned). I saw a movie called Rocket Science starring a bunch of then nobodies, including Anna Kendrick, Nicholas D’Agostino, Margo Martindale, Dennis O’Hare and a few other people who are still not well known. For whatever reason, I connected with that movie on such a deep and profound level that I couldn’t wait six or nine more months to see it released in theaters. I had to see it again in the same week.
I regret nothing.
For the bumbling stammerers among you who often nursed dreams well beyond your talents in high school, Rocket Science is like a lovesick salve. It is basically a perfect Clem Snide song distilled into cinematic form. It’s not for everyone, but it was for me.
It also came from Jeffrey Blitz, the director of what is still one of my all-time favorite documentaries, Spellbound, which followed eight awkward teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee. Blitz is brilliant, although most of his work post-Rocket Science has been in television: He’s directed some of the best episode of The Office, the Playing House pilot, and every single episode of the sublime Review.
He’s finally returning to feature filmmaking for the first time since 2007, and again, he’s bringing along Anna Kendrick, whose first major role was in Rocket Science (she was amazing), which led to her being cast in Twilight, which basically led her to a very successful career that has included, so far, an Oscar nomination for Up in the Air and a franchise in Pitch Perfect. She’ll also star in Mike and Dave Need a Wedding Date this weekend. This movie, Table 19 — written by Mark and Jay Duplass — is set for release in January 2017. I’d tell you what it’s about, but the trailer spells it out for you. It also stars Craig Robinson, Lisa Kudrow, and also other people.