There's always so much to unpack about a movie trailer: the stars, the plot, how much of the plot is being totally given away. But in many cases, the part of the trailer that sticks with you the longest is the music. Be it a pop song or a piece or orchestral score, it's the music that most often makes a trailer.
This Week's Trailer: Our first look at This is Where I Leave You, the star-studded adaptation of Jonathan Tropper's novel about estranged siblings who reunite to sit Shiva after their father dies. (It opens September 12.)
This Week's Tune: "Home," a bombastic tearjerker by the indie band American Authors
How Literal Is It? Do you remember that blog Stuff White People Like? It explained why a certain type of white person loves things like fair trade coffee beans and My So-Called Life, and as a liberal-arts educated, middle-class white person myself, I can confirm that it was almost always accurate. And if that blog were still operating, This Is Where I Leave You would get its own entry. Because you guys? Seriously? This is a move about four adult siblings who express both their love and their fear with witty, literate monologues.
Based on what we see here, they're the kind of people who use sarcasm and pop culture references to mask their emotions, but when the stakes get high, they can still create a heartfelt moment. In other words, these people get to feel things like deep and sensitive poets, but they also get to enjoy the protective irony that keeps their feelings from appearing under-educated.
Even better, the siblings are played by Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Corey Stoll, and Adam Driver, and the cast also features Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Ari Graynor, Rose Byrne, Dax Shepard, and Jane Fonda. Just sit with that for a minute. This cast represents almost every television show that the cultured class has cared about in the last ten years. If someone could stick Anna Gunn and John Slattery in there, then The New Yorker would create a spinoff publication dedicated exclusively to this film. But you know what? That's fine with me! I love literate films about educated people trying to balance their primal feelings with their self-consciously cultivated minds. And I especially love it when those films treat that demographic---MY demographic---with affection.
If This Is Where I Leave You follows in the footsteps of The Daytrippers or Enough Said or Home for the Holidays, then you'd better believe I'll be streaming it from my living room on many Saturday mornings to come. With all of that said, American Authors is the perfect band to accompany this trailer. They're basically Imagine Dragons, what with their sweeping emotions and tight harmonies and loud-but-not-too-loud rock arrangements. And "Home," with its lyrics about going back where you belong, adds a literal lyrical element to the band's perfect spiritual union with the movie.
How Emotional Is It?
When you've got a scene where Jason Bateman expresses his desire for a "complicated life" while standing in an ice skating rink, you can't pair it with some wistful high school break-up tune. You need a power ballad that's bigger than the sky. You need a rock anthem made of wedding dresses and favorite photographs and rainstorms that disguise your tears. And that's just what "Home" delivers.
How Definitive Is It?
American Authors just had a pretty big hit with "Best Day of My Life," but they're not yet popular enough to be famous on their own. A movie like this, with its raft of stars, will end up defining the song, not the other way around.
Overall Trailer Tune Effectiveness: Put it this way---after hearing this song in this context, I want to run toward my lover through a shopping mall fountain, breathlessly declaring my devotion while everyone in the food court stares on in surprise.