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A Lindsay Campbell Pop-Ed: Why Miles Teller Is Going the Distance (See What I Did There?)

I’m placing bets now that Miles Teller will have an Oscar in his hands within the next ten years. I know it’s a bold statement, but you have to admit, he’s got what it takes and we’ve seen stranger things happen in Hollywood.

While Teller's been on the scene for a while, it seems like within the past six months the guy is everywhere. He first broke onto the scene for his role in The Rabbit Hole alongside Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. The movie got some good reviews and caught the eyes of critics but Teller didn’t steal the show.

In fact, it wasn’t until his role as Sutter Keely, a troubled teen, opposite Shailene Woodley, in The Spectacular Now that viewers and critics started to notice him. Teller got great reviews as Keely in The Spectacular Now and critics even brushed off their “is he the next Vince Vaughn” mentions in their reviews. Yes, Teller's charismatic, light-hearted and funny but his role in The Spectacular Now proved that he’s a lot more as well. He’s got what it takes to pull of both sides of that funny and dramatic equation.

Following The Spectacular Now, Teller joined the cast of Divergent (also starring Woodley), a young-adult book turned silver screen potential goldmine. He’ll be playing Peter, a competitive jackass that everyone hates (yes, I’ve read the books). Not only will this role arm him with a cult following of young teenage girls but it will also keep him on the Hollywood watchlist for the next few years.

Jumping over to the more comedic side of the equation is 21 and Over and That Awkward Moment. Admittedly I didn’t see 21 and Over and it didn’t get good reviews, which is really no surprise. The storyline was a tired one — two friends get a birthday boy drunk on the night of his 21st birthday and lose him right before his big interview. It doesn’t leave much to the imagination and gives little room for actors to adlib anything that could make for good comedic moments.

Opening next week is That Awkward Moment, a much more promising comedy about three best friends who each encounter moments in their personal relationships in which they try to determine where the relationship is going. Teller’s onscreen buddies are played by Zac Efron and Michael B. Jordan. With a lineup of three pretty talented castmembers and an interesting storyline, it’s likely going to do OK at the box office. I’m betting it will be funny and have some good one-liners and leave audiences generally happy. I’ll report back and let you guys know what I think — we all know I’m going to go see any movie Efron is in.

While Teller has proved he has good comedic timing (hence the original Vaughn comparisons), he’s been most recently making waves at Sundance while promoting his upcoming movie Whiplash. The film is about a 19-year-old jazz drummer by the name of Andrew Neyman (Teller) trying to make it big. It’s a tortured ride led by an abusive conductor/mentor (played by JK Simmons) who never makes it easy for him. With the thick storyline, small budget and slim filming window (rumor is it was shot in just three days), it quickly became a Sundance darling. These are the kind of films that really showcase raw talent and put actors like Teller ahead of the rest. Critics are already raving about Teller’s haunted performance and say it’s one to watch.

That’s not the only hype swirling around Teller these days. Sundance news stories also revealed that Teller was offered the role of Dan Aykroyd in the upcoming untitled film about John Belushi’s rise to fame in the 1970s which resulted in a tragic drug overdose at the age of 33. Belushi will be played by Emile Hirsch. As an Saturday Night Live fan and comedy nerd, I’m anxious for this one. It might paint a not so pretty picture of Belushi, and at some points will likely be pretty depressing. Regardless, it will keep Teller on the map.

So what am I getting at here? It seems that Teller is already starting to become a director’s dream, but I give it one year before he’s starring in just about every movie on your “to see” list. From comedy charm to the dramatic spirit, Teller is continuously proving that he’s not just a one-and-done kind of actor. He’s got a wide variety of roles he’s able to play, and we’ll start to see all sorts of them in the next few years. It wouldn’t surprise me if this guy was holding an Oscar within the next ten years. I’d also really like to see him host SNL sometime soon.
A Lindsay Campbell Pop-Ed: Why Miles Teller Is Going the Distance (See What I Did There?) Reviewed by Lindsay Campbell on 1/24/2014 Rating: 5

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