James Franco and Gia Coppola Team Up in the Trailer for Palo Alto

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
April 1 2014 9:17 PM

James Franco, Teenage Angst, and a Coppola Team Up in Palo Alto

A332_C005_1219A0
James Franco and Emma Roberts develop a relationship on and off the field in Palo Alto.

© 2013 - Tribeca Film

Another Coppola has joined the cinematic fray: the new trailer for Palo Alto, Gia Coppola’s debut, was released earlier today. The director—niece and granddaughter of Sofia and Francis Ford Coppola, respectively—adapted her first feature from James Franco’s Palo Alto: Stories, a collection of vaguely linked vignettes about teenage life in the eponymous town. Franco is also in the film, as a seemingly sleazy soccer coach; Emma Roberts stars as the player who attracts his attention.

An inclination to eye-roll this one—to dismiss it as a well-connected director teaming with an overexposed actor—is understandable but premature. For one, though Franco suffers from a sometimes grating self-importance, his commitment to a role, whether it be a marooned biker or dreadlocked drug lord, is inarguable. Second, though the bildungsroman is a shopworn genre, every year a gem—last year’s The Spectacular Now, for instance—emerges with heretofore unseen insight, and the whole coming-of-age experience becomes new and bracing and impactful again.

Advertisement

Palo Alto could be that film this year, as it opened to rave reviews on the festival circuit. Coppola, for her part, seems to have copped some technique from her aunt: the neon lettering, understated depiction of adolescent chaos, and wry teen-speak all bring to mind The Virgin Suicides andThe Bling Ring. We'll see if she can step out of her family's shadow come May 9.

Sharan Shetty is a writer for Brow Beat. You can follow him on Twitter

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 24 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Partial Solar Eclipse of October 2014
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.