I write this with a grin on my face, having just seen War Dogs, the latest entry into Miles Teller's filmography. I'm grinning because the movie is funny, but also because the opening scene involves Teller's character bound, blindfolded, and beaten in the trunk of a car. Knowing that won't spoil the movie for you, it's simply a coincidence that happens to confirm a theory about Miles Teller I've had for quite some time.
While you read this, I want you to think about one question. Does Miles Teller believe that everything happens for a reason? Okay, buckle up and get ready to have your mind blown.
Miles Teller movies fall into two categories. Rather than put them in traditional buckets of "fresh" and "rotten" or good and bad, War Dogs confirms an unconventional, but strangely fitting categorization.
There are Miles Teller movies where cars are the root of emotional and physical trauma, and there's everything else.
Look close enough and you'll notice a direct relationship between the amount of pain and suffering he experiences because of a car and the overall quality of the film he's in.
Introducing the Miles Teller Pain and Suffering Index (MTPSI)
Is this because people don't like Miles Teller and think he's an asshole, so seeing him in pain makes them enjoy the movie more? Or is this because destiny and fate are trying to send him a message? It's weird, but if you understand what has happened to this young man over the past nine years, you'll realize it's REALLY weird.
Here's a chronological look of what can only be described as art imitating life.
In 2007, Miles Teller was a sophomore at NYU studying method acting at the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. Then, one day, he deviated from his ambitious plans to become a movie star and almost died.
Here's how he describes what happened on that random day that changed his life in an interview with W magazine.
Some friends and I had been at the Gathering of the Vibes, a Deadhead festival in Connecticut, and we were driving back to my hometown in Florida. My buddy lost control of the car, jumped three lanes of traffic, and the car flipped eight times. I went out the window before the car started to roll. Everyone was yelling, 'Where's Miles?!' I was covered in blood by the side of the road.
When his friends found him on the road, they thought he was dead. He spent a few days in the hospital and walked away with distinguishing scars across his face, but who knows what kind of psychological damage was done.
One year later, in 2008, two of his best friends died in separate car accidents within five weeks of each other.
In 2009, he graduated from NYU.
In 2010, Miles makes his big screen debut with a small but important role in Rabbit Hole. He plays a high school student who accidentally hits and kills the young son of Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart with his car. As the story goes, Kidman was so intrigued by the vulnerability and authenticity of his audition that as the film's producer and lead actress, she flexed her power to cast him in the role.
"The accident he had experienced just gave him this incredible emotional weight."- John Cameron Mitchell, director of Rabbit Hole
And so the career of Miles Teller begins, and as it gains speed, weird shit with vehicles would follow him from role to role. Is it cosmic coincidence, calculated choice, a dedication to method acting, or just good ole' fashion masochism?
In 2011, Miles Teller earns his first big part as "Willard" in the remake of Footloose, the charming, goofy supporting character that learns how to dance. Do you remember why dancing is illegal in the town where Footloose takes place?
It's because a group of kids went to a dance, had a few drinks, drove home under the influence, and died in a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler. It's literally the opening scene of the movie.
In 2013, the Teller brand starts gaining traction, appearing in the critically beloved indie teenage love story, The Spectacular Now. In it, he plays a misunderstood, alcoholic high school student who falls in love with Shailene Woodly's nerdy, shy, discretely beautiful character, Aimee. Their relationship starts when his character, Sutter, drives around town drunk and wakes up on her front lawn, his car nowhere in sight.
Drinking and driving plays a major role in their relationship, until eventually, their relationship ends when they both almost die in a car accident. They argue. He yells. She cries. Moments later, she gets out of his car and is hit by another driver, ending up in the hospital with a few non-life threatening injuries. Sutter spirals out of control, mentally, knowing he almost killed the love of his life. Before having a moment of clarity that ultimately leads to a rewarding and heartwarming conclusion, he crashes a car into his mailbox.
For everyone keeping track at home, the first three roles of Miles Teller's career all include a car accident as a pivotal plot point.
The same year, he stars in 21 & Over, and while at no point in the movie does Miles crash a car or anything like that, it's not for a lack of effort. I found a YouTube clip called "Justin Chon & Miles Teller talk about their near death experience on the set of 21 & Over."
Care to take a guess about the nature of that near death experience?
Interviewer: Any injuries sustained from the movie?Justin Chon (pointing to Miles): Dude, he got run over by a golf cart!Miles Teller (describing what happened while filming an extra take of a scene involving a golf cart): Before I got a chance to sit down, Skylar (Astin) swerves, I fall out, I'm laying on the ground, and I have enough time to think "I hope this thing doesn't run over me" and he swerved back and ran right over me. I fractured my ankle (Justin interrupts — dude, I thought he died!), sprained my knee…we went to the emergency room, I broke my foot, and did the rest of the movie in a boot.
In January 2014, Miles joins Zac Efron and Michael B. Jordan in That Awkward Moment, a better than you'd expect romantic comedy about being a single Millennial bro trying to hook up in New York City. In between games of Halo and shots of bourbon, his character realizes he's in love with the cool, beautiful girl who hangs with their group and usually helps him score digits on the reg. On his way to make a grand romantic gesture and win her over, well, you won't guess what happens next.
Don't worry, Miles walks away with a few flesh wounds and gets the girl in the end, but it makes you wonder…was this one scene why he took the role? Was it even in the original screenplay, or did he suggest it one morning on set as a way to add a more dramatic arc to his character?
In October 2014, Whiplash comes out. Peak Teller. Oscar buzz. Miles Teller can act, and he can drum, but he sure as hell can't drive a car.
At a pivotal moment towards the end of the movie, his character almost dies in a car accident. He crawls out of his car, visibly battered and probably bleeding internally, overcomes this tragic setback and plays the best drum solo of his life. It's hands down the best movie and performance of his career.
This Thanksgiving weekend, the next Miles Teller movie comes out. It's called Bleed For This, and Teller plays Vinny Pazienza, a boxer primed to be the next great champion who becomes partially paralyzed after a near fatal car accident. You can't box when you're paralyzed. He's determined to recover from the crash and make it back into the ring. We'll have to see what happens when the movie comes out, but it's based on a true story and the trailer was inspiring, so something tells me he straps those gloves back on.
If we consider the MTPSI, this should be his best movie to date. Not only does the car accident look brutal and have severe implications, but his profession requires him to get punched in the face over and over again. Pain and suffering all the way around. It makes me think Miles Teller will get his first Oscar nomination and lose. Validation and motivation. Which leads me to my final point.
If Miles Teller wants to win an Oscar, he has to die.
On screen, of course! I hope Miles Teller lives until he's 110 and acts until his last breath. Right now, he's filming Granite Mountain, described as a "drama based on the elite crew of men who battled a wildfire in Prescott, Arizona that claimed the lives of 19 of their members." It comes out in 2017 and sounds promising, but if my theory is correct, then his agent needs to pick up the phone and get him in a war movie driving a tank. Get him behind the wheel as Dale Earnhardt. Cast him as Dodi Fayed in a Princess Diana biopic co-starring Brie Larson! Find a completely original story (those exist, right?) that fits the bill. In reality though, there is one absolutely perfect Miles Teller movie. A role he seems destined for.
He should be cast as the lead in a movie about the life of James Dean, one of Hollywood's most promising and talented method actors who died when he was 24 years old in a car accident.
Everything happens for a reason, right?