It might seem totally impossible in 2020, but upcoming Apple TV+ documentary Boys State makes politics look fun. The first trailer, which Apple released Tuesday, introduces some of the real-life young men who engage in an annual Texas tradition that’s basically summer camp for citizens.
That might sound nerdy and dry, but the first promo spot crackles with energy. It feels almost like a mashup of Election, Dazed and Confused and Napoleon Dynamite (with a little bit of Little America and, hopefully, Meatballs, thrown in to spice things up).
The documentary focuses on a handful of young wannabe politicos as they take part in Texas Boys State in 2018. The annual educational experience tosses more than 1,000 teen boys together to form a mock government.
The institution’s website calls the annual experience “among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students.” During the session, “each student becomes a part of the operation of his local, county, and state government.”
Teaching teens about democracy
The ultimate goal? Teaching teen boys about democracy and governance. Each year, the main event is a faux race to become “governor.” In the first Boys State trailer, we witness a few interesting insights into how this neophyte political sausage gets made.
Again, if you’re suffering from politics fatigue in the hyperpartisan summer of 2020, this might not sound like an appealing proposition. But the film’s key players exhibit such a compelling mix of optimism and realpolitik that it looks totally engaging. Variety’s review of the film called it an “alternately encouraging and terrifying look at tomorrow’s politicians.”
That review came out soon after Boys State screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where the movie won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary. Cupertino quickly snapped up rights to bring the political coming-of-age story to Apple TV+.
Boys State, from directors Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss, debuts on Apple TV+ on August 14. It might just be must-see summertime viewing for anybody interested in the future of democracy.