Critics weren’t too kind to Gus Van Sant’s last film (the Matthew McConaughey Japanese suicide forest movie), but the filmmaker tends to follow a pattern where every other movie is actually good — and thankfully, judging by the first trailer, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot looks to be one of the better Van Sant projects in recent years. Joaquin Phoenix leads an awesome cast (which includes a few musical faves) in the true story of an alcoholic who finds respite from his addiction in drawing cartoons for the funny pages.

Phoenix stars as John Callahan, a man whose drinking spirals out of control until, with the help of his girlfriend (Rooney Mara) and new sober friends (including a long-haired Jonah Hill), he enters treatment and discovers a new passion: Drawing newspaper cartoons. Don’t Worry looks touching and funny and as idiosyncratic as they come, and with a cast that includes Kim Gordon (of Sonic Youth), Beth Ditto and Carrie Brownstein (of Sleater-Kinney and Portlandia fame), this one is pretty high on our to-see list.

Here’s the official synopsis:

After Portland slacker John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix) nearly loses his life in a car accident, the last thing he intends to do is give up drinking. But when he reluctantly enters treatment – with encouragement from his girlfriend (Rooney Mara) and a charismatic sponsor (Jonah Hill) – Callahan discovers a gift for drawing edgy, irreverent newspaper cartoons that develop a national following and grant him a new lease on life. Based on a true story, this poignant, insightful and often funny drama about the healing power of art is adapted from Callahan’s autobiography and directed by two-time Oscar® nominee Gus Van Sant. Jack Black, Carrie Brownstein, Beth Ditto and Kim Gordon also star.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot will premiere at the Sundance film festival this week before opening in select theaters on May 11.

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