The Spectacular Now (2013)
The Spectacular Now is a James Ponsoldt directed movie that explores the coming-of-age of high-school teen Sutter Keely (Miles Teller). Sutter is an alcoholic and party-obsessed, high-school senior who is dumped by his girlfriend, Cassidy (Brie Larson), at the beginning of the movie. After a night of binge-drinking and general hooligan behavior, he is awoken the next morning by the introverted Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley).
As the truly odd-couple begin to “hang-out,” the two begin to develop a romantic relationship. Sutter is a person who tries to make each day spectacular, while Aimee who is more of an idealist likes to plan for the future. At times, the juxtaposition of their respective philosophies becomes problematic in their relationship. Sutter is a senior who doesn’t really know what do with his life. In contrast, Aimee wants to go to college. The complexity of their personalities as well as philosophies becomes the “heart” of the story.
The Spectacular Now is my most-anticipated film of the year. I read an early review of the film on Chicago Cinema Circuit. Since last April, I have waited to watch this film. With the addition of other superb reviews, my expectations of the film were pretty high. I thought I would be instantly enamored by a realistic and authentic film of your “average” teenager.
The Spectacular Now tries to be this generation’s pivotal coming-of-age story. It fails to achieve the lofty goal. Surprisingly, I found the film cliché in many respects. Although maybe unfair, I couldn’t help but comparing this film to last year’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In my opinion, there really isn’t a fair comparison between the films. Not so much because the story-lines are vastly different, but because the latter trumps the first in every category I can think of at the moment.
There are many sections of this movie that I found myself sighing with frustration. No greater than two-thirds into the movie when a pivotal and surprising sequence occurs. What I found frustrating and unbelievable was the aftermath of the event. It pretty much ruined the movie for me. The ending wasn’t that much better.
I sought this film because I thought I’d watch something original and fantastic. Unfortunately, I was given a hodgepodge of other teenage films in a rather un-even end product. As has become the norm, I feel I watched the best parts and pretty much the whole movie in the official trailer. The Spectacular Now is simply and rather disappointing for me to admit, anything but spectacular.
I say you should at most rent the film. I don’t recommend watching it in theaters.
MPAA Rating: R (language and sexual content (i.e. one long, awkward sex scene))
Running Time: 100 minutes
My Grade: B-
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