Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
The Spectacular Now
From the Writers of (500) Days of Summer
A hard-partying high school senior's philosophy on life changes when he meets the not-so-typical "nice girl."
2013 seems to be the year of the coming of age film. First Mud, then The Kings of Summer and finally I had the pleasure of allowing the nostalgic honesty and painful recognition of The Spectacular Now wash over me. And of the three it is my favourite.
When I was about protagonist Sutter's age, life was complex and pretty tough for me. I sort of lived by an 'it's better to burn out than to fade away' mentality. At that age, not knowing where you're going isn't that big of a problem, not seeing anything worth going towards is awful. It's not that I recognised anything in Sutter's character or situation, but his plight and outlook on life and…
The best thing about now is that there's one tomorrow.
I wasn't too eager to believe that The Spectacular Now managed to capture real high school environments, characters, and most importantly, romance.
Capturing those three things seems to be something that Hollywood just can't do. With the way they clumsily and sloppily handle the lives of teens on screen you would almost think they are searching for the fucking Holy Grail. Like they are observing foreign people in a foreign land. Even some of Hollywoods best outings at capturing teen life still unfortunately succumb to stupid pitfalls and romanticization.
Teenagers aren't always special little snowflakes. They aren't always 100% self aware or junior philosophers trying to wade through people who…
Totally get why everybody I know only has positive things to say about this movie. Really nice performances by Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley (more on them in a sec), sensitive, solid direction by James Ponsoldt, a familiar story that somehow seems fresh and new...
So what's holding back that extra half (or full) star I'd love to tack on? I guess what lingers for me is Teller's extremely rushed epiphany and Woodley's Aimee being too much of a cypher. She may be "the film’s true lynchpin," as Scott Tobias put it, but her need for Sutter's approbation and affection -- how her will is consistently suppressed -- doesn't necessarily make her a great dramatic character, even if it all…
The Spectacular Now gets it. It gets the heartbreak, it gets the disillusion, it gets the lifestyle, it gets the emotion, it gets the tragedy; wonderfully honest, beautiful, and unbearably tragic, The Spectacular Now is one of the finest films ever made about 'teenagers.'
However, this isn't a surface level teen movie. Sure, there's a prom scene and some cliche discussions, but the film is about so much more. It just feels so goddamn real in every aspect. The subtle direction, the slight use of makeup, the way the story unfolds, the screenplay; It all culminates in a work that feels raw, personal, and yet utterly engrossing.
Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley. Holy shit. Their chemistry is so electrifying that…
"I want - I want more than a moment. I want the future."
I turned nineteen a few days ago. I guess I know what I’m doing with my life – go to university, become something, get married – but does it ever get easier? Do you ever stop second-guessing yourself, wondering if you’re going to accomplish anything at all? Or do you always remain the same person you were when you graduated high school: scared and exultant and fully aware of the fact that yes, you have your whole fucking life ahead of you right now?
What if I waste all this time I’ve got? What if I never find anyone special, what if nobody finds me special? All…
''If I were your father, I guess this would be the part where I give you a lecture about what you're doing with yourself.''
I had heard some rumblings about this film. They said that Miles Teller is a bright and shining beacon, Brie Larson is not in it enough and that this was going to be this years The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Those rumblings bounced me all the way to the bank here, because film charmed the absolute pants off me. Note perfect in all areas; from the razor script, the healthy array of talent dotted throughout (Larsen, Chandler and Odenkirk to name a few), in the way it brings the truth and lays it all out…
To start with, I really appreciated that basically everyone in this film playing a teenager actually looked like a normal teenager - it's a relatively minor thing but rare and added a nice touch to this 'coming of age' film. Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller both look so great and natural on screen. For the most part, their performances are pretty decent too.
But overall, this didn't really quite get there for me. These characters who I think are supposed to be really compelling seemed rushed and a bit cliche. Although Teller did a commendable job portraying protagonist Sutter, he didn't really seem like fully fleshed out or familiar enough character - the film seemed to demand a level of…
A slight twist on the teen coming-of-age genre, but this never truly inspired.
Edgar Wright was dead on when he said that this plays like a prequel to The World's End. Good acting, solid writing, but nothing groundbreaking. Luckily not everything needs to be groundbreaking, sometimes it's best just to do everything well, which this movie does.
A solid film to be sure, with some beautiful performances, but somehow I was left hungry. I wanted and expected more.
Great coming-of-age film from the writers of (500) Days of Summer. A bit darker, but the characters earn your emotional connection. This film feels real. There is a character to relate to no matter what age you are, and a story to relate to no matter where in your life you are. I feel like everyone should give this a watch.
Okay the formula here sounds pretty generic enough for a teen romance but the dialogue and the way the actors pull it off, it feels real and grounded in reality. Sure, Sutter as a character comes off as a dick the best of times, mainly as he claims to be the life of the party but happens to give some decent advise for others, as we see in the scene between him and Marcus at his work (with Marcus then saying ‘You’re not the joke everyone thinks you are’) but is an idiot when it comes to following his own. We can’t genuinely tell if he is being himself around Aimee because A) he’s either drunk or been drinking around…
My job is wonderful sometimes. I don’t even know what I’m talking about right now. Last week, I saw ‘The Spectacular Now’ and ‘Short Term 12’, two of the most honest, genuine, and real depictions of young adulthood I have ever seen in my entire life.
In a matter of a couple of days, these two movies found their way into my life, and played a part in restoring my faith in film making. It reminds me that while there’s always going to be schlock and remakes and sequels, there are some films out there that not only display the amazing talents of certain actors and filmmakers, but remind us that it’s not all about the money. Let’s talk one…
HITS WAY TOO CLOSE TO HOME.
[after his parents have left, thinking he is ill] "They bought it. Incredible! One of the worst performances of my…
Over two days, my "Movies To See" list is unspooling on The Dissolve. Here's your chance to check them off,…