The Spectacular Now (2013)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Feel-good and emotional.

In my last post, I mentioned how sometimes you have to be careful when it comes to January releases. Whether it be theater or Blu-Ray, you just can’t ever know. That doesn’t stop your favorite neighborhood critic from checking them out for you though. The Spectacular Now is just another film I hadn’t previously heard of, but there were some names in the cast that I am particularly fond of, so yes, I had to give it a chance. Turns out a lot of people really enjoy the movie, and it’s not hard to understand why…the characters man, the characters.

This is a coming-of-age tale about a young man named Sutter who everyone loves. He’s that jock that has never really had a problem with popularity or making friends, but that doesn’t stop him from having problems at home. He has daddy issues, even if he doesn’t want to admit it, and he is less self-aware than what you’d imagine. When he meets peculiar Aimee, he fell in love…even if he wouldn’t admit it. Through her, he is able to piece together his life, little by little, finding out exactly what unconditional love really means, and that he deserves it just as much as anyone else.

If you know me, you know I’m not the biggest fan of coming-of-age stories. They rarely appeal to me, and there are elements of this film that I had problems with as well. A part of me will never really be able to get over my bias against this film theme, but I’ll tell you one thing…they are growing on me in a completely different way. I can appreciate them more now, even if they aren’t my exact cup of tea. Instead of a focus on story, they have more of a focus on character. I’ve been noticing more and more that coming-of-age stories have unbelievably amazing actors and characters, and this film is no exception.

There were a few names on the cast that I recognized and had a particular fascination with. People like Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Shailene Woodley. I actually don’t think I’ve seen Shailene in anything, but since rumor broke that she’d be playing Mary Jane Watson in one of the Amazing SpiderMan films, I was instantly curious in her ability to act. Well, I was definitely impressed here. It was a culmination of her performance, Miles Teller’s and Kyle Chandler’s performance that takes this film by storm. If I had to choose a favorite, it would definitely be Woodley, whose character is just unfathomly precious. Teller is interesting, as he seems to be the love child between Vince Vaughn and Shia LaBeouf, but he did a fantastic job anyway.

As far as story goes, the plot to this film may remind you of A Walk to Remember. The unlikely couple – the jock and the weird girl. At first he dates her and jokes with his friends about breaking her heart one day, and later on we learn he really had true feelings for her. So parts of the story may seem unoriginal and maybe even cliché, but that subplot with the estranged father gave this film the soul it needed to not only succeed, but maintain that level of special uniqueness. This one subplot allowed each and every actor to prove their acting ability. By the end, you’ll be satisfied.

The Good:

The Spectacular Now definitely had an assortment of memorable and loveable characters portrayed by a stimulating cast.

The Bad:

Some of the story itself may seem a bit cliché and overdone.

Memorable Quote:

Dan: 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.

Sutter: Well Dan, if you were my Dad, you wouldn’t have.



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