You’re not gonna find a more authentic coming of age story out there: The independent drama The Spectacular Now is so raw and heartbreakingly authentic in its depiction of youth and young romance it’ll make you cringe at times.
The Spectacular Now (2013): Directed by James Ponsoldt; running-time 95mins.
What’s it about? High school senior Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) is the life of every party. He has no plans for the future and prefers to drown his problems in hard liquor rather than facing them. When Sutter becomes involved with wallflower Amy a few months before graduation, the wholesome young woman is dragged into his destructive lifestyle.
What’s it really about? The complete and utter bullshit that is this generation’s obsession with YOLO: living in the moment can be a liberating experience, but sometimes in life, you have to think about the future and start making plans. Also, just because somebody lives in the moment, doesn’t mean that they can get away with being an irresponsible, inconsiderate douchebag.
- You like independent films
- Meaning, you like films that accurately translate real life onto the big screen: The Spectacular Now is an authentic coming-of-age story so raw it’ll make you cringe at times. Nobody in this film makes a slow motion entrance in a school hallway wearing the kind of fashionable outfit that nobody actually wears to class in real life; there aren’t any public promposals; nobody starts to randomly slow dance even though there isn’t any music which would clearly make it at least a little bit awkward; neither does this film pretend that there are parents so laid-back and cool about their kids going out to party somewhere in the woods that their son or daughter would refer to them as their “best friend”. The actors even look like they might have actually gone to school with you
- You’ve ever dated a character like Sutter: someone who always appears to be bubbly and up for anything, but is deeply troubled underneath his cocky smile and charme. A great conversationalist, with shockingly little regard for other people’s feelings. Someone who is funny and sexy, but also infuriatingly manipulative. The kind of guy you hate, but cannot seem to dislike
- You aren’t unsettled by teenage alcoholism
- You watched Divergent and thought: “I like Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) together, but Shailene’s also got amazing chemistry with the guy who plays Peter (Miles Teller), so it might be kinda cool to see them hook up”
Most memorable scene: Sutter and Amy’s first kiss: Walking back from a party in the woods, Sutter and Amy bond over their complicated relationships with their single mothers. Sutter encourages Amy to stand up for herself more, compliments and eventually kisses her. The dialogue feels real, almost unscripted and when Sutter leans in to kiss Amy, it’s a spur of the moment kind of thing; there is no big build-up, no close-up, in fact the entire scene is filmed as a long take, meaning the angle of the camera doesn’t change and there is no cutting away.
Most memorable quote: “You think that beauty is in some classroom or textbook and it’s not. This right here, this is beautiful. All of this. That’s all you need.” – Sutter
Where do I know them from? If you’ve read my previous posts on the romcoms Two Night Stand and That Awkward Moment, you already know who Miles Teller is. The 28-year old made a name for himself by portraying an obsessively ambitious drummer in last year’s Oscar nominated music thriller Whiplash. He was also part of this summer’s box office let-down Fantastic Four as well as the YA adaptation Divergent in which he plays Spectacular Now girlfriend Shailene Woodley‘s nemesis. Aside from having co-starred with Miles, Shailene was also in John Green’s The Fault in our Stars (where she hooks up with Ansel Elgort, the guy who plays her brother in Divergent – uagh!) Oh, and she played George Clooney’s daughter in The Descendants, which was only her first cinematic release, but whatever, no big deal. Sutter’s ex-girlfriend Cassidy is portrayed by Brie Larson, known to some for her parts in comedies like Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck and Jonah Hill’s 21 Jump Street, while his father is played by Coach Taylor, I mean, Kyle Chandler, from Friday Night Lights.
Where can I watch? You can stream The Spectacular Now on Netflix Germany, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland as well as YouTube (*shhhhh*).