The teen movie formula is a tried and tested one. Often it is about the cool guy going out with the nerdy girl or vice versa. Other times it is about some characters looking to lose their virginity. No matter what the story, there always seems to be a “click” of kids coming from certain walks of life and they all are living a high school life none of us in the real world has ever experienced much less heard about at another school. Is there really such a thing as a “date and dump”? “The Spectacular Now” finally comes to south Florida today, August 23 and the movie gives a more realistic view of kids in high school.
It’s difficult to tell what “The Spectacular Now” is about in a few short sentences. The movie revolves around high school senior, Sutter (Miles Teller) a popular kid dating a popular girl. The two breakup which sends Sutter on a downward spiral and he was already an alcoholic. Then he meets Aimee (Shailene Woodley) who he begins to date while still pining for his ex. You may think Aimee has a positive influence on Sutter, but he has more of an influence on her and not entirely in a good way.
This may sounds like the “popular boy dates the unpopular girl” storyline, but it’s much deeper than that. No one is going off on any wild, funny adventures in this movie. There is no specific group of girls or guys who “rule” the school. In fact, much of this movie, especially the beginning, is kind of boring because the portrayal of these teenagers is much on par of how high school life is really like. For many of us, those times were not always that exciting.
What stands out more than anything else in “The Spectacular Now” are the performances by its two young stars. They are, well, spectacular. Rarely do you witness such deep, raw emotions emanating from actors at that age. The two are great talents and should have great years ahead of them in their careers. In the hands of lesser actors, this movie could have been a disaster.
Sutter is a character who accepts no responsibilities for his actions. His simply philosophy of life is to live in the now. While popular, he has no idea how others in his school truly view him. “The Spectacular Now” offers a strong character study. The popular kid in school who you envied may not be living that perfect life you envisioned for them. Sometimes that fun loving exterior you see, is someone exhibiting a mask for a great deal of inner pain.
A huge flaw in “The Spectacular Now” comes towards the end. There will be no spoilers here, but all the realism mentioned earlier gets completely tossed out the window and the movie takes a completely unrealistic turn. There is the saying of “suspension of disbelief” when it comes to watching a movie, but in this case the filmmakers expect too much. A real let down for sure. Other than that, the movie is a true independent (it was a winner earlier this year at Sundance). This truly is Not Another Teen Movie and is therefore Rated R for alcohol use, language and some sexuality - all involving teens.
You can see "The Spectacular Now" at the following theaters in south Florida.
AMC Sunset Place
Regal South Beach
West Palm Beach/Boca
Frank DelRay MarketPlace
Cinemark Palace Boca
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