The Spectacular Now

What Jesse said:

Got another one fer ya. It’s called “The Spectacular Now“.  [The wife] and I really enjoyed it. Great story, solid performances.  Go see it mofo.

Mike’s verdict:

The Spectacular Now has all the hallmarks of a stereotypical high school coming of age movie. The popular boy is dumped by the popular girl, only to find something better in the “plain” girl he never noticed before. There are parties and a prom. There is the teacher that really cares, the useless father, and the good intentioned but misguided mothers who just don’t understand. And, of course, there is graduation.

But unlike the typical high school coming of age movie, The Spectacular Now feels real. It doesn’t remind you of all the high school movies you’ve seen, it reminds you of high school.

Foremost, the casting is believable – Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley actually come across as real high school kids. They’re not made to look perfect from every angle. They don’t talk about their lives using the vocabulary of an English literature grad student. And the “plain” girl doesn’t take off her glasses to reveal a supermodel when the popular boy starts paying attention to her.  Instead, this is the entirely likely story of a young man and a young woman, both of whom are confronted by the reality of their lives and honestly try to make the best of them. Their choices are often short-sighted, but they never portray the over-the-top irrationality that most hollywood teen movies rely on.

There is a relentless intensity of nervous energy that falls somewhere between anxiety for what might happen to Aimee and the anticipation of Sutter’s next mistake – and it’s made all the more potent by the film’s realism.

9/10

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