Along with our STS and our Sci-Fi/Supernatural Saturday reviews, here's our Page to Screen!
This week, we're focusing on the five reasons why you should watch The Spectacular Now - but only after you read the book, of course!
While we loved Catching Fire unreservedly, Tom and I also loved The Spectacular Now. It was Tom's first indie YA adaptation, and he was blown away at how a story could tackle issues like teenage alcoholism, negligent parents and first serious relationships so effortlessly.
So in honor of that, we're discussing...
5 Reasons Why You Have to Watch The Spectacular Now
5. The serious issues
The answer? Very.
Even though it's never in-your-face or over-the-top about it, Sutter's addiction to alcohol is evident in almost every scene. He's always carrying a extra large soda "Big Gulp" cup, and he frequently sneaks shots from his flask into the cup.
We see the consequences of this as he blacks out, and ends up on Aimee's front lawn. We also see the consequences of this when he literally can't get through a work shift without drinking, and is eventually fired over it.
This isn't a film that depicts alcohol as something that's glamorous or something to aspire to, when you're underage. Instead, Sutter faces the consequences of irresponsible drinking personally, and both when he witnesses someone close to him doing it.
Outside of the obvious teenaged drinking, the film does a fantastic job of covering divorces, absentee and abusive parents, and how teens find it in themselves to struggle through these situations.
All of this is a testament to the screenwriters for being able to write about these issues in such a thoughtful manner, and for the actors for relaying their work.
4. The location
While I'm generally not an advocate for random location changes, it genuinely works in this case. In every scene, Ponsodlt and his location scout have managed to pick places in and around Athens that really emphasize just how small the town is, and how Sutter has managed to maintain his big fish-in-a-small-pond presence for so long.
The location also really emphasizes just how ordinary a relationship this is. Yes, this relationship is at the center of Sutter and Aimee's worlds, but these are just ordinary teens without the drama or high society that we're so used to these days.
Bottom line: Ordinary in The Spectacular Now = a refreshing change in teenaged films. Read Roger Egbert's review for his thoughts.
3. The chemistry between Shailene & Miles
But Shailene and Miles have excellent chemistry as Aimee and Sutter. They're sweet, awkward and willing to be honest with each other.
Even when Sutter lapses into his too-cool-for-school attitude - particularly in one pivotal scene in the movie - a single touch from Aimee reminds him to come down to earth, and be real with him.
Watch this if you want a genuine love story between two teens, without all of the fast-talking hangups that seem to exist in most teenaged romance movies these days.
2. Miles Teller
(Yeah, yeah. I watched it. Blame Tom for that one.)
I thought he was charming, but I figured he'd be the type of actor who would just do teenage comedies/bromance dramas for the rest of his career. I was wrong.
In The Spectacular Now, Miles gives a fantastic performance as Sutter Keeley, a frequently buzzed high schooler who has always been used to bluffing and fast talking his way out of every situation, but is quickly seeing that coming to an end.
But because he can't handle that situation, and he isn't prepared for that transition, Sutter panics and resorts to the only thing he knows how: bluffing and fast talking harder and more intently than ever before.
Miles perfectly balances Sutter's blase, "live in the now" attitude, with the insecurities of a kid who really is kind-hearted and genuine, but fears the possibility a dead-end future and has also been irrevocably damaged by his parents separating.
Watch this film if you want to see Miles give a genuinely thoughtful and nuisances performance on how teenaged alcoholism can propel a kid like Sutter for most of his life, but how he can also eventually find the strength in himself to change.
Also, watch this film if you want to see how awesome Miles is going to be in Divergent.
1. Shailene Woodley
But outside of the hype, she's seriously a spectacular actress in her own right. (Pun intended!)
As Aimee Finnicky, Shailene is brilliant. She plays Aimee as a bit quirky, and a bit sheltered. She laughs at inappropriate moments, and doesn't quite know how to make appropriate conversation at a dinner party. But you never doubt her heart, her intelligence and her genuine ability to rise up above her circumstances.
You also never doubt her love for Sutter either. Through Shailene's performance, you can see how Aimee's able to overlook all of Sutter's flaws, even if common sense may be telling her to run the other way. She loves him, and she loves with her full heart.
In many ways, Shailene's performance is so much more difficult than Miles as Sutter, because she has to convince us that someone who is the polar opposite of Sutter (and in many ways, ridiculously ordinary), can inspire Sutter to change.
Bottom line: Watch this movie if you want to get a sense of the raw talent and the emotion that she's going to bring to Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars!
So in honor of our list...
The trailer is HERE, and we insist that you watch it.