Starring: Miles Teller & Shailene Woodley
Time: 95 Minutes
I am starting a new feature for my blog, Redbox Mondays. These reviews will feature movies that are newly available to rent on Redbox. I understand not everyone can get to the movies, so here is a review for those of you who like to watch at home. I am going to start with my favorite movie of 2013: The Spectacular Now.
I have a soft spot for any movie that deals with high school or college. From American Pie to Animal House, I truly love coming of age movies (and party movies). The Spectacular Now is one of the most honest films about High School that I have ever seen, and is not a comedy. It stars two of my favorite young actors, Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole, Project X) and Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager, The Descendants). This film shows the incredible range these two young actors already have and makes me eager to watch their careers develop.
The Spectacular Now tells the story of Sutter Keely (Teller) the party kid, who has all the potential in the world but seems determined to piss it away and go nowhere. Sutter is beloved because of his natural charisma and his ability to make any situation fun. Beneath this demeanor is a troubled young man haunted with abandonment issues and struggling through the beginnings of alcoholism. Every high school had these guys; the ones you knew could be great but for one reason or another couldn’t keep it together. They always seemed to be their own worst enemy, and could never get out of their own way. Teller portrays this role honestly and with a sense of true understanding of the character.
After a wild night of partying Sutter is discovered passed out on a random lawn by classmate Aimee Finecky (Woodley). Finecky an oddball and outcast at school is working her paper route to help pay the bills for her deadbeat mom. Finecky and Sutter develop an unlikely friendship that develops into a true relationship. Finecky attempts to make Sutter a better person, while Sutter’s destructive habits begin to rub off on Finecky.
This isn’t your average popular guy dates nerdy girl high school film, like She’s All That. This film deals with the issues of becoming an adult and being in a real relationship. Teller truly shines in this film; his character is at times incredibly witty and at other times sadly self-destructive. The Spectacular Now is also helped out by small roles played by Jennifer Jason Leigh (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) and my favorite TV actor Coach Taylor aka Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights). Chandler plays a very different role than we are used to seeing him, it is a pleasure to see him step out of the coach/authority role and play a washed up loser.
I cannot recommend this film enough, while it did not do terribly well at the box office I believe that is because it was not properly marketed and not a reflection on the film or the actors. Sometimes good films don’t catch on, but with dvds we always get a second chance to see one we missed. The Spectacular Now isn’t for everyone, it deals with some very heavy issues and is not the comedy we are used to seeing out of High School movies (plus no one sings), but I think this film stands a head above the ones that have come before it. The beauty of movies is that certain films speak to certain people, sometimes you can’t really put your finger on it but you can relate to or truly understand a character. The Spectacular Now is one of those for me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.