The Lackluster Spectacular Now: Not Your Favorite New Teen Film

I went to see The Spectacular Now at the Arclight Cinerama Dome.  Hopefully my opinion isn’t colored by the curvature of the screen.  I came with high hopes; the film has been fairly well reviewed.  And I mean c’mon.  The movie is called SPECTACULAR!

But I felt it was an uneven unrealistic portrayal of teenage alcoholism.  Out protagonist, Sutter Keely is at a turning point in his life.  He’s drinking his life away, trying to please everyone but he’s fairly directionless.  Spoilers after the jump.He’s a phony bastard and then he finds out that his father is also a directionless phony alcoholic.  And then at the climax of the film, he pushes the girl he’s dragged down into his spiral of self destruction into the path of an oncoming vehicle and they all live happily ever after.

So … Miles Teller plays a satisfactory phony charming youth.  I don’t know if he plays perennial drunk very well.  I far prefer Denzel’s performance in Flight.  Miles is so mild that I’m afraid that kids won’t realize just how on the edge of destruction he is.  Also, I don’t know why everyone around him can’t tell that he’s constantly drunk.  Surely that boy must reek of it.  I realize my perspective is skewed by the book, but every time you see him with a styrofoam cup, it’s always spiked.

Shailene Woodley plays what I feel is a fairly two dimensional girlfriend Aimee Finicky. Oh, first it’s all what an amusing concept this is!  A popular boy likes me.  But then it’s a co-dependent here, let’s drink some more.  I’ll sit in a car with you for hours sipping from our matching flasks.  She’s too good for Sutter, and that’s of course why he tells her to leave him and get out of the car and that’s when she gets hit by a truck.

It would be appropriate for him to actually face some kind of consequence for driving around drunk.  The worst consequence that happens to him is he destroys his mom’s mailbox.   I had assumed wrongly that when Aimee is rushed to the hospital after being hit by a truck, they would notice that her driver was grossly inebriated.  Nah.  No consequence for Sutter.

Kyle Chandler plays an awful drunk.  I mean, I appreciated his performance.  Hated the character.

But maybe this is realistic.  Except for the part where Sutter gets to graduate after failing math.

Somewhere I saw some quote highlighting the romance in the film.  But it’s not a great romance.  Sutter is constantly trying to hook up with his ex-girlfriend.  Aimee doesn’t know this, never finds out.  Is that ok?  Maybe.  You can tell at graduation that he’s disappointed that Cassidy (the ex-girlfriend) is going to California because it will be hard for him to come visit.  And when I say come visit, I mean have sex with.

Also, he doesn’t get underneath the bra before they have sex?  Seems odd to me.  😉

Currently ranked at #19 out of 24 films seen in 2013.

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