Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"The Spectacular Now": Actions do have consequences, but this film mutes and sugar-coats them

The Spectacular Now”, by James Ponsoldt (based on the novel by Tim Tharp) presents us with a “hero” who is pretty much the opposite of me.  You can tell what high school senior Sutter (Miles Teller) lives for, which is not to make A’s in geometry.  In the opening scene, he is composing a college application essay on a MacIntosh, and it’s apparent he has no appreciation of “Jobs”.  
  
He works in a men’s shop, and parties hard.  He gets into bars and drinks underage with girls – they don’t show him boasting about it on Facebook.  He sneaks cans or open containers around everywhere.  He meets a “nice girl”, Aimee (Shaileen Woodley), and then decides to track down his deadbeat dad.  Eventually, his behavior has consequences, but the movie doesn’t really seem to tie these together too well at the end.
  
Miles’s presence is curious.  At times, he looks like a caricature of Mark Zuckerberg; in close-up, be looks a bit soft, and far from perfect.  That may be OK, but his manner and appearance seem to force him to carry his social charisma on pure momentum and activity, not substance.  At the end of the movie, he has to answer a question on facing “hardship” on his college application.

Andre Royo is effective as the geometry teacher, Mr. Aster.  But a high school senior should be beyond plane geometry, right? 
     
The film was shot around Athens, GA, in flat, southern pine country.

  
The official site is here

There was a fair crowd for this film at the Angelika Mosaic in Merrifield VA on a weekday night.
  
Wikipedia attribution link for downtown Athens picture  My only visit was in November, 1971. 



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