August 9, 2013

‘The Spectacular Now:’ See It NOW

And see a Q & A with the screenwriter!

The Spectacular Now

It is true that some of the most anticipated movies of the summer in the world of Disney, sci-fi geekdom and pop culture, are being released.

Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodi Foster, Pixar’s Planes, and and the latest Percy Jackson movie are all opening. The raunch-com We’re the Millers was released Wednesday.  All will do at least respectably if not monumentally at the box office, and certainly Elysium is good enough to spend money to see, but that is not the movie about which Cinema Siren is singing with all of her (considerable) lung power today.

How absolutely wonderful that we have a chance to tell you about this wonderful movie, and that you might even get a chance yourself to hear the perspective of one of the screenwriters…

The Spectacular Now, an indie that made a huge splash atSundance (winning special Jury Prize there, and nominated for Grand Jury Prize), is being released Friday as well.  This well written and inventive coming of age story starring Shailene Woodley (of The Descendents) and Miles Teller (of 21 and Over)  not only begs your attention but deserves it, and it also deserves to trounce all competition.

Why? When was the last time you saw a coming of age movie that actually captures the awkwardness and flitting butterflies of first love without compromising in the last few minutes? Authenticity should certainly be lauded in film and be reflected in box office receipts. Here is a case where we as an audience can help make that happen.

The story is of Sutter Keely, who is the king of his teenage world, who falls for good girl Aimee, and the experiences and interactions that ensue.  There aren’t big events, but little moments…successes and failures, that bring to mind in all of us our own early moments of growth, however challenging.

Remember the confusion, the dizziness?  It’s all here, and written with truth.  Remember darkness from your younger days?  Well, don’t expect all fluff, there’s darkness here.  The screenwriters are known for (500) Days of Summer.  Also present are Jennifer Jason Leigh (who often seems to sniff out great projects) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (who has an understandable fan base…and, dear movie lover, with The Spectacular Now….avoid becoming one, I dare you..)

This is not a formula picture. It builds real characters you learn to care about and appreciate.  The screenplay and the actors are the stars here, making the hype over the last year about Woodley well founded. The Spectacular Now will get under your skin and stay there.

Here’s the even cooler news: The screenwriter is coming for a Q & A in two area theaters on Friday. We critics know that often the Washington area is ignored by the studio promotion train, so the fact that co-writer Michael Weber will be attending screenings is exciting and heartening indeed, especially for a movie that may prove to have legs come awards season.

Friday Q & A appearances:
At Angelika Mosaic: Following the 5:30 p.m. show
At Landmark E Street: Following the 7:45 p.m. show and introducing the 10:15 p.m. show. For more information, contact these theaters.

OK, fans of Cinema Siren, go forth and support said screenwriter to show his coming down to the DC area is appreciated!  And let us know what you think of this flick…so few great keepers this year…and we believe this is one of them. Do you agree?