The Spectacular Now feat. Myles of The More You Nerd & Cosmic Crit
We have been dying to get Myles back on the show for a while — so we finally found a great opportunity with coming of age film The Spectacular Now! Podcast listeners might remember Myles from our much-loved Fantastic Four episode. We realize now it’s been WAY too long since we had Myles on, and we will definitely bring him back more often. Yet now that he’s reviewed two Miles Teller films with us, we’re dubbing him our Miles Teller Expert. I guess we’ll have to cover more Teller films here out then!
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For Scott’s 92% selection, he chose The Spectacular Now (2013). Directed by James Ponsoldt, written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, and based on a novel of the same name by Tim Tharp, this little film was released right as both Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller’s careers took off. Watching the film now, it’s easy to see why their careers have continued — both deliver realistic and subtle performances that feel like the actual moments from your teenage years.
For me, I had mild interest in the film when it was released, but never committed to watching it. As its one of Scott’s favorite films, he knew this was the perfect opportunity to make me finally see it. Of course, I really liked Ponsoldt’s Smashed (2012), and not just because Mary Elizabeth Winstead was in it. Scott still used that as a bargaining chip for me, however, because Winstead also plays a supportive sister in Spectacular.
When I reached out to Myles and let him know our next few films, he bristled with excitement over The Spectacular Now and said that’s his next appearance. Seeing his genuine excitement, I finally felt that pull for the film. After all, if two of my favorite movie buds were into it, I would surely find myself into it, too! And I actually really enjoyed this film, even if it wouldn’t be one of my all-time favorites. It’s put together with care and intelligence, and works as a complete piece that tells the story of a semi-sympathetic character whose world is changing, even if he resists it. Teller plays his role perfectly, and Woodley captures the unease and discomfort of being an unexperienced yet enthusiastic teenager. Most of the other characters are supporting in that exact sense — they won’t be fully rounded, but they serve a purpose for Teller’s Sutter.
I was extremely blown away by Kyle Chandler’s performance in this film — I won’t say too much if you haven’t seen it, but he plays outside of his usual circle of “inspiring father figure.” It’s amazing what a baggy shirt can do for this guy. Much more important than Chandler, though, is Jennifer Jason Leigh as Sara, Sutter’s mom. She is only in about 3 or 4 scenes, but she carries the emotional weight of a supportive-yet-tired mother so well.
The core of this film revolves around Sutter’s resistance to change (graduation), his desire to live in the wonder of the moment (partying), and his unhealthy interpretation of relationships (divorced parents, sister’s marriage, Aimee and Cassidy). Sutter spends almost every scene self-medicating his troubles, and it comes to a head when he sees what his future holds in store for him. Which leads to my only real complaint — I would like to see more of where Sutter ends up. Does he go into full recovery? Is he still stuck in his old ways? What does Sutter do if Aimee isn’t interested?
In a way, that’s a testament to this film. Real life doesn’t end with a picturesque ending — and leaving us wanting more means the characters were living in our own hearts and minds as we watched.
Max is a marketing copywriter by day, filmmaker and screenwriter by night. He resides in Charlotte, NC, and loves his dogs, watching movies, building LEGO sets, and eating food. Lots of food.You can find Max at his personal website and twitter.