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Friday, June 6, 2014

Book to Movie. Rad or Bad? The Spectacular Now Edition

Yes I realize that The Spectacular Now movie was released over a year ago, but I have just now gotten around to watching it. So let me have this one, okay? :) 

The Spectacular Now

What It's about: Based on the 'Spectacular' *wink* novel by Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now is the story of a hard-partying high school senior, Sutter Keely, whose philosophy on life changes when he meets the not-so-typical "nice girl", Aimee Finicky. You can check out my review of the book here.



I have said before and I will say this again, I LOVE MILES TELLER. This role was no exception. Sutter is one hard-partying guy and you can see how Sutter changes through the movie all because of Teller's acting. It broke my heart how good he was in the last, say, 20 minutes of the movie. I may have shed a few tears when he broke down. I like how Teller was able to show the struggle inside of Sutter of being who everyone thinks he is, and become the person that he wants to be.


Shailene Woodley is slowly becoming one of my favorite actresses to watch. She has come so far from her days on Secret Life of the American Teenager. I loved how she was able to portray Aimee's story arc of nice girl to someone who becomes slightly pressured by her peers to a girl in love to a confident girl. It was all amazing to watch and I think it was all phenomenal.


I think Kyle Chandler as Tommy was the best part of the movie. Tommy is meant to show where Sutter is headed in 20 years if he doesn't clean up his act. And it was PERFECT. Chandler's acting choices were all gold and it really makes the audience feel sorry for Sutter when his dad asks him to pick up the tab and he doesn't have enough money to cover it. It's rather pathetic and perfect for the story.


Sutter's mom, played by the fabulous Jennifer Jason Leigh, was great. At first she doesn't seem like the bet mom in the world, but after you meet Tommy you see how great of a mom she really is. The part where she is comforting Sutter when he breaks down was probably the most heart wrenching scene in the entire movie.


I'm just going to lump the rest of the cast all into one section. One thing I really noticed about these characters was how well they were portrayed. Whether they only had two scenes, or ten, they were extremely well acted. If it was any less terrific then the movie would not have been as great. These characters served their purpose in telling the story and it was all great.


Kid trying to get to Florida: This scene was cut out of the movie. You may remember in the beginning of the novel when Sutter attempts to do a good deed by taking a young kid trying to take a bus to Florida back home. He is then reemed out by the child's mother. In this book I felt that this scene was important to show that Sutter really is a good guy at heart even if he does screw up some times.

Aimee wasn't raped: In the book, after her and Sutter have sex, Aimee admits that that wasn't her first time. That a few years earlier, some creepazoid kid of her step dad came into her room and made her have sex with him. I thought this was a good plot during the book but I understand why it was cut out of the movie. It would have taken away from the confrontation of mothers.

Drinking: The teenage drinking didn't take a front row seat as much as it did in the book. In the book it was blatantly obvious that Sutter is an alcoholic and that he was turning Aimee into one. In the movie it took kind of a back seat. You could tell that Sutter drank but you didn't see just how much. Also the part where Aimee gets drunk and ruins the Prom after party was missing which I was actually kind of looking forward to.

Sutter and Aimee's Relationship: All I will say on this is that Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley work extremely well together and have such great chemistry. I couldn't image anyone else portraying these two characters and creating the same relationship dynamic.

Sutter Writing His College Essays: I actually loved this part. From Sutter writing his college entrance essay you could see the growth of his character from the beginning of the movie to the end. The beginning was all about blaming someone else for his hardships but the end was about taking responsibility.

The Ending: I liked the ending! The very, very end where Sutter shows up in Philadelphia for Aimee. Then it ends. It allows the viewer to be able to create their own ending on whether Sutter and Aimee have a chance or not. I thought it was great.

Final Verdict

This movie probably goes into the top ten of the best book to movie adaptations. The screenwriters kept what was necessary and let go what wasn't. Over all the movie was brilliantly made, amazingly acted, and perfect in every way. I suggest that you go read The Spectacular Now and then go watch the movie!

-Shawnee Smith

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