Blu-ray Review: Teen Movies Don’t Get Better Than ‘The Spectacular Now’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 3 (2 votes)

We are surrounded by fiction about teenagers that treats both its subjects and its target audience like idiots. So few filmmakers understand the problems and emotions of young people that when a film as great as “The Spectacular Now” comes along (my #13 of 2013), it’s a small miracle. Reminiscent of the best of Cameron Crowe, James Ponsoldt’s adaptation of Tim Tharp’s novel (from a script robbed of an Oscar nod by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber) is a fantastic drama about a kid realizing that he may be peaking in high school. The Blu-ray is well-accompanied by a fantastic commentary from Ponsoldt, 20 minutes of deleted scenes, and featurettes. Blu-ray rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

What’s in those 20 minutes? Proof that the editing process is essential to the success of a final film. “The Spectacular Now” at 115 minutes with these scenes included would not have been as strong of a film. There are beats that really work and I wish Ponsoldt could have somehow saved the line, delivered by Bob Odenkirk, “You’re a great guy but you don’t have much of a grasp on the idea of consquence,” as it says so much about Sutter (Miles Teller), but most of these scenes are either repetitive or flatly delivered. Shailene Woodley is fantastic in a post-coitus scene in which she talks about her first time but I think it was the right call to cut that scene narratively. It’s also joy to hear someone as passionate about his art as Ponsoldt do an audio track. The guy knows and loves movies.

The Spectacular Now was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 14, 2014
The Spectacular Now was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 14, 2014
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), a high school kid with effortless charm and the self-proclaimed “life of the party,” is having the perfect senior year - until he loses both his girlfriend and his part-time job. But when he meets Aimee (Shailene Woodley), the “nice girl” next door, an unlikely romance begins as Sutter and Aimee struggle to overcome their differences and help each other through the many challenges of growing up.

Special Features:
o Deleted Scenes
o Then To Now: Making The Spectacular Now
o Inception: Defying Hollywood
o Cast: Finding The Voice
o Aesthetic: Authenticity Counts
o Real: Bringing It All To Life
o Audio Commentary With Director James Ponsoldt

“The Spectacular Now” stars Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler, and Bob Odenkirk. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 14, 2014. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director's picture


Love this film!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Advertisement on Twitter

archive Top Ten Discussions