Tuesday, August 20, 2013


In the Age of “YOLO”- A Review of The Spectacular Now
By Candace Cordelia

Being the good and curious film reviewer that I am, I had to read some other movie reviews about The Spectacular Now before seeing the movie. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 92%, certified fresh rating, with critics calling it “original”, “zesty”, “humane” with lead actors Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, described as “wonderful” and “one of the most appealing onscreen couples in recent memory”. When so much praise is given to a movie, my first feeling is excitement… and then skepticism crawls in. There have been a lot of movies that have been called "a revelation”, but when I see them, I discover inconsistent plots, poorly fleshed out characters, and/or truly bad endings.

The Spectacular Now is a film that does not strive to reinvent the teen rom-com genre of the 80’s, 90’s, and early 00’s, instead it reminds us of  movies like She’s All That and Can’t Buy Me Love, showing authentic emotion through, unfortunately, everyday realities for many families.

The film starts off very simply, introducing us to Sutter (cleverly named after Sutter Home Wines, I wonder?) exquisitely played by Miles Teller. Sutter immediately lets the audience know that he’s an easygoing, average high school kid, who, like many of us that went through the trial of writing a college admissions essay, doesn’t quite know what to write. But he’s popular, has a hot girlfriend, has a nice job that tons of high school and college kids right now would kill for, and he's the life of every party. After all, he does "live in the now" as shown in the opening scenes before the title shot, in crisp cinematography from Jess Hall and James Ponsoldt’s direction.

Then a drunken, passed out Sutter is awakened by Aimee on someone's front lawn. From the first moment I saw and heard Aimee speak, who is played by a luminous Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), I knew in a heartbeat that this film was not going to be the standard meet-cute teen romantic comedy after my Drive Me Crazy loving heart. Thankfully Aimee and Sutter are not Nicole Maris and Chase Hammond, Laney Boggs and Zack Siler, or even Ryan Woodman and Ashley Grant. Neither Aimee nor Sutter is forced into undergoing a wardrobe makeover, complete with a new hairstyle. Sutter does not agree to a bet with his best friend to win Aimee’s heart only to then break it and make up with his ex-girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson). This is not a happily ever after type movie. The beauty of it is how normal everyone seems, how a romance between two kids can happen so fast without any warning or reason.

The unpretentious power of Miles and Shailene’s acting is a gift for all to feast their eyes and ears on. I won’t be surprised if Woodley is at least nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award.  Their performances were original and they seemed at ease in every frame. At many points during the movie I wondered if the director had decided to do away with some scripted dialogue and just let them improvise.

Extremely well written and relatable, this movie leaves you wanting more because Aimee and Sutter are the type of characters that you want to see grow in a few more films or in a TV show based on the movie.  Then there is the rest of the cast, chock filled with tremendous talent such as Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler,Jennifer Jason Leigh and Dayo Okeniyi. I was particularly blown away by the transformations of Chandler and Winstead, having seen a great amount of their past work. Can youimagine Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights as a neglectful, alcoholic father? Or Kate Lloyd from The Thing as an uppity socialite?

If you or anyone you know has dealt with the devastating effects of alcoholism, you’ll understand Sutter and his story. If you or anyone you know has ever had a dream, and of all the people, it's a parent standing in the way of that dream, you’ll understand Aimee's story. But mostly, you’ll fall in love with Aimee and Sutter’s story, as you navigate their first meeting down to the frustrating last scene they share with one another. I only call the last scene frustrating because you just don’t want the story to end.

This weighty, coming-of-age tale may be too simple to grab the attention of movie-goers impatiently waiting for the next installment of The Hunger Games trilogy; but if you are starving for quality acting, characters to dream with and applaud for, lovely visuals, and a clear, significant storyline with twists, you have to check out The Spectacular Now!

 LAMB Score 4.5 out of 5 

Other Candi's Corner posts -
Candi's Corner: Interview with new Evil Dead Director Fede Alvarez
Candi's Corner - Ahhhhhh! Zombies!!! Surviving World War Z
Candi's Corner: 18th Annual Critics Choice Awards Round Up
Be sure to visit Candace Cordelia's Blog - A Confederation of Travelers -
A black hole of entertainment, fashion, arts, culture, & current event news

T &T's LAMB Score

Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog

Philly Events Calendar

ADD YOUR EVENT for FREE! - which includes SOCIAL MEDIA BLASTS!  Click AGENDA VIEW to see complete list of happenings.

Featured Post


Tinsel & Tine Winners for Preview Screening Contest Guest on The LAMB Podcast Lambcast #470: CAPTAIN MARVEL w/ Rich Kirkh...

Food n Film: BURNT

Food n Film: BURNT
Bradley Cooper has more than charisma, he has an over abundance of Chi, which radiates out from him; so for me, this role as temperamental and damaged chef Adam Jones, who also inspires great love and admiration from those around him, works on the level of characterization. In fact, I think he's among a very short list of actors who would be able to pull off being so self-involved and yet likable. Doesn't hurt that he really speaks French too! READ POST

Food n Film: CHEF

Food n Film: CHEF
Much of the movie centers around the father/son relationship, and how much they learn from each other. But the real star of the film is all the food preparation, every other scene made me groan with want of everything up on that screen! Particularly the perfectly roasted and rubbed brisket, the crispy fat of the pork belly, sizzling bacon and the much ballyhooed Chocolate Lava Cake. READ POST


The key to deciphering both the city it beautifully depicts and the man who eats it best - City of Gold

By Tinsel & Tine Contributor Denine Gorniak (The Bicycle-Chef)

What Jonathan Gold, Los Angeles Times food critic/writer, has done for food writing journalism and for the restaurants that he loves, the movie, City of Gold has done for Jonathan Gold and Los Angeles and its surrounding environs – it has planted taco covered kisses on them... READ POST

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT
If you’re a foodie movie lover who saw Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred Foot Journey (see T&T post), this summer you may be wondering what delicious visual journey might be awaiting you in the theater next. Well, how about a look back at his film Chocolat (2000), which stars French actress Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. Hallström’s has a special talent for turning cooking into a dramatic movie journey...READ MORE


...young Hassan, a soulful-eyed boy with lush, thick eye lashes, places his face into the sea urchin basket, and breathes in the exotic briny scent. He sticks his fingers into the aquatic ooze, takes it to his mouth and is transfixed by the taste. The vendor, oblivious to the thrusting arms of frenzied women, notices the boy and realizes he is the only one worthy of this oceanic prize; he is the one who can “truly taste.” ... READ MORE

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA
Personally, I like the unevenness of it, because I fell in love with the post World War II, Parisian sights, sounds, food and romance between Julia and Paul. I always felt a bit jarred back into reality when the scenes returned to Julie's meltdowns and cramped kitchen.READ POST

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE
Six months into my 38th year of this life, I had my first panic attack. I didn't know that's what it was until months later. Symptom after symptom starting piling up on me until there were days I could no longer move my arms or neck. The doctors told me I was suffering from an auto-immune condition that they felt was most likely Lupus. And so began my much deeper journey and exploration into the world of spirit, alternative medicine, yoga, meditation and Eat, Pray, Love. READ POST


With a film like this, food plays a main character in the story and I was lucky enough to get an interview with the film's Food Stylist, Janine Kalesis.READ POST

Food n Film: WAITRESS

Food n Film: WAITRESS
In this 2007 film, Keri Russell stars as Jenna - a desolate diner waitress seeking solace in the art of pie-making. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she’s eager to escape her husband and her small-town hell and sets about to make a run for it by entering an out of town pie baking contest. READ POST


Those of us in attendance were not only given the opportunity to see Babette's Feast, the Oscar winning, Danish film, considered one of the all-time great "food films"; we also got to taste Babette's menu! READ POST


I participated in WalkMS Philly on 4/30/16
Thank you to the readers who donated to the cause - It's not too late to support! Click badge below

15 Top Food in Film Flicks

15 Top Food in Film Flicks
Cozy Quilt of Food Movies, we'll add more patches as T &T discovers more films where food plays the biggest "roll"

Tinsel & Tine on

Tinsel & Tine on
Really love this platform, you feature your stuff and other people's stuff you follow, and it all configures like the front page of a newspaper. Click to see what I mean

Visit Our YouTube Channel

Visit Our YouTube Channel
View Q & A's with visiting Filmmakers to Philly

Philly Food and Film

Videographer Oliver Gallini 5 min short featuring organic-chemist-turned-chef, Townsend Wentz, who got his start at The Four Seasons Philadelphia.


Cross Content Blogs


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tinsel & Tine was nominated for a VBA



group of 10,000 women bloggers dedicated to supporting one another by leaving comments

Women Online

The Blogstress Network

The Blogstress Network
Female Bloggers Unite

Contributor from 2010 - 2012

About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

Camera Tips


  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP