Watching “The Spectacular Now,” reminds me why I love watching movies. It’s a film that’s been released for a little while now, but I found it as an excellent opportunity to make a point about film itself – more specifically, the oft-forgotten indie film.
Smaller stories tend to get thrown into the shadows of big blockbuster films, and finding these little morsels, especially films we haven’t even heard of, can be like finding a present under the Christmas tree.
“The Spectacular Now” is a coming of age, romantic comedy starring Miles Teller as Sutter, a hotshot senior in high school whose world turns upside down when he meets Aimee (Shailene Woodley), the ‘nice-girl’ of his school.
I had seen it once before, but after re-watching it and looking past its clichéd surface, I discovered that it is truly one of the last great rom-coms in the lifespan of great rom-coms.
We don’t see films like this nowadays, especially in the rom-com genre. Aside from a few exceptions like 2011’s “Crazy Stupid Love,” 2013’s “Don Jon,” and 2018’s “Love, Simon,” the American rom-com genre as a whole has been plagued by films pandering to a target audience with nothing deeper to say.
Films such as “The Kissing Booth” seek out an audience looking for the next teen fairytale. Nothing about them is original or feels genuine. With lazy writing meant to tug at young heartstrings, these films lose that feeling of being in the real world. It seems that everyone in rom-coms fall in love at first sight.
What makes films like “The Spectacular Now” so special is that they let us spend time with our characters and build their relationships so that the audience can feel as if we’re a part of it. It’s just, to put it simply, good storytelling.
So why aren’t people watching indie films? They’ve got great characters and good storytelling, so why put them on the back burner?
We are flooded with the big blockbuster films, and while a lot of them are great, the marketing campaigns behind them make it nearly impossible for a smaller budget film to get advertising out into the public eye.
People rarely talk about films like “The Spectacular Now” because they don’t know they exist. It can also be hard to find some of these films. While larger theatres will play indie films sometimes, you have to actively search for them and know what you’re searching for. Smaller theater chains tend to play these independent movies and if you can find one of these theaters, I suggest supporting them.
Like “The Spectacular Now,” some of these smaller films are true gems. Simply browsing through Netflix, Hulu or iTunes can allow you to find some of these smaller films that you may not have seen or even heard of before.