The poster for The Spectacular Now is quite misleading. When I first saw it, my eye was drawn to the girl in the yellow dress amidst a sea of green. Two teenagers sitting on the trunk of a used sedan, dressed for prom, and the giant words THE SPECTACULAR NOW. Clearly this is a teen movie about first love, about high school, about a time and place where the world was right there at our fingertips. The Spectacular Now indeed. What I didn’t know until I saw the movie that the present the girl in the yellow dress is holding is not an innocent Prom Corsage. It is a flask.
The boy in the poster is Sutter (Miles Teller), a high school senior who doesn’t want to leave high school, his town of Athens, GA or the bottle. The movie opens with a montage of him partying, having sex with his girlfriend (Brie Larson), and drinking. He narrates all this with excitement and reverence. He loves himself. He also loves everyone around him. But he especially loves drinking. A lot of teenagers drink, but few of them carry a pocket flask and spike their Big Gulps with brandy. Sutter doesn’t think he has a problem, most likely because no one has told he that he does have a problem. He is such a charming drunk and nothing terrible has happened, it’s probably just a phase that he’ll grow out of.