Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Spectacular Now | Christopher's space

I avoided the sports news after I awoke yesterday morning. I did hear something about a judge’s ruling in San Jose’s lawsuit against Major League Baseball. I left for the office and got some writing done. I saw an early morning with the employees complaining about the supervisor who was on vacation. It was a pretty quiet day at work. A couple of people mentioned the A’s to me. I talked about how there was an absence of male authors in children’s literature. I went home to have my late lunch before walking over to the theatre for “The Spectacular Now.” I didn’t know what it was about, but the poster said that it was from the writers of “(500) Days of Summer.” What I thought afterwards was that it felt like “Say Anything.” You’ve got a teenager named Sutter who wants to avoid adulthood meeting a girl named Aimee. He looks like a combination of John Cusack, Scott Baio, and Judge Reinhold. She is a fan of science fiction graphic novels. He sneaks drinks from a flask and is failing geometry. She wants to go to college in Philadelphia. They both are living in Georgia with their mothers and without their fathers. I felt that Aimee was falling in love with mediocrity. This guy can’t answer basic questions about geometry, and he’s irresponsible and immature. Oh, I have to fall in love with him because he pays attention to me. Who gets a D+ on a geometry test, anyway? Grades are so inflated in high school, and teacher are so to get rid of the students that they’re willing you a B is you merely show up, don’t cause trouble, and give at least a half-hearted effort. I have been sick of teenage movies for years. Sutter has idealized memories of his father, because all he see is nagging from his mother. He likes good times. He has a way of making friends, but no one takes him seriously. He’s supposed to be a person with an extroverted surface, but who internalizes many of his emotions. I don’t think this is such a brilliant revelation. There were two moments in the movie that stood out to me. One was Sutter’s visit to see his father, which naturally is awkward, with the father not being such a great person to hang around with. The sequence ends with a surprising accident which injures Aimee. That was a surprising development in the story. I wouldn’t say that I liked it, either. It felt almost like a horror movie moment, like something Simon Pegg would hit us with. I also thought that the scene where Sutter’s boos talks to him about his employment was interesting. He’s honest about his conduct, at least at that moment. Before you give him credit, he did lie to Aimee about what his father was doing. You notice that both of these teenagers felt that they have to “stand up” to their mothers. The closest thing to an adult perspective we get comes from Sutter’s mother and sister and geometry teacher. Jennifer Jason Leigh was pretty much unrecognizable to me. She was one of the teenagers in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” That was 31 years ago, and now she’s playing the mother of teenage characters. I wonder if she learned anything in all those years. I tried to think back on “(500) Days of Summer” to see if I could recall any similarities. All I remembered were Zooey Deschanel, Ringo Starr, and Hall and Oates. I thought some of the effective scenes in “The Spectacular Now” same towards the end, when Sutter was starting to realize some things. His treasured job wasn’t so secure, and his ex-girlfriend was packing up to go to California. His world was changing despite his wishes. Some of it reminded me of “Breaking Away” and “The Last Picture Show.” One thing I couldn’t help noticing about the two main characters was the size of their noses. It was a little distracting, but better than plastic surgery. I thought the character of the friend seeking a date was underdeveloped. I wished the movie had more of a sense of humor. If I have to sit through a movie about teenagers, I should see something amusing, like in “Easy A.” Teenagers already behave as though the world revolves around them, and we don’t need any more movies to feed that warped mentality. I would say that the soundtrack wasn’t memorable. There was nothing as conspicuous as “In Your Eyes.” I would suggest seeing this movie on DVD instead of paying eight dollars or more for it. I walked home and gathered my laundry to clean my sweaty A’s shirts for the last time. I saw one of the familiar A’s fans as I walked down the street, and she recognized me and said hello. She laughed at the sight of me wearing a Warriors cap. I listened to Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks” album. I watched the NUMB3RS episode called “Dirty Bomb” as I sorted my laundry. It didn’t seem that Charlie did very much in this episode. I also watched the John Prine DVD that I had lying around. It was too bad that “Souvenirs” was not in the program. Prine did drive around his hometown. In the cold morning today, I took out my trash. I saw a feature on CBS This Morning about a horror movie that was shot without permission at Disney World. I couldn’t see how it could turn out to be a great movie. It just seemed to have a gimmick. Anthony Mason talked with Robbie Robertson about a new book. Robertson seemed to have hair that did not look natural. I will have to look for this book at Barnes and Noble because I would like to see if it is worth buying. I had my breakfast and listened to a Buddy Holly album. I’ve accumulated a small stack of records I haven’t listened to yet. I was too preoccupied with the A’s. Some of the people who died on October 11 include Tom Mix (1940), Sonja Henie (1969), Gene Vincent (1971), Nancy Spungen (1978), Johnny Olson (1985), John Denver (1997), Wilt Chamberlain (1999), and Willie Shoemaker (2003). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for October 12, the Rolling Stones released “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” in 1996. In 1997, the Janet Jackson album “The Velvet Rope” was banned in Singapore.

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