Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) with Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley)
The Spectacular Now
"This is probably not the venue for such a confession, but I don't much enjoy reading screenplays, even great ones. I rarely find myself truly immersed in a script, because you can usually see the strings (character development, three-act structure, a recognition and reversal) moving the puppets. As well you should, I suppose, since everyone actually making a movie needs to know what strings to pull and when to pull them.
The astonishing genius of Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter's “The Spectacular Now” is that it manages both to be a great blueprint for a film and a great read. In Aimee Finecky and Sutter Keely, we have two of the most complex and nuanced teen characters the movies have seen in decades, kids whose mixed-up fears and desires propel them through a story that in lesser hands might've been too quiet or too melodramatic. “The Spectacular Now” is neither: It refuses to flinch and it refuses to judge. The dialogue is precise and compelling, with each character's voice fully realized, and it's the kind of loving and generous adaptation that novelists never even dare to wish for.
It's easy enough to shout carpe diem from the rooftops, but with “The Spectacular Now,” Weber and Neustadter show us what it actually means to live only for the day.
Young adult author John Green won the Michael L. Printz Award for his first novel, “Looking for Alaska.” His book “The Fault in Our Stars” reached No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.