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Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Films of 2013: #76. James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now

Director: James Ponsoldt
Writer(s): Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Producer(s): Michelle Krumm, Andrew Lauren, Shawn Levy, Tom McNulty
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Miles Teller

James Ponsoldt picked up some major accolades exactly one year to the date with the type of sobering drama that landed with a thud and deftly displayed his bravura. Directly following Smashed, Ponsoldt signed up for The Spectacular Now – it’ll be interesting to see how he works from other folks’ material – he appears to be in good hands as the book adaptation was penned by 500 Days of Summer scribes Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter, and on screen Mary Elizabeth Winstead re-teams with Ponsoldt, leading an ensemble that includes Shailene Woodley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brie Larson and Miles Teller.

Gist: Based on Tim Tharp’s novel, Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) lives in the now. It’s a good place for him. A high school senior, charming and self-possessed, he’s the life of the party, loves his job at a men’s clothing store, and has no plans for the future. A budding alcoholic, he’s never far from his supersized, whisky-fortified thirst-master cup. But after being dumped by his girlfriend, Sutter gets drunk and wakes up on a lawn with Aimee Finicky (Shailene Woodley) hovering over him. She’s different: the “nice girl” who reads science fiction and doesn’t have a boyfriend. While Amy has dreams of a future, Sutter lives in the impressive delusion of a spectacular now, yet somehow, they’re drawn together.

Release Date: U.S. Dramatic Competition selection at this year’s Sundance Film Festival – this should find a buyer before the fest’s end with a definite release in ’13.


Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).


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