WEIRDLAND: Sense of Malaise in USA, The Spectacular Now: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sense of Malaise in USA, The Spectacular Now: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley

The Spectacular Now - upon meeting the bookish, slightly naive Aimee Finecky (the radiant-without-makeup Shailene Woodley), Sutter's life is changed and he starts to have real feelings for her. What you begin to notice as the film goes on is that Sutter is always carrying a giant soda cup with him everywhere he goes. And before long we realize that said cup is filled with some type of alcohol. 

What makes the film all the more tragic is that Sutter is so down on himself that he feels the need to bring others down with him, and before long he's got Aimee drinking right along with him. Nothing in The Spectacular Now plays out how you think it will... there are a great number of subtle elements at work. Aimee lets her perfect grades slip a bit, but she doesn't spiral the way Sutter does. He's probably the smartest kid at his school, but his issues with drinking and an absentee dad are contributing to a general sense of malaise. He could be a straight-A student, but he doesn't care (it kills her to see him struggle). 

There's a love scene between them that is both perfectly awkward and quietly romantic. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley mesh so beautifully together that you can't help but want to see where this couple ends up in five or 10 years. Their natural spark adds a light touch to the proceeds, and as a result, there's a great deal of knowing humor throughout. The film's conclusion offers no easy answers about their future, but it still manages to convey a sense of hope. This movie comes the closest to capturing the tumultuous, swirling trappings of male and female youth. Source:

Get a Job is a comedy about finding your way through a tough job market, but it’s also a movie that will find very little favor among anyone who has ever found themselves unemployed and looking for a job. Miles Teller continues to play upon his generally likeable personality that makes it easier to forgive him even when the film borrows a Seinfeld gag where he has to borrow urine from his father to pass a required drug test. At least it also wisely chooses not to steal the Seinfeld punchline, instead having Teller struggling with a tube spraying urine everywhere as he tries to fill the sample jar.

Teller and Cranston are quite fantastic as father and son, and they’re constantly the saving grace to a film that never quite finds its footing, especially when it tries to follow Will’s loser friends and their own attempts to keep a job. By the time Gillian (Anna Kendrick) loses her job over an hour into a movie, it’s become obvious the filmmakers don’t know what to do with the women in their movie, as they throw Kendrick in front of a video game taking tokes off a bong, as if that’s what her character might do in that situation. Source:

The suicide rate in the US has surged to its highest level in almost three decades, according to a new report. The increase is particularly pronounced among middle-age white people who now account for a third of all US suicides. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report did not offer an explanation for the steep rise. However, other experts have pointed to increased abuse of prescription opiates and the financial downturn that began in 2008 as likely factors. "This is part of the larger emerging pattern of evidence of the links between poverty, hopelessness and health," Robert D Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, told the New York Times. CDC reported that suicides have increased in the US to a rate of 13 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1986. In 2014, more than 14,000 middle-aged white people killed themselves. That figure is double the combined suicides total for all blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Alaska Natives. Source:

Shailene Woodley spoke to the audience about her reasons for supporting Sanders and her personal experience volunteering for the campaign. She told personal stories and referenced issues such as climate change and the recent New York primary. She encouraged audience members to vote and to actively participate in volunteering for the campaign. “We have to bring and demand justice back in our country,” Woodley told the audience, adding that this is a “true political revolution that is bigger than us in this room, bigger than Bernie.” Source:

The Resilience of American Ideals: American exceptionalism is not just something that Americans claim for themselves. Discard the system that created the cultural capital, and the qualities we have loved about Americans will go away. Historically, Americans have been different as everyone around the world has recognized it. I am thinking of qualities such as American industriousness and neighborliness, but also American optimism even when there doesn’t seem to be any good reason for it, our striking lack of class envy, and the assumption by most Americans that they are in control of their own destinies. Finally, there is the most lovable of exceptional American qualities: our tradition of insisting that we are all part of the middle class, even if we aren’t. The exceptionalism has not been a figment of anyone’s imagination, and it has been wonderful, unique among the nations of the earth, and immeasurably precious. Let’s not forget it, or we may end up regretting it for good. -"Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010" (2013) by Charles Murray

No comments :