My review & pictures of “The Spectacular Now” World Premiere Q&A at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival

On Tuesday, January 22, 2013 I attended the highly anticipated World Premiere of The Spectacular Now at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The sold-out screening was held in the 1270-seat Eccles Theatre. The film was a selection in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.

Director James Ponsoldt holds a special place in my cinematic heart since I was such a fan of 2006's Off the Black. I covered that splendid film's World Premiere as well as a half dozen successive festival screenings of it -- even flew to Chicago for the theatrical opening there. For the same reason, though, I hold him and his work to a higher standard. With The Spectacular Now, penned by (500) Days of Summer writers Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter from the Tim Tharp novel, Ponsoldt delivered on that promise. By film's end it was "The Spectacular Wow." But it didn't happen right away. Initially, the incessant use of alcohol turned me off, as it had in last year's Smashed (although I recognized the necessity of it). About halfway through I'd written it off as acceptable but not exceptional, and did not anticipate picking it as a favorite.

Then something changed. At a pivotal moment in the movie I had an epiphany that instantly catapulted the film onto my mental Top 10 and, from that point on, I was overwhelmed with the honesty of the narrative and star Miles Teller's nuanced performance. It convinced me that this is certainly a work worthy of praise and wide distribution. I was truly moved as I witnessed Ponsoldt's expansion beyond the conventions of the genre to help create such a real, authentic coming-of-age film.

Following the premiere, The Spectacular Now was acquired for theatrical release by A24 Films, a new distributor based in New York. "We fell in love with this film the minute that we watched it and we know the rest of the country will embrace this timeless love story," said an A24 spokesperson. "James has directed a wonderful film that depicts young love with complete authenticity and has two young stars giving incredible performances with Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley." Producer Andrew Lauren added, "I am so thrilled that the film has found a home with a company that has such passion for it. It’s been an amazing Sundance and we are so gratified by the incredibly warm response here." The film will open in limited release August 2.

Ponsoldt introduced the film and returned to the stage after the screening for an entertaining Q&A session. He was joined by stars Miles Teller and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, cinematographer Jess Hall, and producers Andrew Lauren and Tom McNulty

Here are some pictures I shot during the intro and Q&A:

INTRO AND Q&A GALLERY (58 photos on 3 pages)


Here is a set of photos from the Los Angeles Special Screening at the Vista Theatre with director James Ponsoldt and cast members Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, and Dayo Okeniyi, along with screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. All photos by David Croddy from Patrick McMullan Company.


Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at

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  • Author: Larry Richman
  • Posted: January 26, 2013
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