Last night I had the opportunity to attend an advance screening of The Spectacular Now at the Southside Works Cinema (thanks Pittsburgh Film Office!). I love movies, and I love free things, so this was pretty exciting. I'd heard a lot of good things about the film, and was particularly excited to see Shailene Woodley's performance, since she can apparently do no wrong. I thought she was incredible in The Descendants, and I'm really looking forward to her role as Hazel in the upcoming The Fault In Our Stars. Now I'm going to get up on my 'Pittsburgh is awesome' box, because they start filming for Fault here on Monday, which means exciting movie biz people are here, which led to a fun surprise last night.... Screenwriter Shenanigans! Seriously, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who also wrote (500) Days of Summer together, were already in town and knew nothing about this advance screening until someone tweeted them, asking if they were coming. They not only came, but they did a wonderful Q&A after the film that really made the whole thing click. Critics have been throwing around John Hughes comparisons when talking about this film, but if you go in thinking you're about to see Ferris Bueller--be warned. It's much more Breakfast Club. I think this praise (which it is) comes more from the honesty of the characters. They defy stereotypes, Shailene's Aimee balking when asked by charming Sutter (Miles Teller) what her "Thing" is... she likes to think that people are more than just one thing. Every character here (with the possible exception of Sutter's alcoholic father) refuse to fit into the neatly labeled character boxes we've come to expect when watching films set in high school. What it most reminded me of was probably The Perks of Being a Wallflower, simply for its refusal to pass judgment on the characters, regardless of their actions. Like their (500) Days of Summer, Neustadter and Weber end on a hopeful, rather than happy, note. I don't enjoy summarizing plots, because I feel that it takes away a person’s ability to give in to the experience if they know what's coming, but I will say that this was a beautiful piece with excellently rich characters you come to quickly care about. The movie is in limited release now (aka not playing here yet, because we’re still not a big enough city, grr) but when it opens wide on August 28 I recommend you check it out.