Stream of the Day: ‘The Spectacular Now’ and the Brilliant Long Take That Deserves More Praise

Stream of the Day: ‘The Spectacular Now’ and the Brilliant Long Take That Deserves More Praise
Movie history is full of great long takes. In “Goodfellas,” Martin Scorsese shows off Henry Hill’s hot shot status by tracking him as he makes his way through a nightclub. Alfonso Cuarón sticks his camera inside of a moving car as it’s being ambushed and never cuts in order to maximize tension in “Children of Men.” Most Steve McQueen films capture characters’ pain by holding a static shot for minutes on end so the experience feels just as punishing for the viewer. Usually, this kind of balletic filmmaking comes from directors known for bold, ambitious gambles. James Ponsoldt, the filmmaker behind “Smashed” and “The End of the Tour,” is not a name one often sees associated with such virtuoso filmmaking. And yet, 24 minutes into Ponsoldt’s third feature, “The Spectacular Now,” comes one of the most delicate and soulful long takes of the century.

The Spectacular Now” debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival,
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