Everett Collection
January 17, 2014 at 05:00 AM EST

So it makes sense that The Spectacular Now is often compared to Say Anything… (1989, 1 hr., 40 mins., PG-13), Cameron Crowe’s textured tale of postadolescent love. Both films take genre clichés — overprotective parents, overperforming valedictorians, overanxious virgins — and go behind the cardboard cutouts to reveal the little things that actually prop them up. Sutter and John Cusack’s Lloyd Dobler are kith and kin in the way they fear making decisions that will box them in, are lacking a present father figure, and are willing to throw themselves into romance despite their better judgment. In her graduation speech the object of Lloyd’s affection, Diane Court (Ione Skye), says, ”But when I think about the future, the truth is, I am really scared.” What these movies get is that it’s the good kind of scared. A-

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