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‘The Year of Spectacular Men’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

‘The Year of Spectacular Men’: Film Review | LAFF 2017

The Hollywood Reporter – At the helm of a big-screen feature for the first time, Lea Thompson directs a comedy written by her daughter Madelyn Deutch, who stars with her real-life sister Zoey Deutch.
Sisterly chemistry is the natural resource fueling The Year of Spectacular Men, an uneven but sparky comedy showcasing Madelyn Deutch and her real-life sib Zoey, star of such features as Why Him? and Vampire Academy. Revolving around a succession of romantic misadventures, the film was written by Madelyn, whose mostly witty dialogue and assured performance as an aimless college grad updates the archetype of the smart ditz with a modern sexual frankness.

For the twentysomethings with whom the movie is sure to click, the sarcastic jabs at such easy targets as health-conscious New Age types might feel fresh rather than strained. But even with the screenplay’s sometimes screechy missteps, the Deutch duo hold the screen with charm and intelligence to spare.

The family affair extends to the director’s chair, occupied by the Deutches’ mother, the veteran actress Lea Thompson (Back to the Future), while their father, Pretty in Pink director Howard Deutch, serves as a producer. They each bring notable experience with coming-of-age stories to the 12-month saga of a lovable hot mess. Though there’s a specifically millennial slant to this twentysomething’s search for meaning and purpose, the bright and polished film has a retro sheen that fondly recalls romantic comedies of the ’70s and ’80s.

That’s especially so in the opening sequence, Thompson’s unequivocal tip of the hat to Woody Allen: New York City scenery, New Orleans jazz on the score, a glimpse of a therapist’s couch as a series of young men recall their relationships with Izzy Klein (Madelyn Deutch). The year of languor and reckoning begins in sunny May, with Izzy’s indifferent graduation from college and unexpected breakup with Aaron (Jesse Bradford), who’s fed up with her lack of direction. Deciding to give acting a try, Izzy heads home to Los Angeles, where her younger but decidedly more worldly sister Sabrina (Zoey Deutch) is a busy, up-and-coming movie actress.

The warm, stable relationship between Sabrina and her actor boyfriend Sebastian — played by a terrific Avan Jogia, Zoey Deutch’s former offscreen partner — is the only element of the movie that doesn’t spring from stereotypes. It actually defies them. Sabrina and Sebastian aren’t pathologically self-involved Hollywood snobs; they’re good people. That a trio of friendly middle-aged paparazzi (Bob Clendenin, Alison Martin and Troy Evans) camp outside their place is one of the more inventively playful touches in Madelyn Deutch’s script.

Izzy’s clueless auditions follow a more familiar course, and she soon withdraws from the world to spend months holed up chez Sabrina, indulging her X-Files obsession until her persistent sister pries her out of her room. Their every back-and-forth has verbal snap as well as the offhand intimacy of people with a deep bond. By contrast, the underlying drama between them, involving a secret that Izzy has been keeping from Sabrina about their father, feels tacked-on and never delivers the intended punch.

As for Izzy’s romantic entanglements, her kooky flailing and sweet sincerity are far more spectacular than the men themselves, who range from the insufferably pretentious (Cameron Monaghan as a classmate) to the openly sincere (Zach Roerig as a ski-slope rescuer). The screenplay strikes deeper chords in Izzy’s relationship with a drummer (Brandon T. Jackson) and her flirtation with a shy film director (Nicholas Braun); in both cases, Deutch fearlessly punctures romance-novel illusions about sex.

Thompson, who has directed episodes of TV series including The Goldbergs, has an eye for physical comedy and maintains a suitably brisk pace. She sometimes indulges overwritten scenes, though. And a sitcom sensibility occasionally intrudes upon the clear-eyed material, particularly in Thompson’s performance as Izzy and Sabrina’s widowed mother, whose lesbian relationship with a younger yoga-and-quinoa enthusiast (Melissa Bolona) is more punchline fodder than convincing human interaction. It’s also an excuse for a sequence set in wintry Lake Tahoe that unravels in predictable rom-com melodrama but offers the visual delight of Izzy’s bungling attempt at skiing.

Always energetic but sometimes underpowered in terms of emotional connection, the movie has a bright look, thanks to the contributions of designers Sara Millan and Kate Mallor and the smooth, unobtrusive camerawork of Bryan Koss. Thompson casts the story’s youthful, warts-and-all exuberance in a burnished, slightly unreal glow. At its strongest, Izzy’s postcollegiate Year is a smartly fractured fairy tale.

Venue: Los Angeles Film Festival (LA Muse)
Production company: Parkside Pictures
Cast: Madelyn Deutch, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Nicholas Braun, Jesse Bradford, Lea Thompson, Cameron Monaghan, Brandon T. Jackson, Zach Roerig, Melissa Bolona, Bob Clendenin, Alison Martin, Troy Evans, Alex Mapa
Director: Lea Thompson
Screenwriter: Madelyn Deutch
Producers: Daniel Roth, Damiano Tucci, Howard Deutch, Gordon Gilbertson,Zoey Deutch
Executive producers: Michael Tadross Jr., Christopher Conover
Director of photography: Bryan Koss
Production designer: Sara Millan
Costume designer: Kate Mallor
Editor: Seth Flaum
Composers: Madelyn Deutch, Denver Dalley
Casting: Tineka Becker

102 minutes

Lea Thompson talks directing her daughters in ‘The Year of Spectacular Men’

Lea Thompson talks directing her daughters in ‘The Year of Spectacular Men’

The Hollywood ReporterWhat did you learn about your daughters by directing them?

Through this process, I learned more about them as people and as artists, and I’m sure they learned a lot about me! I was surprised by how sharp their comedy skills are, and what mensches they are to their fellow crewmembers. An independent film, or any film really, is such a high-stakes environment. But it made me happy to hear Madelyn’s words being spoken by the cast, and to have her do the music, since Women in Film says that only one percent of films are scored by women. This process has been one of the great joys of my life and I’m excited for people to see what the Deutch girls have been up to.

Gallery links:
Film Productions > The Year of Spectacular Men (2017) > Promotional Pictures > Posters

Zoey Deutch knows the transformative power of a good outfit

Zoey Deutch knows the transformative power of a good outfit

Glamour – She’s only 22, but Zoey Deutch has already racked up 15 films (Vampire Academy, Everybody Wants Some!!, Before I Fall among them) to cement her status as one of Hollywood’s rising stars. But that only tells half the story: She’s also a producer, activist, and fashion’s newest one to watch, largely thanks to Max Mara. Deutch was handpicked by the Italian label as its 2017 Women in Film Face of the Future award recipient.

Even before Max Mara was toasting Deutch in Los Angeles, though, the multi-hyphenate was featured as part of Net-a-Porter’s 2017 Women in Hollywood shoot for The Edit, had a few Met Galas under her belt, and was already fluent in the fashion-show-front-row squad pose. More crucially, though, she understood the transformative role that style can have on a person. “The most important thing about fashion is that it’s a form of expression,” Deutch told Glamour at the Face of the Future reception thrown in her honor. “It means every single day is different. At an event like this, I don’t want to only feel beautiful, but I want to feel powerful. The right outfit is like a suit of armor and makes you walk differently, talk differently, move differently. I think that’s a real gift, and I feel like that in this [outfit]!”

In a moment of true candor, Deutch then admitted that even though she might look like the epitome of cool in her red velvet blazer over a bandeau top of the same material, “I’m sweating and now my coat’s off and I’m half-naked here!”

Still, the actress knows that being one’s authentic self trumps maintaining an exhaustive image of looking like you’ve got it all together. “The best pictures are when you have life and personality,” she explained. “[Red carpets] can be so scary and constraining that it [ends up having] the opposite effect, so it’s about tricking yourself into not being scared and [transforming] that into being confident and alive.”

Throughout her career, we’ve seen Deutch photographed in brands like Miu Miu, Rodarte, Alexander McQueen, and, of course, Max Mara. When it comes to her day-to-day style, though, you’re more likely to spot her wearing “high-waisted vintage Levi’s, some really old Converse, and a white short-sleeved shirt.” As a public figure, though, she’s very aware of the power of aligning oneself with empowered female designers. “To me, that’s especially meaningful because I am from a family of women in film,” she told Glamour. “My mother [Lea Thompson] is a director and actor, and my sister is a writer and actor. And to get the support of Max Mara is [amazing because] they’re all about empowering and supporting women in the art and film world.” We can’t wait to see more of that.

Zoey Deutch talks ‘Wonder Woman’ and power dressing

Zoey Deutch talks ‘Wonder Woman’ and power dressing

The Hollywood Reporter – Riding a Wonder Woman high, the Women In Film cocktail party celebrating Face of the Future Zoe Deutch on Tuesday night at the Chateau Marmont was an upbeat affair.

“If I had a superhero movie like that when I was a kid, I would have walked down the street and thought, I can do anything!,” said Deutch, dressed in a red velvet bra top and pantsuit by Max Mara, sponsor of the party as well as tonight’s annual Women In Film gala.

Director Patty Jenkins is undoubtedly Hollywood’s new superhero, scoring the best box office debut for a female director ever. But Deutch is no slouch either.

“To be honored by Women in Film is really special because I come from a family of women in film,” she said, noting that her mother Lea Thompson is an actor and director, and her sister Madelyn Deutch is a writer and actor.

Thompson, who was also at the party, directed her two daughters in the upcoming The Year of Spectacular Men, which is premiering at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Zoey also appears in Rebel in the Rye opening this fall, the upcoming Flower which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and she’s currently shooting Set It Up in New York City.

She’s also becoming a bit of a fashion plate (the bra top, she admits was a daring choice). “My style is dependent on my mood. I don’t want to just feel beautiful, I want to feel powerful and ready,” she said. [Fashion] “can make you walk differently, talk differently, hold your head differently, and that can be a real gift. That’s what I seek out when I’m trying to find an outfit for an event like this, which feels like my second bat mitzvah,” she said, popping up from a couch to greet friends.

The one fashion item in her closet she’d never give up? “A Kenzo coat I got on sale at Opening Ceremony. It’s big and black with shoulder pads and embroidered eyes all over it. I wear it when I go to something where I’m not sure I’m going to know anyone. It’s a talking point.”

Scans from InStyle Magazine July issue

Scans from InStyle Magazine July issue

Zoey Deutch is featured on July issue of InStyle Magazine and you can check the article and the scans below:

Zoey to the Max

“You should be really grateful you’re not catching me when I’ve had a full night of sleep,” Zoey Deutch says, by way of introduction. “Because you would be so exhausted!”

Due to her electric personality and machine-gun diction, the 22-year-old actress is often called a spark plug, but it might be more accurate to describe her as a nuclear reactor. Wrapped in an oversize camel coat from Max Mara at Milan’s Mandarin Oriental hotel shortly after attending the label’s fall runway show, she bounces between the topics of fashion, film, family, and even her irrational fears (don’t get her started on revolving doors) with an impressive exuberance.

“When people tell me I have a lot of energy, I usually feel bad for them, but then they only have to spend a certain amount of time with me,” Deutch says wryly. “I have to be with me all the time.”

In fact, her enthusiasm is infectious, which helps explain why Deutch has managed to vault from Vampire Academy and Disney tween fare to the forefront of the millennial generation in Hollywood after a handful of eclectic yet well-received performances, notably in Richard Linklater’s 2016 teen romp Everybody Wants Some!! and the young adult yarn Before I Fall. And she will appear in several daring roles coming this year, including that of the wildspirited Oona O’Neill during her 1940s romance with J.D. Salinger in Rebel in the Rye.

But it is Deutch’s commitment to speaking up for social causes at a young age that inspired Women in Film, which promotes equal opportunities in the media industry, to name her its 2017 Max Mara Face of the Future Award winner.

“I’m so involved in women’s activism and rights that it feels very fitting to be aligned with a brand that celebrates women in film and art,” says Deutch, who began campaigning on behalf of Planned Parenthood two years ago after reading about congressional e orts to defund the nonprofit. And with her family (her mother is the actress Lea Thompson, her father the director Howard Deutch) she has worked for more than a decade with Corazón de Vida, which supports orphanages in Baja, Mexico. “It’s nice to be part of a generation that is taking more of a vocal stance,” Deutch says. “I don’t think silence makes you safe.”

Deutch’s advocacy has won accolades on Instagram, where she mixes personal images with feminist messages. “I’m just trying to have an open conversation with as many people as I can, and that includes those who don’t always agree with me,” she says.

Yet it’s not all politics for Deutch. She’s already captured the attention of designers—beyond her Max Mara connection, the actress turned heads in Tory Burch at the Met Gala this year and was seated front row at Dolce & Gabbana’s millennial-themed show in 2016.

“I’m very particular about what I wear,” she says. “One of my favorite things to do with my mom and sister is to go to garage sales. We take road trips to visit thrift stores in Albuquerque or Montana.”

Vintage clothes and Max Mara coats aside, Deutch likes to be unpredictable with her look. “I’ll go out with my friends to a club in L.A. in a full black lawyer suit, totally buttoned up, with pointy heels, and I’m barely even showing the tips of my fingers. They’ll be like, ‘Zoey?’”

Gallery links:
Magazines & Scans > 2017 > InStyle (July)