The Way Way Back (2013) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Shy 14-year-old Duncan goes on summer vacation with his mother, her overbearing boyfriend, and her boyfriend's daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen, manager of the Water Wizz water park. Runtime: 103 mins Release Date: 25 Jul 2013
Way Way to the top of my list as one of the best movies of 2013! (by meeza)
I have to go way way back in thinking of a coming-of-age summer comedic movie that made me feel so good, and in doing that the classic "Meatballs" comes to mind. The dynamic duo team of Nat Faxon & Jim Rash have swimmingly perfected a film that homages "Meatballs" and puts a new spin to it, without duplicating it; and that would be in their craft filmmaking of "The Way Way Back". The film stars teen actor Liam James as 14 year-old Duncan who is an isolated teen who despises the idea of taking a summer vacation with his timid mother Pam, her arrogant boyfriend <more>
Trent, and Trent's narcissistic daughter Steph. Their vacation spot is at Trent's beach house where nearby has a water park; I will slide into that one a little later in my review. Trent does have a few eccentric neighbors in his beach house which include the lush-filled gabby Betty, a divorcée with three kids; and also the vociferous couple Kip & Joan. Duncan is constantly ridiculed and excluded by Trent and Stephanie which puts him in the perpetual state of "I want to get the f*ck of out of here". However, in a twist of fate, Duncan befriends the vivacious water park employee Owen, perfectly played by Sam Rockwell. Consequently, Duncan starts to regularly visit the water park to hang with Owen and the other water park wacky employees. And before you know it, Duncan plummets himself to a part-time working gig at the park; unknowing to his mom and Trent. Duncan takes flight at the water park and you see the "coming-of-age" turn at every moment in his time there. Owen's character is very reminiscent of the Tripper character played to the tee by Bill Murray in "Meatballs". But Rockwell plays the part so superbly that it does not appear to be a Tripper duplication but instead a modern transformation within its Tripper homage; tripped out yet? Duncan also befriends Betty's teen daughter Susanna, who empathizes with Duncan's situation in dealing with a callous potential stepdaddy. Faxon & Rash's masterful direction & screenplay of "The Way Way Back" was not dead on the water; in fact- the vitality, humor, and tenderness they brought to the movie's direction & screenplay should hopefully land them in the wave of Oscar contenders for Best Director & Best Original Screenplay. As far as the thespian pool of the picture, I must state that it was a perfect ensemble. James showed potentiality that he will be on his way back to other leading roles with his fine work as Duncan. Steve Carell's performance as Trent showed the depth to his acting by playing a part non-typical to the Carell filmography; Trent was sure one heartless bastard, and Carell disappeared into the role. Toni Collette was spic & spam in her role as Duncan's mom Pam. Faxon & Rash themselves were a hoot playing two water park employees, Roddy and Lewis. Other supporting turns that were no lazy river works were of Anna Sophia Robb as Susanna, Rob Corddry & Amanda Peet who we had fun with as Kip & Joan, and Maya Rudolph as water park manager Caitlin; and I would be remiss if I did not mention the standout, scene-stealing performance from Allison Janney as the wickedly-hilarious Betty. Be it as it may, it was still Rockwell that stole the show here. His work in "The Way Way Back" should slide him into a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. "The Way Way Back" is a gem of a movie, and I hope it does not land "way way back" in your "movies to see" list; if for no better reason, you will be delaying time in missing one heck of a flick. ***** Excellent
This movie is the perfect balancing act between comedy and drama. Both work extremely well in the audience connecting to all of these flawed characters. Having a movie set around a waterpark and during the summer allows audiences to connect on some sort of level. Great movie. I loved the whole cast. This movie was not clichéd when it could have been which allowed me to not get distracted in the movie like a clichéd action as seen in 20 other movies would have done. Pay attention to Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who are so far 2 for 2 in making movies The Descendants writers .Oscar: Sam <more>
Rockwell. Every line of dialogue was amazing. Has anyone noticed that he dances in a majority of his movies. I feel like that is an amazing trademark to have.The Related Rank: 1. The Way, Way Back2. Perks of Being a Wallflower3. Dazed and Confused4. Stand by Me5. Adventureland
The feel-good movie of the summer (by MOscarbradley)
"The Way, Way Back" comes from the same school as "Stand by Me" and "Little Miss Sunshine" and a lot else in-between. It's a coming-of-age movie, a summer movie and a feel-good movie and it's the movie that could finally win Allison Janney, and perhaps Sam Rockwell, an Oscar. There's nothing new here; writer/directors and supporting players , Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, they already have their own Oscar as co-writers of "The Descendants" , know their material and they know their audience and they don't do anything to rock the boat but what <more>
they do, they do very well. This movie is as smart as it is likable. It has an edge to it, yes, but it never strays too far into darker territory. Simply put, it's about the summer Duncan, a terrific, star-making performance from Liam James , spends with his mother, Toni Collette, brilliant , and sister at the summer house of his mom's new boyfriend, a superbly slimy Steve Carell , and naturally this is the summer he grows up, falls for the girl next door a lovely AnnaSophia Robb , and makes a new friend and something of a surrogate father in Sam Rockwell's Water World manager. If it feels familiar and cosily predictable the quality of the writing and the acting, Allison Janney as the broad next door, River Alexander as her sharp-tongued son , ensure that this is an unalloyed pleasure from start to finish. I loved every frame of this movie and I don't doubt for a minute that it has all the hallmarks of a future classic.
Laughter & tears at a water park in Summer... (by UncleShiz)
Saw this at the Sydney Film Festival last night and I absolutely loved it. It's heartfelt and very, very funny while remaining subtle and not overdoing either. It's a story about a teenage boy trying to find a place where he belongs and how no-one's family is perfect. It's about the awkwardness and embarrassment of adolescence and finding friendship.Sam Rockwell is hilarious in this and the young actor was really, really good too. It was also great to see Steve Carrell play against type. I hated him in this movie so he did a great job.Go see this movie please! You will laugh <more>
and you may cry. I wish there were more movies like this with heart and humour instead of Transformers 47 & Fast & The Furious 95This movie is not a 3 or a 6!
"Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing"- Naomi Shihab Nye Directed and co-written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash who won an Oscar for the Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants, The Way Way Back is a warmhearted and beautifully realized teen comedy that is as poignant as it is funny. Though there are more coming-of-age films than references to God in the Bible, very few have really hit home for me as much as this one. Of course, there are the usual complaints from critics about how it "doesn't break any new <more>
ground" as if it was a construction site, but to me it felt fresh and alive with real and relatable characters far removed from the stereotypes of most films in this genre.In the film, 14-year-old Duncan Liam James is a sullen, withdrawn adolescent whose shaky self-image is not helped by his divorced mother Pam's Toni Collette and her obnoxious boyfriend Trent Steve Carell , or his snippy daughter Steph Zoe Levin . On the drive to spend the summer at Trent's beach house called "The Riptide," Trent asks him how he would rate himself on a scale of one to ten. Not normally being asked to rate oneself, Duncan might have said "two thumbs up," if he thought about it, but all he can think of to say is a six.When Trent tells him calling him Buddy as he does throughout the film as if he has no name that he thinks he is a three because he doesn't put himself out to people, he might think he is showing some tough love, but the result is that Duncan is pushed deeper into his shell. As Albert Einstein said, "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." At the New England beach house as his mother tries to make everyone happy, Duncan has to deal with adults whose maturity level on a scale of one to ten might be so low as to be off the charts. There is the boozy and off-the-wall neighbor Betty Allison Janney as well as Trent's friends Kip and Joan Robb Corddry and Amanda Peet , all engaging in what Betty calls "Spring break for adults." To make matters more uncomfortable, Betty's daughter Susanna AnnaSophia Robb , who is slightly older than Duncan, tries to engage him in conversation but the stoop-shouldered boy is too withdrawn to respond. He is more at ease with Betty's younger son Peter River Alexander who is constantly being teased about his unfocused left eye. On one of his frequent bike rides on the pink bike he discovers in the garage, however, Duncan finds a kindred spirit at the Wizz World Water Park in the person of Owen Sam Rockwell , the park's manager. As are-free and ungrounded as some of the other adults in the film, Owen has one attribute the others lack. He has a terrific sense of humor and takes an interest in the people around him.These include long-time employee Maya Rudolph Caitlyn who had only planned to stay one summer but is drawn back by Owen's charm and wit. Owen also takes an interest in Duncan but it is not the "brother you need help" attitude. He gives him a job at the park's pools and water slides to help boost his self-esteem, a job which neither Trent nor his mother know anything about. Sam Rockwell's performance as Owen is pitch-perfect. Even though his communication with Duncan is mostly full of wisecracks, there is an underlying connection between the two that is not based on need alone. Pure and simple, they like each other and it shows, as does the remarkable chemistry displayed by the entire ensemble cast.Duncan's transformation happens gradually, however. As he finds himself being accepted by the park's employees, his shoulders begin to straighten out, there is a hint of a smile on his face as well as a new look of confidence. Lian James, a Vancouver actor, not only disappears into the role of Duncan, he is Duncan and his struggle to reconnect with the world he has been estranged from is so honest and painful that we identify with him and want to help him, in Langston Hughes words, "to break his shadow into a thousand lights of sun." As in many great films, The Way Way Back has laughter and tears in equal measure.
At this point, I will pretty much see anything with Steve Carell or Sam Rockwell and since they were both in this one, it's like I won the lottery...granted, lottery in the form of a really entertaining movie and not in the way that anyone actually wants to win the lottery.Coming-of-age stories and films about awkward teens/adults/people coming out of their shells once they meet the right person to show them they have worth isn't anything new or original. However, writer/directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash presented a film that was both simultaneously familiar and new. The movie was <more>
capable of making you laugh your backside off but then, the next moment, made you feel towards the characters and their journeys. To put it simply, Faxon and Rash made a very human film with real emotion behind it.This emotional element was only supported and enhanced by the terrific cast the film had. Liam James is great as Duncan, the awkward teen. Steve Carell really showed another side of his talent by playing the really awful boyfriend of Duncan's mother. Toni Collette is once again incredible as she portrays Duncan's mom but the real show stealer for me was Sam Rockwell as Owen; the man who is, for the most part, a complete slacker working at the local water park but also becomes Duncan's best friend and the person who teaches him that he has self worth and is greater than he realizes. Rockwell's performance makes the film go even further as his friendship with Duncan makes it a semi-buddy comedy as well as a comedy of age comedy/drama.The movie is one of those bittersweet comedies/dramas that can make you feel a whole range of emotions as the running length progresses. On the surface it could look like a dozen movies that can out over the years before it but the final product is so much more and has so much more heart than I had originally anticipated.Hi! My name is Rev. Ron and I love movies! So much so that I write a blog where I review whatever film I am watching at the time. You can read a more in-depth review of this film and many others at revronmovies.blogspot.com
There are some movies which sound so simple that it's hard to convey to people just how good they are. The Way, Way Back is one of those movies. It's simply a coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old boy over the course of his summer break. There are no big action scenes or special effects here, just really good writing with actors who can bring such a realistic story to life.The movie begins with the boy, Duncan, riding in a car with his family to his mother's boyfriend's beach house. As the mother sleeps in the passenger seat, the boyfriend asks Duncan to rate himself on a <more>
scale of 1 to 10. After replying with a 6, the boyfriend insists that he's just a 3. What's surprising is that this seemingly heartless guy that the mother is dating is played by Steve Carell. Carell is known for playing lovable and funny characters. But he switches it up with this role. That scene sets the tone for how little Duncan is looking forward to this summer trip. And it doesn't help that his mother doesn't really set her boyfriend straight even when she is awake.To escape the annoyances at his new temporary home, Duncan takes a bike to ride around town with. When he finds a way into the local water park, he meets one of the middle-aged operators there named Owen. Duncan seems fascinated by Owen played by Sam Rockwell and how he uses humor in almost everything he says. It seems like he's never met anyone like him who's so worry-free and exudes such confidence all the time. Sam Rockwell is perfect at playing this care-free kind of man-child. Owen manages to get Duncan a job at the park where he tries to instill some of that same confidence in him as well. It becomes clear that as they bond with each other, Duncan wishes this would be the kind of guy his mother would date instead. The job at the water park also opens up a whole new fun side that this 14-year-old kid didn't even know he had in him.If not for the occasional Google or iPad reference, this movie could easily have taken place in the 1980's. The setting as well as the way people dress and talk to each other is right out of an 80's film - is it a coincidence that all of the music played in the movie is from that era? There's a very natural and wholesome vibe to it, especially in the water park scenes - nothing looks too modern or high-tech; it's just a place where people go to have an old-fashioned good time. While Steve Carell may be the most popular name on the poster, the movie has a great cast altogether. Toni Collette The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine , in particular, does an amazing job as the mother torn between defending her son and trying to make things work with the arrogant boyfriend who doesn't always treat them right. But it's the scenes between Duncan and his new older friend Owen that are the heart of the movie. Sometimes it just takes the right person to bring out someone else's true colors and help them be comfortable in their own skin. And sometimes it takes the right movie to make you feel like a kid again. This one will have you yearning for the days when things were a little simpler.
There's nothing to dislike about this movie. The actors do a terrific job all around--from the scene-stealing eyepatch kid to Allison Janey's lush to Steve Carrell's first role as a d-bag. Kudos to the kid playing Duncan and the guy playing his...boss? mentor? friend? saviour?--or all of the above. The scenery is lovely and convincingly real--no beach McMansions with $6,500 Wolf ranges. It shows what a real beach community looks like. The '70 Buick Estate Wagon is sublime and had me kvelling.But it's the story that really makes the viewer smile. Duncan is a lost, lonely, <more>
mess...14, stuck with his mom whom he loves but doesn't really respect , her douchebag boyfriend, boyfriend's daughter, and not much else. He finds his way in a way that defines a coming-of-age story. The Water Wizz guy--channeling Bill Murray in Meatballs in an obvious homage--does a great job, never losing sight of his own challenges in life while helping young Duncan emerge from his painful shell.
*Spoilers* *Spoilers* I just watched this film last night at Sundance, and it's great! Hopefully it doesn't take too long for the film to be distributed, as I read that the film was purchased by Fox Searchlight for nearly 10 million. It reminded me a lot of "Adventureland" in its tone and feel, but it's a little more family-friendly, and it definitely is a PG-13 movie for those that were wondering.The film focuses on Liam James character Duncan, a quiet, anti-social teen dealing with the recent divorce of his parents. His father has since relocated to San Diego with a <more>
younger girlfriend, and despite his desire to stay with his father for the summer, he ends up having to go with his mom and her boyfriend to spend the summer at her boyfriend's beach house. You come to understand that Duncan's mom Pam Toni Collette is aware of her boyfriend Trent's Steve Carrell wandering eye, but she is enamored by his charm, and maybe more so by the need for companionship and security. Duncan makes no effort to hide his disdain for Trent, who belittles his social skills, and later in the film goes so far as to tell him he is unwanted by his own father. Trent chastises Duncan about building mutual respect and trust, and yet he is banging his best friend's wife Joan Amanda Peet ,a fellow summer home yuppie. You later find out through dialog between Joan and Trent, that their little trysts seem to be a regular summer tradition.Duncan is looking for any way out of the situation, or at least how he can spend as much time as possible away from Trent, Trent's own teenage daughter, and their friends. He sparks up a nice friendship with Susanna AnnaSophia Robb , a teenage girl mature beyond her years, who has grown tired of Trent's daughter and the other arrogant, shallow teenagers she is forced to hang out with at the beach all summer. She gets Duncan to open up to her a little bit, and acts as a channel of relief for Duncan away from the people he despises.The real magic within the film is the relationship between Duncan and Owen Sam Rockwell ,a middle-aged operator of a water park within the resort town, who also comes from a troubled past and a strained relationship with his own father. Owen uses his humor and confidence to try and instill the same in Duncan, and provides Duncan with not just a summer job to get him away from the beach house, but also an environment where he can learn to be outgoing and build a number of friendships. Owen knows that Duncan has trouble at home, but is careful not to pry too much, until he can see that Duncan really needs someone he can open up to. The three quirky water park employees aside from Owen that the movie focuses on are played by Maya Rudolph, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash.I knew it was a drama with some comedic elements, but the interesting thing about this film, is that you would assume some of the funnier moments would come from the likes of Steve Carrell and Maya Rudolph. They, however, bring more of the dramatic elements to the film, with Steve Carrell playing the dirt bag boyfriend of Toni Collette, and Maya Rudolph Caitlyn a water park employee who is facing a mid-life crisis of sorts. She had planned on working at the water park for one summer, but is now in her fourth year there, and is starting to second guess herself and the time she has invested in the park.Caitlyn is continually frustrated by the park manager's lackadaisical attitude and laid-back nature, but like many of the longtime employees there, she is continually drawn back by the prevalent family culture and the friendships she has formed while working at the park. The water park operator is played with charm, wit, and panache by Sam Rockwell, who has long been one of my favorite actors, and provides many of the funny and heart-wrenching moments of the film.Most of the other big laughs come from Betty Allison Janney , who is the slightly eccentric and sexually-repressed neighbor of Steve Carrell's character. She has a socially deprived son with a lazy eye named Peter River Alexander , and the relationship between Betty and Peter provide some of the lighter moments in the film. There are also a couple of great moments when Duncan takes Peter to the water park to meet his co-workers, and helps Peter gain some new found confidence of his own.I'll leave the ending out of my review, but I think you will find it heartfelt and satisfying to say the least. This film is highly recommended.