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The Way, Way Back


Tyler
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I thought I'd seen a thread for this before, but I couldn't find it (super hard to search for, too). Anyway, here's the trailer:

For what looks like a more sentimental version of Adventureland, this movie has an impressive cast, including Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette, Maya Rudolph, and AnnaSophia Robb. It's written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants), and is not a sequel to The Way Back.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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  • 2 months later...

It's good. I could imagine it ending up on some top ten lists around here, especially due to its emphasis on family and fidelity.

The cast is a strong ensemble. Rockwell is as good as he's ever been in a comedy. Carell is surprisingly effective in the almost entirely unsympathetic role of the boy's likely asshole-stepfather-to-be. Allison Janney is wonderfully unhinged.

It has its problems. Robb's character is a bit too good to be true, sweeping in to be the sweetheart of a kid no teen girl is ever likely to look at twice. You can feel the plot's gear-wheels grinding.

But the film's heart is in the right place, and it knows better than to aim for a fairy tale ending. In fact, it has one of the most surprisingly modest conclusions of any all-star comedy I've seen. It's good that Little Miss Sunshine is mentioned in the promos (even if it can only claim to be "From the studio that brought you...") because that film gives you a good idea of what kind of thing you're in for.

I can't say it's the great work of art that I read about from a Sundance reviewer who saw it as beacon of moral glory in the icky darkness of secular cinema. But it is a pleasant surprise for those of us who would hope that 10-to-13-year-olds would have movies to see that aren't about robots, explosions, fart jokes, and spring breakers.

Oh, there's a hilarious bit involving Mr. Mister, for those who remember that band.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Aaaaaand, I just realized that the film doesn't open in Seattle until next week, so please consider the above just a "teaser" for my full review. Dang, I hate review embargos.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I've not read it, but looks to me that Barb N is putting forth a peace offering w Jeffrey Overstreet. It appears that way in her FB posts...

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/churchofthemasses/2013/07/way-way-good/

Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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I can't access FB on my work computer, but she says (as of yesterday, 11:26pm), "I really liked this movie. As Overstreet noted, "Let's make it the sleeper hit of the summer." ... and then goes on to quote her review.

Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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First impressions: Rockwell and Janney are hilarious, especially Rockwell.  I would have liked him to have had a little more screen time.

 

James and Robb are both very likeable and believable as teenagers struggling with the absence of a parent, and I thought that common bond made their relationship realistic.  My only question was what happened to make Susanna suddenly wish to avoid in all her past summer friends.  If anything, I thought her dad's leaving would prompt her to become more cliquish with them.

 

The rest of the cast is good.  Carell stands out since he does a great job at playing against type without going over the top. (I don't remember who said it; maybe it was Jeffrey, maybe David Dicerto or Steven on Reel Faith, but I think it is a great observation that Liam James is actually playing the shy, awkward role that Carell normally does.)

 

The scene when Trent and Pam argue over the rules to Candy Land reminded me of Walter's line: "This is bowling; there are rules," in The Big Lebowski.

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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I saw it Friday night and thoroughly enjoyed it. In terms of authentic portrayals of dysfunctional families and painfully-awkward teenage angst, it beats something like "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" to a bloody pulp. More often than not, these films cast a teenage pin-up protagonist and strain to "geek" him up. Liam James is the real deal. His posture, expressions and halting communication skills are spot on and he actually looks like your typical high school social outcast. I would've liked a lot more development between Duncan and Owen, but Rockwell was hilarious. His broken, goofball mentor was riffed straight out of the 70's summer movie playbook ala Bill Murray's Tripper Harrison (with James a dead-ringer for a young Chris Makepeace)

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm particularly fond of coming-of-age stories and films with teen protagonists. This, alongside Mud, will likely be a favourite for me from this year. While some of the moments were a bit conventional and unsurprising, the relationship between Duncan and Owen is a fantastic picture of mentorship and the redemptive power of those relationships. Owen is imperfect, and he allows Duncan to both see those imperfections and speak into them, just as he speaks vision and faith into Duncan's life. Rockwell is hilarious; his antics never got annoying for me, and I love the diversity in the roles he chooses.

More often than not, these films cast a teenage pin-up protagonist and strain to "geek" him up. Liam James is the real deal. His posture, expressions and halting communication skills are spot on and he actually looks like your typical high school social outcast.

Absolutely. Duncan barely communicates outside of grunts and one-word answers for the first third of the film, choosing to quietly live inside of himself. It's about as authentic of a 14-year-old insecure teen portrayal as you can get, and I loved that he doesn't stay this way--eventually, when real  relational trust is built (not the "trust" attempted by Trent), he opens up and shares himself. Annasophia Robb gives a solid performance too, and the trio of misfits that Owen playfully berates throughout the film feel just as authentic with their overly-excited insults and silliness. Great film overall.

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Saw it this afternoon, and was impressed by the performances and authenticity. Then it suddenly occurred to me that here Toni Collette is playing a clueless, yet well-intentioned single mother whose son must be mentored by a seemingly inept man who is not his father...The Way, Way Back is a sort of bookend to About a Boy.

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Saw it this afternoon, and was impressed by the performances and authenticity. Then it suddenly occurred to me that here Toni Collette is playing a clueless, yet well-intentioned single mother whose son must be mentored by a seemingly inept man who is not his father...The Way, Way Back is a sort of bookend to About a Boy.

 

And the kid from About a Boy looks like this now:

 

warm-bodies-nicholas-hoult.jpg

 

(Possibly not relevant.)

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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