Flash Movie Review: The Way, Way Back

My tongue instinctively brushed the surface of my teeth looking for my braces that were made from the shiniest metal on the planet. I had to check my face to see if any angry pimples were about to burst out from under my skin. Then there was the vision of me seeing the first wave of facial hair spreading across my face like a brewing storm, warning me of the impending turmoil of adolescence that was coming over me. All of those awkward and confused moments swirled up from my pooled memories while I sat and watched this wonderful, coming of age film. Liam James (Fred Claus, 2012) was perfect playing the 14 year old character Duncan. A simple look from him easily conveyed those embarrassing emotions we all felt at one time or another during our adolescent years. Duncan was stuck going with his mother Pam, played by Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine, United States of Tara-TV) and her overbearing boyfriend Trent, played by Steve Carell (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Get Smart) to Trent’s summer home during summer vacation. Uncomfortable with his surroundings, Duncan found refuge at a run down water park managed by the kid like Owen, played by Sam Rockwell (Moon, Seven Psychopaths) and his wife Caitlin, played by Maya Rudolph (Grown Ups, Bridesmaids). This was one of the best performances I have seen from Sam; his character was crazy and memorable. I loved the unexpectedness of this poignant film. Everyone’s acting was so strong and realistic; Allison Janney (Juno, Liberal Arts) was hilarious as Trent’s alcoholic neighbor Betty. The script offered up such ideal lines, I actually felt a bond forming between me and several of the characters. After experiencing many memories from my youth during this film, a shadow of my adolescence remained behind as I walked out of the theater.


3 1 /3 stars

About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on July 8, 2013, in Dramedy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. This is one of my favorite reviews of yours.

    Alas, I think this film came and went in my area, and I missed it. I haven’t read a bad thing about it.

    Rockwell is one of my favorite actors, and you have given him very high praise.

    • Thank you for your sweet words Victor, it truly is appreciated. What is up with the movie coming and going already in your area. The movie is still playing here; I’ll buy the theater ticket, you buy the plane ticket. Seriously, when and wherever you see this film playing you need to see it. I would not be surprised if Rockwell gets an Oscar nod.

  2. I saw this film last week and loved it as much as you did. The actors were perfectly cast and the dialogue could not have been better. Sam Rockwell gave a terrific performance.

    • Oh, I am so glad you loved the film; wasn’t it just so much fun to watch? It would be cool if Sam gets recognized for this role. Thanks for coming by to tell me.

  3. I love Sam Rockwell, but I actually didn’t think this role was much of a stretch for him. I also didn’t think the script was as strong as it could be. But ultimately, I enjoyed the film – glad you had a fun time with it!

  4. Theatre of Pain

    As I just posted in another review, I highly recommend this film. I think Sam Rockwell is one of the most underutilized actors in Hollywood. I haven’t seen a film yet that I didn’t enjoy watching him in. He has such a great range when you think about his roles in Galaxy Quest, Charlie’s Angels, Moon, The Green Mile and The Way, Way Back, which I would like to think is closest to the man behind the character. After watching the movie, I contemplated packing up all of my belongings, moving to the coast and making a fresh start. It just has that effect that reminds us that we shouldn’t always take life so seriously.

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