Friday, July 19, 2013

The Way Way Back

Quentin: It’s nice to talk about a film we liked for a change.

Jake: Today we went to see The Way Way Back.

Jason: A movie with no explosions.

Quentin: Don’t get us wrong. We still love us a good action flick. But lately they haven’t been delivering the kind of thrills teenage boys look for.

Jake: So we turn to another genre we love: the coming-of-age drama.

Quentin: And we’ve had a couple of those as well this year.

Jake: Mud. The Kings of Summer.

Jason: Both of which were disappointing.

Quentin: No doubt. Of the three, this one is the best. Jake, you want to recap?
Jake: Sure. Duncan is 14 with divorced parents. His father is living in California with his new wife and his mother is dating what has to be one of the biggest douchebags of the year.

Quentin: Played really nicely by Steve Carell.

Jake: They all go on vacation together for the summer to… where? Did they ever tell us where this beach town was?

Jason: I didn’t catch it. Looked like the East Coast though.

Jake: Anyway, they go on vacation, and at first it’s like a living hell for Duncan. I mean, the Steve Carell character is really overbearing. Calls him a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. Makes him wear a stupid life vest on a boat that has almost no chance of sinking. He’s the kind of asshole that only exists in movies, because he makes such a great antagonist. But really? All these other adults sitting around, and no one says, “Hey, Steve Carell, why are you being such a dick?”

Quentin: Yeah, but the writers had to build up steam so the whole thing could blow up in his face. Which it did.

Jake: I get that. I just wished they had done one more draft of the script to make the adults slightly less, to borrow one of your favorite words, moronic.

Jason: That’s a fair point.

Quentin: Well taken. The directors did win Oscars, though.

Jason: Are you serious?

Jake: Screenplay Oscars, not directing Oscars.

Jason: For what?

Quentin: The Descendants.

Jason: The one with George Clooney?

Jake: Yes.

Jason: I hated that movie.

Jake: And they were two of the four screenwriters, so who knows what they actually contributed.

Quentin: They’re both actors too. The one dude, Nat Faxon, was in that horrible sitcom last year. Ben and Kate.

Jason: The one about the brother and sister?

Quentin: Yep.

Jason: Wow. He was really annoying in that. I couldn’t even finish the pilot.

Jake: Anyway, Duncan’s horrible summer is saved when he wanders into a water park and meets Owen, a good-hearted manchild played by Sam Rockwell.

Quentin: We should point out that the name of the park is Water Wizz.

Jake: Awesome name. We need to make a trip down to Schlitterbahn, by the way. So, Owen helps Duncan come out of his shell, and the summer becomes a turning point in his life. There’s not much plot beyond that.

Quentin: It’s not a plot movie. This is familiar ground, so it’s all about execution.

Jason: Writing and acting.

Jake: They put together a stellar cast.

Quentin: Liam James is excellent as Duncan.

Jason: And he doesn’t look like he’s 30.

Jake: He was 15 when they shot this.

Jason: I loved Toni Collette as Duncan’s mother and Allison Janney as the next-door neighbor.

Quentin: Maya Rudolph plays one of the employees at Water Wizz, who has an undefined romantic relationship with Owen.

Jake: Maybe.

Quentin: I said “undefined.”

Jake: I got the feeling that was all in the past.

Jason: The thing I loved about this movie was its restraint. There are no easy answers; the ending is satisfying without being too neat or cloying. Duncan’s mother is a good person trying to do the best she can with a life that didn’t turn out the way she expected.

Quentin: I really related to Duncan’s sense of powerlessness. It sucks to be in a bad situation and have no recourse to change it. Imagine if Ben had shipped us off to live with Uncle Nick or Aunt Julie.

Jason: I don’t even want to think about it.

Quentin: Exactly. There but for the grace of God, go I.

Jake: Count your blessings, dude.

Quentin: Final thoughts?

Jake: Comma or no comma?

Jason: Excuse me?

Jake: Does the movie title have a comma or no comma? Two official movie posters. The one up top has no comma and this one has a comma:

Jason: Wikipedia uses a comma: 

Jake: IMDb, no comma:

Quentin: Jesus, people. Make up your goddamned minds.


  1. Thanks for the scoop on this one, it wasn't on my radar to see. I'm opting for Red 2 this weekend. By the way, "There but for the grace of God, go I", is a phrase I'm fond of. And a double thank you for the auto correct in your comment box for the idiots like me that type way too fast at times.

  2. We're going to see The Wolverine on Friday. High hopes and low expectations. Q.

  3. I haven't decided on The Wolverine, I'm going to wait for your review. I am going to see 2 Guns next weekend.