Liam James


Editor’s Note: My review of The Way, Way Back originally ran during its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens theatrically. You should really make a point of going to see this one. Coming-of-age films are almost as ubiquitous as rom-coms and Resident Evil sequels these days, and it’s not often that one of them manages to stand out in the crowded field. The ones that do succeed usually feature a combination of star power to get their foot in the door, a smart and funny script to keep the audience’s attention and a lead who embodies the joy, frustrations and awkwardness of teen life with equal spirit and veracity. The Way, Way Back succeeds on pretty much all of those counts. Duncan (Liam James) is heading to the East Coast for the summer with his mom Pam (Toni Collette), her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carrell) and Trent’s teen daughter Steph (Zoe Levin). A summer spent at the beach should be any teen boy’s idea of awesome, but Duncan is shy and no fan of the overbearing Trent, so the next three months promise to be hell. But when he crosses paths with an immature and odd water park manager named Owen (Sam Rockwell), he dares to think that the summer may not be so bad after all.



Who doesn’t love a good coming-of-age film? Terrible, terrible people, that’s who. One of the best of the genre premiered at Sundance earlier this year, and while some folks might think I’m referring to The Spectacular Now (which to be fair is a pretty good movie too) I’m actually talking about The Way, Way Back. Screenwriters (and co-stars) Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants) make their directorial debut with this comedic drama about an awkward boy coming into his own. My full review is here. Duncan (Liam James) is said awkward teenager on the edge of who knows what, but the last thing he needs is a summer vacation trapped with his mother (Toni Collette), potential step-sister, and annoying soon-to-be step-dad (Steve Carell). He finds solace though in a local girl (AnnaSophia Robb) and part-time job at a water park staffed with weirdos. And lucky for him (and us) the king of the weirdos is played by Mr. Sam Rockwell. Maybe the summer won’t be so bad after all. Check out the trailer for The Way Way Back below.

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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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