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10th Anniversary TLDR: The Way Way Back (2013)
On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you think you are?
Plot: Over the course of his summer break, a teenager comes into his own thanks in part to the friendship he strikes up with one of the park’s managers.
Direction & Screenplay: Jim Rash (Dean on Community) and Nat Faxon (That Guy From That Thing) make their directorial debut (and co-write) a movie that I've loved since it came out in 2013. They so perfectly capture what it's like to be a loner son of a single mother, wasting your days away listening to REO Speedwagon and crappy minimum wage jobs that feel like heaven. It's the childhood that leads to an adulthood of running a website like FeaturePresentationVideo.com. It's maybe my favorite coming-of-age movie because it's so personal - largely because of their accomplishments in achieving every single theme they reach for. The world needs them to do more Way Way Backs and less Downhills, (that's not fair as I've never seen Downhill, but, I mean, come on.)
Performances: The only thing better than Sam Rockwell doing his best Bill Murray (which is the highest of compliments) is Sam Rockwell flirting with Maya Rudolph. Steve Carell had just left The Office and was trying to show he could be a serious actor, which he makes a strong case for here as the insufferable mom's boyfriend, a trope he makes more than a trope. Allison Janney pinch-hits with an all-time off-the-bench performance. I once tweeted about Amanda Peet saying nothing but "Amanda Peet is so underrated" and it became my biggest tweet ever. I've never seen Liam James in anything else and honestly I'm glad, I want him to be this boy forever in my mind. It feels like a time capsule performance. Finally, Toni Collette, AnnaSophia Robb, and Rob Corddry round out a great ensemble that's the 1927 Yankees of "I like that guy!"
Best line? Owen: [over the PA system] Return to your lady friend. Duncan, please return to your lady friend. Please let her know that this conversation was entirely about her. In other news, this is very awkward for you.
Fun fact: When this came out, I told my entire cross country team about it at a summer practice. A bunch of guys went, totally dug it, and reported back that they appreciated my recommendation. I felt really cool. I should be embarrassed typing that out, but it's maybe the least embarrassing thing about me liking this movie.
Real accolade: This movie won Best Comedy at the 2014 AARP Movies for Grownups Awards. I'm glad those 50 and over also got it. It's universal!
Everything is too long. Is it too long? 103 minutes is not nearly enough. I want the eight-episode miniseries.
Rating: Four-and-a-half stars and I really want to give it five...
Credit: Plot synopsis from Letterboxd via TMDb.
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