Movie Review: The Way Way Back (2013)

The way way back

Duncan: “How long have you been working there?”

Owen: “Oh, the park? Um, I’ve always been there. Ever since I was a small Cambodian child. Of course, that was after ‘Nam. I was in the shit. Then I joined the circus to become a clown fighter. I know about 46 ways to kill a clown. I hate clowns. I’m kidding except for the part where I really do hate them.”


On a trip to Cape Cod, 14-year Duncan (Liam James) has a conversation with his mother’s boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell). Trent asks Duncan to rate himself out of ten, and after some thought Duncan mentions he thinks he is a six. Trent says that he thinks Duncan is a 3/10, and that just starts the journey of a vacation of emotional bullying. The teen must watch his mother acting like a school girl and Trent’s daughter Steph (Zoe Levin) flouncing around. He is obviously unwanted and when he finds a pink, girly bike he takes it and starts cycling around.

Duncan soon discovers the Water Whizz, a water park away from their beach house. He is employed by Owen (Sam Rockwell), the park’s slightly strange yet hilarious owner who is held in line by an employee Caitlyn (Maya Rudolph). Everyone at the park speaks reverently about a legendary act: passing someone in the tube slide.


Duncan has a lot of fun at the park and he gets some much needed confidence from it. He even manages to have a conversation with Susanna (Anna-Sophia Robb), their neighbour Jenny’s daughter. Susanna isn’t in the best place either in her life, with her parents divorced and her mom, who isn’t necessarily a bad mother, drunk most of the time while on vacation. Susanna is a bit older than Duncan but seems willing to spend time with him instead of with her very shallow friends, of whom Steph is one of. They progress from very stunted conversations to sharing their similar troubles and quickly become friends.

Duncan sees Trent kissing another woman and is furious that his mother is falling into the same trap which she was in with his father. He yells at her at a party about it and storms away after people are forced to physically restrain Trent from hitting Duncan. Duncan spends the night with his friends at the Water Whizz. He returns the next day to find that they are all packed up and leaving, and that his mother will likely stay with Trent. Duncan climbs out of the car at the petrol station and runs to the park, and gets Owen to do the slide with him. They emerge victorious, much to the pleasure of the crowd. Owen stands up for Duncan when Trent tries to pull him and quickly let’s him know what Owen thinks of him. Duncan leaves the hero, and in the car gets another reward: his mom climbs through the car to sit with him the back, causing hope that she will leave Trent or at the very least start standing up for her child.

Rating: 7/10

I had a lot of fun with The Way Way Back. I don’t often watch coming of age stuff because I often find the acting and the script sorely lacking. This wasn’t like that at all. Although the storyline was an often used one, I found it refreshing and sweet. The movie explores good topics – how people should undergo tests to see if they will become proper parents and the things children go through to grow spines. I absolutely detested Trent and what he represented and I didn’t have much time for Duncan’s mother at all. She was way too immersed in her life to notice what went on in her child’s.

Liam James was well cast as Duncan. I constantly thought: “wow, look at this poor awkward kid”. He had nowhere where he fit in. He had a douchebag for a potential stepfather, his own father was busy having a rendezvous with his younger mistress and his mother was so wrapped up in her own new lover she couldn’t see how horrible he was to her child. It was so liberating when he found the Water Whizz Park and how he discovered key elements of himself there. He was sufficiently entertaining enough that every time he stood up to Trent I wanted to give the kid a high five and applaud.

Steve Carell surprised me. Except Stupid, Crazy Love, he is always in ridiculous roles that irritate me very much. He was SUCH a douche bag! I was shocked how well he became Trent Ramsey, a moron that told a 14-year-old that he is a 3/10. I was shocked by his reprehensible character and how he was so underhanded to make Duncan look like a bad kid.

Alison Janney as Jenny was rather hilarious. She was constantly drunk and so not comfortable being a mother to that poor boy with the eye. I was pretty steamed at her sometimes but at the end realized her character wasn’t such a bad person, but the fact that she is an awkward mother just clashed t-old that she was so stressed that her ex-husband would take away her children.

Sam Rockwell as Owen was one of the key elements that made the Way Way back a good movie. He was hilarious. He has some serious talent if you compare his diverse roles here and in the Green Mile, where he played psychopath Wild Bill Wharton. I really had some laughs in all his scenes and he stole it on every occasion. I just loved how he was portrayed as easy going and fun but when he met Trent he was obviously the better man and knew what was right and wrong.

Anna-Sophia Robb was entertaining as Susanna. I’ve only ever seen her in the Carrie Diaries so seeing her in something else was fun. She is a decent enough actress and I think she will become a fine actress in a few years’ time.

The WWB is recommended for those who need some cheering up 🙂

Have you seen the Way Way Back? Tell me what you thought 😀

5 Things Friday: 5 shows to watch

Happy Friday the 13th!

This week was horrible. Imagine everything going wrong, and then going wrong again. We have had our generator fail at work (a big problem when the lab’s freezers can’t keep samples frozen), pipes had burst, birds attacked people by flying through the shaft, which held the bursting pipe – it was that kind of week.

Watching series always makes me feel better. It is so much easier dealing with other people’s problems than our own, even if they are fictional. Here are 5 of the best shows I have watched this year.

The Mentalist Season Four

 Baker Mentalist

At the end of season three, Patrick shoots and kills the man he suspects of being Red John. Season Four starts with his arrest, and his quest to become free again. How will Patrick get out of trouble this time?

It wouldn’t be on my list if I didn’t think the show was good, but I really enjoyed this one. It is fantastically intelligent and entertaining, and they even manage to keep the cases fresh. I enjoyed the inclusion of Luther Wainwright. Finally a person on Patrick’s intellectual level! Speaking of Patrick, how phenomenal is Simon Baker in his portrayal?

Without giving away too much, I just want to say I hope Season Five brings some closure to many parts of the storyline. The show is in danger of becoming very stretched out if some plots don’t close down.

The Carrie Diaries Season One


The only new series on this list, The Carrie Diaries was much more enjoyable than I would have expected. Truly, it is extremely frivolous, so it is great to watch on a day where you just don’t want to think.

The show revolves around the teenager Carrie Bradshaw, the main character in the very successful Sex and the City franchise.

The second season needs to have a more structured sequence of events, and a real storyline. A little more originality wouldn’t hurt as well.

The Carrie Diaries is a good, entertaining and short series, but if you seek something more complex, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Sons of Anarchy Season One and Two (I freaked out it is so good)


Read reviews here and here.

I made the huge mistake of watching episode one of season three while on my stationery bike at home. I nearly fell off. I am not capable of being emotionally detached from it. It is shocking, amoral and violent, but the suspense keeps me going back for more each time. Every episode is jam packed with drama, and you simply can’t stop.

Obviously, I love it. Go watch it.

Supernatural Season Three


The favorite Winchester boys return and they desperately search for a way to save Dean’s soul. On the way they hunt and kill demons, vampires, werewolves and pretty much every supernatural creature they can find.

I have only watched until season three so far, and I am still impressed with how the show is created and presented. Even though the show is relatively serious, the team still manages to bring humor to it.

I am perpetually irritated with Sam, but his character is an essential part of the show, and Dean has lost too much to lose his brother as well.

Season three is a short season, so it can be a quick watch. The series ended as I expected it would, but the end made it possible for season four to start with a bang (I hope)

Pretty Little Liars Season Three


It is the one show I never expected to like, but I devoured season one and two. They were both brilliant, but season three struck me as mediocre. It is one of those shows that needs to reach a conclusion, but never does. It seems silly to take the girls to university with A still stalking them, but it would seem if they don’t find him/her by season Four, the show is going to go down the drain.

The show is entertaining and suspenseful, but it seems to follow the structure of season one and two, and they only add in a few more villains.

This is definitely a girl show, so if you are one, you will enjoy some of it.

Have you watched any of these shows? Which other ones would you recommend?