The Way Way Back (2013)

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Directors: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Writers: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Starring: Steve Carell, Liam James, Toni Collette, Allison Janney

Rating:★★★★

The Way Way Back to my surprise was a film that I saw on a lot of lists come the end of 2013 but since watching I can certainly agree with its inclusion. Surprisingly warming, pleasant and funny it sways from the stereotypical “teen-comedy” and produces a refreshing much welcome change. Good solid performances from the whole cast along with a witty well-written script The Way Way Back is entertaining and defiantly deserves its praise.

Duncan (Liam James) is a shy, in-the-background 14 year old who doesn’t have a conventional lifestyle and is forced to go on summer vacation with his mother Pam (Toni Collette), her horrible arrogant boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) and his equally annoying and spoilt daughter. Whilst his mum is busy putting herself “out there” meeting  Trent’s vacation friends Duncan finds himself left out and unable to fit in. Riding around on an a pink little girls bike he discovers the Water Wizz  Park and quickly forms a bond with manager Owen (Sam Rockwell), finding an unexpected friend in Owen, Duncan soon finds out how to enjoy his summer vacation but he still has to face is overbearing and disastrous family.

The story is pleasant, although at first it looks to be the typical comedy of the neglected family member getting revenge or becoming a hero or a romanticist it changes and somewhat becomes more serious. Duncan’s relationship with Owen is hilarious and obviously the highlight, he is given power and earns a reputation at Water Wizz and with that Duncan comes out of his shell and turns out to be a funny and “cool” kid. The relationship though is also pleasant as it is obvious that the two have a bond and Duncan looks up to Owen as a role model in ways, the way that the Owen looks out for Duncan is very warming too. The other relationship storylines in the film are not as good but decent, Duncan and his mother obviously need to repair their broken relationship so we follow that throughout, whilst Pam actually has her own problems with the very easily dislikeable Trent and finally a small subplot follows Duncan having a romance with his neighbour however it is very cheesy and for me unnecessary.

Liam James plays Duncan very well, he is easily likeable and we route for him throughout and he provides plenty of laughs, one very memorable scene is when Duncan is made to dance (including the classic robot) in front of a huge crowd at the water park. Rockwell’s Owen however is my favourite character; he provides the main comedy and in a way makes this film very easily watchable.  Steve Carrel also deserves credit for his role as obnoxious Trent and likewise for Collette’s Pam.  Although small characters in the film, neighbours Betty and (eye-patch) Peter are absolutely hilarious and provide even more likability to The Way Way Back so they deserve a mention.

The ending to The Way Way Back is very warming and wraps up the film nicely however for me there are still picky criticisms. I would have liked to see a quicker start, although it opens with great introductions it attempts to trick us with Duncan’s romance whereas I would have liked to seen Owen introduced much more quickly, and on the note of the romance I would have scrapped it all together as it isn’t “Duncan”.

In a whole The Way Way Back is a bundle of laughs and fantastic comical moments, with a well-written script and characters it makes for a surprisingly great watch. Standout performances from Liam James and Sam Rockwell add to the entertainment and create a pleasant feel to balance out the comedy. The Way Way Back is a worth-while experience that is easily watchable and enjoyable.

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My Top 5 Comedy Actors

#5 Ben Stiller: There’s no surprise Ben Stiller is on my list, if there is such a thing as a “funny gene” then he’s definetly inherited it with his parents (Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara) being legendary comedians. He started his acting career in the late 1980’s and is now directing and producing his own films. If you asked someone to name some of their favourite comedies I’m sure a Ben Stiller film will creep up. Most famously known for his hilarious Zoolander (2001) and later on the likes of Meet The Fockers (2004) and Little Fockers(2010). He’s also featured in one of my favourite comedies There’s Something About Mary (1998). He most certainly deserves his place on this list, after all he did create “The Derek Zoolander Center For Children Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too”.

#4 Steve Carell: Personally Steve Carell is one of my favourite actors as he’s just brilliant and hilarious, breaking through into the acting world in the 1990’s he’s been a prestigious face for the last decade. I don’t think you’ll find a un-funny film that’s he’s done. Winner of a Golden Globe and voted funniest man on Life Magazine there’s no surprise he’s on this list. His most well known films being Crazy Stupid Love(2011) , The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)and Anchorman (2004) topping a huge list of amazing comedies. His performance in Crazy Stupid Love is amazing and his role as Brick in Anchorman is hilarious and makes the film. When it comes to jokes and acting silly Steve Carell is certainly the guy to come to and well he’s a lover of lamp and desk and ummm carpet.

#3 Paul Rudd: He’s usually the guy hidden behind bigger stars and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but for me he’s brilliant and one of the funniest guys in the business who has a smart head on him, writing and producing some amazing films. Playing background roles in films such as Anchorman (2004), The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005) and Knocked Up (2007) he eventually made his name to get lead roles. Writing and staring in the amazingly successful comedy Role Models (2008) and Dinner For Schmucks (2010). His performance in films such as Role Models and even in I Love You, Man (2009) were very impressive and had my eyes watering from laughter. I’m glad he didn’t stick to his previous occupation of a DJ as he’s one of the funniest guys around, making him deserve his place on my list.

#2 Seth Rogen: A former stand up comedian as a teenager he is now staring, writing and producing some of the best comedies around. With his recognisable laugh and hair he is definitely a popular guy. Breaking into the industry with films such as Knocked Up and Pineapple Express (2008) he has really made a name for himself, for me Pineapple Express is an amazing film and Seth Rogen is hilarious in it, also showing of his talents by writing the screenplay. He’s been nominated for a Primetime Emmy and is definitely now a well known star, also releasing this years hit comedy “This Is The End”. For the countless times he’s made me cry with laughter and for the films he’s made funny, and made in general he deserves his spot on the list at number two.

#1 Will Ferrell: At number one of my list and probably on many peoples lists is Will Ferrell, his curly hair has been on screen for a while now and he’s featured in an amazing amount of comedies. His most remembered being Anchorman where he plays the lead character of Ron Burgandy and Step Brothers(2008). Just like other top actors he is behind the writing and producing of his own films showing off his many talents. He is also the man behind my favourite Christman film “Elf” (2003) where he is unbelievably funny playing Buddy, and also one of my other favourite comedies such The Other Guys(2010). If Will Ferrell is in a film then it will certainly be funny and one to watch, nominated for two Golden Globes he is certainly a favourite with the public as well. Its safe to say I love Will Ferrell just as much as he loves scotch, scothcy scotch scotch.

Top 5 Funniest Film Titles

I wanted to post something less “serious” and something a bit more fun and that will create a few laughs so why not adventure into the world of film titles. I tried to challenge myself not to just search for every Asylum film made and include them, so sorry “Sharkando” and “Giant Octopus Vs. Mega Shark”.  Before I narrow the list down and present to you the top 5, here’s some that didn’t quite make it but deserves a mention.

Disco Beaver From Outer Space – It’s a 1978 film that actually has high credentials and ratings, about National Lampoons mocking everything that’s wrong with cable TV. To be fair the name sounds more fun than the film but I guess there wasn’t many Disco Beavers available in the 70’s.

Another film failing to make it is “Anus Magillicutty” yeah maybe we shouldn’t go to deep into this one (no puns intended). Just like the others Santa Claus Conquers The Martians didn’t make it either and it had the same luck with the Oscars. A story surrounding Santa that gets stolen from Martians because their kids had no one to make them presents, slightly heart-warming?. Finally just scrapping outside was “Don’t Worry, We’ll Think Of A Title”, yep there’s genuinely a film out there with that title. Made in 1966 it’s an action film about a mistaken foreign agent evading capture, yeah I wouldn’t bother buying that one either.

#5 The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?? (1964): Just a bit of a mouthful, written and directed by Ray Dennis Steckler- you know that really famous guy who done that film “Rat Pfink a Boo Boo (1966)” yeah me too. The story though sounds quite, well entertaining. The main character of Jerry falls in love with a stripper at a carnival, little does he know that she is a sister of a gypsy (could have guessed that one, come on Jerry!), the gypsy turns him into a Zombie and he goes on a killing spree- Tasty!

#4 The Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996): So who remembers The Lawnmower Man (1992) well if you do then I’m sure you’ve seen this sequel. Without going into too much depth it’s about a man called Jobe who is a computer genius who attempts to connect all the computers in the world onto one network, does he mow lawns? most likely. If the film fails to interest you well at least you got a big pretty poster to look at, and look! there’s Jobe mowing lawns at the bottom.

#3 The Curious Dr.Humpp (1969): Please let this be a cute film about a camel who saves other animals…… nope it’s about a sexual kidnapping doctor. Dr. Humpp kidnaps couples who have sex, injects them with substances to improve their sexual abilities but  unfortunately he has to stop himself turning into a monster as he takes orders of a talking brain.  It could get worse though, it could have kept its original name of “La venganza del sexo”.

#2 Captain Supermarket (1992): The film Army Of Darkness in Japan is known as Captain Supermarket, I’m not sure why or how due to the film being about a man defeating an army of the un-dead after being teleported back to 1300 AD. The film has had actually had some success and has got a very good rating. It’s a shame it isn’t about a guy protecting our precious Supermarkets against those trolley stealing youths otherwise it could have got top spot.

#1 The Tony Blair Witch Project (2000): Claiming number one is the spoof of The Blair Witch Project, The Tony Blair Witch Project. It didn’t have much success and is known just to be laughed at, but at least it lives up to the standard of Mr Blair.  It’s about a group of politicians who hunt down the “The Tony Blair Witch”, when asked if it had relations to the former British Prime Minister the writer and director Mike Martinez answered “it might have, it might not”, but we’ll make our own minds up shall we. Surprisingly and more impressively its managed to make a quarter of a million dollars from worldwide sales and is a popular found footage film, wait a second does this mean this was a true story…..