hopscotchee: steve carell score: 82.5 rating: PG-13 time: 104 minutes
okay - hold up!! if you haven't seen the way way back stop whatever you are doing and go watch it now!! as the movie connoisseurs that we are, you should know we do not say it lightly when we tell you that this movie is one of our all-time favorites. now you might be thinking, what the helck makes this movie so special? it just looks like any other small-film, sundance flick, however, if you have had the pleasure of watching either or both little miss sunshine and juno, you will know that this one will be pumped full of heart and humor that will have you smiling and laughing for weeks after. (and trust us, you're going to want to see the pop 'n' lock scene). but beyond that, it gives you fabulous acting, witty dialogue, a perfectly put together story, and a touching emotional climax. basically there is a lot in this movie that makes it the joyful, heart-catching coming of age film that it is. so, do what you may, but we promise you, if you are looking for a sincere comedy that will keep you smirking after, grab a pool floaty and go spend some time at water wizz!!
in the first place, though we always caution you to never let movies with an impeccable line-up-of-a-cast mislead you into thinking that the movie will then therefore translate as great as the star power makes it appear (aka the aloha effect), you know right away that this won't be an isswa (issue) here. within the second of every character's perfectly timed and one-of-a-kind introductions, the actors and actresses fully embrace you with all of the quirks and uniquely scripted personalities that set each of them apart. more importantly, nothing feels forced or disconnected, but like if you were just watching the characters on screen as if they were actual people in front of a camera. major props go to the acting on that one, because it only further submerses you into the story, making for an even better watching experience. not to mention, this is especially impressive for, again, a big name cast. its easy to run into the common isswa where, although you can love the actors and actresses themselves, you just can't focus on their role, because you can't see past their celebrity status. but, no, the way way back does not do that. for example, and most obvious, (spoiler) the instant that steve carell appears on screen and begins his rate-yourself-inquiry with duncan, rating him a three later in the scene, you are abruptly jarred. now steve carell has played more serious roles before, but, still, this is steve carell who most are familiar with making us laugh as michael scott in the office. so, definite props to him for diving into trent's character with hundred percent believability. but, sears, the whole cast does such a flippin' fantastic job. like you got to hand it to alison janney for her ballsy, nosey neighbor attitude that's immediately a crowd favorite and abruptly contrasts the shy and awkward demeanor of duncan and pam. however, spotlight on cut-throat collette for serving some serious realistic cringe durning the infamous (spoiler) sand dune scene (oof). and we can't miss the mention of sam rockwell. legit, one of his best roles ever, hands-down.
but, just like how you can't have a waterpark without the tornado pool (obviously, obviously), equally pulling the movie together was the, to say in the least, outstanding script. not only did every plot line fit perfectly with one another, giving everything greater importance and beautifully tying the story together at the end, but the whips of brilliant dialogue created an addictive draw to the movie. mostly coming from owen's lines, their flare for the obviously-blunt-yet-uniquely-quirky responses had you leaning in obsessed with whatever the next quick line would be. it also keeps you on your toes, making the pace and plot even more special. honestly, any of owen's lines are a hoot, but, in our opinion, one of the positive standouts is when (spoiler) duncan is hesitating after owen offers to give him a ride home, and owen says "we've got to start having faster conversations". though this line might not be as rememberable as "don't die wondering" (which is another stellar line), it still is an amazing one to remember for its mentor-like teachings. which brings up the other reason this script is just so outstanding. that no matter how many times you have seen this movie, you can always take away valuable advice - advice not specific to anyone or any age.
so with that and, on top of the fact, that the make-up and costume teams did such a fabby job at not overdoing the make-up and finding some of the most realistic, boring, summer break clothing, that fit the characters so perfectly, this movie deserves all high marks. in all, the way way back is just an absolutely contagious, feel-good watch - and a definite re-watch at that. it never misses a beat no matter how many times we watch it, and we are proud to say its one of our all-time favs.
-- thanks, steve xo