"The Way Way Back"

A movie like "The Way, Way Back' is the kind of movie that gets forgotten come awards time, when all the prestigious, "awards-wrapped" releases come pilling up one after the next. It happens every summer. A solidly crafted film with solid performances coming in under the radar. This one stars newcomer Liam James, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell and Toni Collette. A great cast that has a ball delivering their performances.

Under the direction of Nat Faxon and Jim Rash -They wrote "The Descendants"- Liam James does an excellent job as Duncan, an introverted kid that goes on vacation with his mom (Collette) and her douchebag of a boyfriend Trent (Carell, in an unexpectedly devilish performance). Trent has his friends come over to the vacation home for a 24/7 adult drinking party, that leaves Duncan feeling isolated and wanting to escape. Enter sam Rockwell, as Owen, owner of a local water park who takes Duncan under his wings.

The bond between Owen and Duncan is what drives the film. Owen is a middle aged schlub that doesn't really care much for responsibilities. Yet, there's an enduring likeability to Owen that you cannot deny. Much kudos must be given to Rockwell (watch him in last year's "Seven Psychopaths") who's truly one of the best actors around. His performance is the best in the film and deserves much more recognition than it is getting at the moment. Rockwell might just be the most underrated actor currently working in Hollywood and it is only a matter of time before he gets the recognition he deserves. Carrell, a comic actor that has proven he does possess solid dramatic acting chops, plays the unlikeable douchebag of a boyfriend so well that you wouldn't believe he once was the 40 year old virgin.

A film that is this smartly written and filled with this many great performances deserves an audience. It might not be an artistic achievement or even an awards contender but it is a breath of fresh air and its performances deserve to be talked about. Here is a summer movie without robots, superheroes or magic tricks. Without the usual formula that is contaminating Hollywood movies these days. It deals with real human emotions, real people and never gives us any easy answers. If Faxon and Rash's film is playing in your area, seek it out.