Coming-of-age drama The Way, Way Back is a perfect alternative to 2013′s explodey Hollywood summer.
This summer has seen the release of some pretty big films – Elysium, Man of Steel, World War Z, Pain & Gain, Pacific Rim and two nearly identical films about a man saving the president, from what I can only assume is a super villain whose weapons include bad plot and over the top special effects.
It’s safe to say we have been bombarded with explosions, CGI and LOUD CHARACTERS this summer. But stop and think – which of these films are going to stay with you for the next ten years of your life? It certainly isn’t going to be Olympus Has Fallen/White House Down; in fact I probably just saved you two minutes of Googling the names of the two twin films about saving the president.
The Way, Way Back should be crowned film of the summer
Cue The Way, Way Back, a charming coming-of-age comedy about shy, socially awkward boy Duncan (Liam James) who finds solace in a summer job at Water Wizz waterpark, in an attempt to evade his mum (Toni Collette) and her dickhead boyfriend (Steve Carrell). The film is so well written and hilarious that it deserves to be crowned the film of the summer, but I’m certain it will get drowned out and dismissed in the UK, due to lack of exploding inanimate objects and limbs, or an all-star Hollywood cast.
This often happens, but why? Are we that easily distracted that the film industry thinks our attention will only be held if every 20 seconds a loud bang happens? Or that the only protagonists we want to see are loud, often angry, overly-muscular men? (I’m looking at you Dwayne Johnson and, come to think of it, every actor in the films I listed above). These types of films are becoming the norm now and when you are presented with a masterpiece like The Way, Way Back, you remember that loud and brash are not synonymous with witty and captivating.
Fans of thoughtful films may be in luck: 2013 may be the year the superhero bubble bursts
The films that I value as most worthy of merit aren’t the ones with the biggest budget and stars, but the ones that demonstrate originality and thoughtful plot or character. Sure, I love watching Bruce Willis blow shit up and throwing Snape off a building, but I’d rather watch him in The Sixth Sense. And as much as I loved seeing a female-led film in The Heat this summer, which had some genuinely hilarious moments, a lot of the comedy seemed to come from Melissa McCarthy doing some loud swears.
More introverted lead characters are needed in film, even if it’s just to break the cycle of FUCKING SHOUTING
It made me realise that more introverted lead characters are needed in film, even if it’s just to break the damn cycle and give us some breathing space FROM ALL THE GODDAMN FUCKING SHOUTING. The Way, Way Back is the only big American film released this summer that satisfies this craving. 2013 has gone mad for apocalyptic films (I blame the Mayans). There’s nothing wrong with big action films, but year by year there’s definitely been an increase. The majority of American films being released now are big budget and average. The only film recently that bore similarities to The Way, Way Back genre-wise was the British film Submarine, and that was released way, way back in 2011.
It is a depressing thought that the awkward coming-of-age genre may be taking a back seat, especially in America. Thus it is a matter of national emergency that we all go and see The Way, Way Back 40 times each. It’ll encourage the film industry to produce more of its kind and prove that we aren’t all fooled by mediocrity cleverly masked with special effects and sexy actors.
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All images: OddLot Entertainment