The Way Way Back (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 10-31-2013, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
87





Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 103 minutes
Genre: Drama/Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Janey, Toni Collette, AnnaSophia Robb, Rob Cordory, Amanda Peet, Maya Rudolph, Liam James
Written & Directed by: Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Music by: Rob Simonsen
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 22, 2013







"We’ve all been there"


Film Synopsis:

Dive into this “smart, imaginative, first-rate comedy” (Karen Durbin, ELLE) featuring an all-star comedic cast, including Steve Carell, Maya Rudolph, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, and Amanda Peet! While 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) is being dragged on a family trip with his mom (Collette) and her overbearing boyfriend (Carell), he finds a gregarious friend (Rockwell) at a local water park. The two form a powerful bond as Duncan learns to swim through the challenges of life, love, family and friendship, resulting in a vacation he’ll never forget.


My Take:

Written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (who also star in the film) The way way back is a dramedy that revolves around Duncan, an introverted 14 year old struggling to cope with his parent’s breakup and her new boyfriend Trent who sees Duncan’s shy demeanor as a flaw. As such Trent takes every opportunity to exploit it via subtle needling banter and gestures of belittling sarcasm. To add insult to injury Duncan’s needy mother Pam desires only that Duncan make more of an effort to get along with Trent while passively ignoring the friction between the two.

Things aren’t looking any better when they all, including Trent’s older teenage daughter Steph, land at Trent’s beach house for a vacation. With tensions mounting indoors Duncan heads out exploring the beach community and discovers a local water park. It’s not much and is run by a band of seemingly tame ne’re-do-wells who have spent 10 summers too many working there. Owen is the park’s director. He is affable, kind of shiftless, outgoing and clownish. After a chance meeting Owen invites Duncan back offering him a job. Not quite sure what to expect Duncan returns as there is an underlying comfort that draws him both to the park and Owen who is someone completely different than anyone he has known. Their friendship is the foundation of the storyline as Duncan comes to development a voice, self worth and the belief that there is in fact life outside of walls that seem to be closing in on him.

The way way back explores very familiar themes as it takes us back to a place that most of us have been to in one way or another. The awkwardness of adolescence, struggling to fit in and how one summer, one good friend or the right attention from a crush can be a transformative experience. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and reveled in its heartwarming, personal and charming story about a boy who needed understanding and how the right person was there when he needed it most. The script is well constructed and expertly balances the lines between drama and levity which includes ample amounts of sharp wit as delivered by the always capable Sam Rockwell who is among my favorite character actors. Speaking of which the entire cast is simply spot on, including youngsters Liam James and River Alexander who literally steals every scene he is in.

The way way back has a crowd pleasing aesthetic that is bolstered by authentic characterizations underscored by a solid script and wonderful performances by the ensemble cast. It is among the best films that I have seen this year and I look forward to revisiting it.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements, language, some sexual content and brief drug material.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 84

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 90

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699


The way way back comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.

This video presentation is consistent with most newer release films coming to Blu-ray and looks great. Colors are bright, with vivid primaries, and deep saturation which makes them visually pleasing. Contrast and brightness are nicely balanced which adds punch to colors and brightly lit scenes while keeping darker elements dynamic and gradational. Complexions are rich in tonal description with natural highlights that appear lifelike. Images are crisp with stable sharpness and appreciable definition that brings out plenty of subtle texture within the objects and people onscreen.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is more than capable of handling the elements present in this dialogue driven film and sound excellent overall. Vocal reproduction is smooth and strident free through the center channel. The front oriented surround mix is delivered via a wide soundstage, with opulent detail and appropriate prioritization. Atmospheric ambience is lightly mixed to the rear channels which provides subtle venue replicating surround envelopment and music enhancement.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Behind the scenes with the hilarious cast/filmmakers (6 segment totaling 30 minutes):
    1. The script
    2. The cast
    3. The shoot
    4. The characters
    5. Nat & Jim
    6. Sundance
  • (HD) 3 deleted scenes

  • (HD) Tour of the water park – 3 minute featurette

  • (HD) Jim & Pat the filmmakers – 3 minute featurette

  • (HD) Ensemble featurette – 4 minutes

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy




Final Thoughts:

The way way back is charming, funny, wonderfully enacted/directed and one of my favorite films of 2013. It makes its way onto Blu-ray in a solid offering from 20th Century Fox that features excellent high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound quality and a complimentary assortment of bonus features. This one comes highly recommended. Enjoy!


Here is the trailer:


attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 22 Old 10-31-2013, 10:34 AM
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I had forgotten all about this movie. Looks like a good one and I should have it today from amazon after clicking on the link. I'll give my thoughts later.


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post #3 of 22 Old 10-31-2013, 06:15 PM
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Thanks Ralph, I love the cast and was already thinking about adding this to the collection. Picking this up on your recommendation, bought it through your link this time as well smile.gif
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post #4 of 22 Old 10-31-2013, 06:16 PM
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This is one of those very rare times when my opinion differs from Ralph...I was very eager to see this film because of the cast. Steve Carrell and Sam Rockwell in the same flick? Sign me up... I kept waiting for Steve to make me wet my pants, but a strange thing happened...I wanted to punch him in the face by around the half way point in the movie! I found myself pretty uninvolved for the first act or two, and it wasn't until just past the halfway point when things started holding my interest. The overwhelming feeling as I was watching was that I've seen this movie a million times. Loser kid has a family preoccupied with other things, he ends up feeling misunderstood and unimportant, finds comfort in mentor type figure and ends up being a square peg in a square hole "coming of age" story.

That being said, I'm clearly in the minority by a very large margin. Reviews of the film have been very strong and I'm certain most of you will feel as they and Ralph feel about it. I think I just failed to connect this time...it happens!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

This is one of those very rare times when my opinion differs from Ralph...I was very eager to see this film because of the cast. Steve Carrell and Sam Rockwell in the same flick? Sign me up... I kept waiting for Steve to make me wet my pants, but a strange thing happened...I wanted to punch him in the face by around the half way point in the movie! I found myself pretty uninvolved for the first act or two, and it wasn't until just past the halfway point when things started holding my interest. The overwhelming feeling as I was watching was that I've seen this movie a million times. Loser kid has a family preoccupied with other things, he ends up feeling misunderstood and unimportant, finds comfort in mentor type figure and ends up being a square peg in a square hole "coming of age" story.

That being said, I'm clearly in the minority by a very large margin. Reviews of the film have been very strong and I'm certain most of you will feel as they and Ralph feel about it. I think I just failed to connect this time...it happens!

Greetings,

No worries Summa we will connect on the next one my friend. smile.gif

As for Steve Carell's performance, the fact that you wanted to punch him in the face was actually the point. He was playing a very unlikeable character (probably for the first time) and nailed it. wink.gif


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post #6 of 22 Old 10-31-2013, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robnix View Post

Thanks Ralph, I love the cast and was already thinking about adding this to the collection. Picking this up on your recommendation, bought it through your link this time as well smile.gif

Greetings,

I hope you enjoy it Robnix. smile.gif


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post #7 of 22 Old 10-31-2013, 07:10 PM
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I loved it! It may have been cliched, but it was extremely well done, laugh out loud funny (even for my girlfriend, which is rare) and overall a great cast with a great story arc.
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post #8 of 22 Old 10-31-2013, 08:12 PM
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I wish the movie could have ended just a tad bit differently but it held my interest through the whole film. Steve Carell sure played a different character than I've seen in the past. Yep, one of those characters you want to punch in the face. Maybe that's the ending I would have liked to see. All in all a very good film.


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post #9 of 22 Old 11-01-2013, 07:24 AM
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Great review, Ralph! Sure sounds awefully good! I think I'll hold and rent this one though as there's just too much cool-but-expensive stuff (namely 3D bundles) to get! I'm also surprised I hadn't heard of The Way Way Back, but glad to know you approve. I'm actually looking forward to Carell's antagonism, FWIW! cool.gif
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post #10 of 22 Old 11-01-2013, 12:44 PM
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We were looking for something to watch this past weekend and had a free Dish on-demand code to use. My wife and 14 year old picked this (I am more of an action, sci-fi, made for the big screen with huge sound kind of guy). We ALL enjoyed this movie. Enough that it is on my list to pick up on blu-ray.
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post #11 of 22 Old 11-01-2013, 03:20 PM
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Nice Ralph. This movie sounds like a really good one. I love me a good Dramedy! Seen this at walmart last night when I was stocking up on extra candy for the trick or treaters and I almost bought it just cause of the actors. Redbox didn't have it tho so I'm gunna try renting it thru another route tonight.

Thanks again Ralph!

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post #12 of 22 Old 11-01-2013, 04:09 PM
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Thank you for the review Ralph. I am looking forward to renting this.
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Thanks for the review. This was such a great movie. I hadn't even heard of it when I watched it and my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it. One of this year's best IMO.
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post #14 of 22 Old 11-05-2013, 03:23 PM
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The wife and I watched this one over the weekend and we both really enjoyed it.

It was interesting to see Steve Carell in a little different role than he typically plays, and we both enjoyed Rockwell's performance and the relationship between his character and his "protege". I also hoped for a little different ending, but it worked the way it was.

I probably wouldn't go so far as to call one of the best of the year, but we thought it was a solid B or B+ and genuinely enjoyable. If you like this genre, it's definitely worth watching. Two thumbs up!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

No worries Summa we will connect on the next one my friend. smile.gif

As for Steve Carell's performance, the fact that you wanted to punch him in the face was actually the point. He was playing a very unlikeable character (probably for the first time) and nailed it. wink.gif


Regards,

Absolutely! I was very impressed with how well he fit into that role. I love when a comedic actor breaks away from the type cast thing and shows range. Back when Robin Williams was doing Mork, I never would have guessed he'd pull off half the characters he's played on the big screen. Nice to see Steve had the balls to pull a fast one on us smile.gif

Speaking of which, and excuse the tangent, but can you believe that As Good as it Gets came out almost SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO?? What the heck!?
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post #16 of 22 Old 11-06-2013, 08:58 AM
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Thanks Ralph will be looking out for this one to rent

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post #17 of 22 Old 11-19-2013, 06:34 PM
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Just got done with this one and I very much agree with you Ralph. One of the best films for me of 2013. As mentioned, Steve Carell played a different type role for him in this movie, but I thought he nailed it as he really made the viewer feel anger towards him! tongue.gif Great coming of age type film.

I thought the PQ was excellent overall and audio supported the film well. I probably would not have known about this film if not for your review, so thanks!
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Just got done with this one and I very much agree with you Ralph. One of the best films for me of 2013. As mentioned, Steve Carell played a different type role for him in this movie, but I thought he nailed it as he really made the viewer feel anger towards him! tongue.gif Great coming of age type film.

I thought the PQ was excellent overall and audio supported the film well. I probably would not have known about this film if not for your review, so thanks!

Interesting ! I'll have to check this out . smile.gif
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post #19 of 22 Old 12-01-2013, 01:11 AM
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Great write up Ralph and I strongly echo the same sentiments on this one! Really bought me back to that summer of mine I'll never forget wink.gif The wife loved it as much as I did and this was indeed short sweet and to the point and indeed hit a home run in casting, script and direction. As we get ready to close out another year of movies this and Mud are by far two that caught me off guard in the best way possible.

Thanks again my friend smile.gif
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post #20 of 22 Old 12-01-2013, 04:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

audiofan1 & Toe (Todd) I am glad to hear that you enjoyed this one as much as I did and you're very welcome. smile.gif


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post #21 of 22 Old 02-20-2014, 07:57 AM
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Ralph just finished watching this film and I loved it. I have to agree with your score. It will definitely make my collection.

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post #22 of 22 Old 02-20-2014, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Ralph just finished watching this film and I loved it. I have to agree with your score. It will definitely make my collection.

Greetings,

Awesome Frank! smile.gif


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