Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Way, Way Good!

I woke up in a blissful mood this morning, looking forward to a regular Wednesday. Maybe some pasta tonight, definitely some wine. "Man, how come I'm so happy this morning?" I thought.

But then I started poring through all kinds of contradictory news about alcohol - and I'm so confused I have to take some time to sort through it. I might even need a drink for that. ;)

So instead I'm going to talk about The Way, Way Back, a new summer movie that warrants mention here because ... well, there's a lot of drinking in it.

Funny man Steve Carrell gives a chilling performance as Trent, the nasty boyfriend of divorcee Toni Collette. Both single, they take their teenaged kids to his beach house for the summer: his snooty daughter and her misfit son, Duncan. Poor Duncan and Trent do NOT get along. Having grown up in a home with a single mom who had more than her fair share OF IDIOT FUCKING BOYFRIENDS - I can tell you it's pretty convincing stuff. ;)

What made me think I've gotta blog this is Allison Janney's hilarious performance as Betty, the neighbor who makes her first appearance with a big drink in her hand (she almost always has a drink in her hand, btw.) "Thank God you're here! If I had to get drunk alone one more night, I'd kill myself ... Yeah, I'm off the wagon. Accept it and move on."

She says that a lot in the movie. Accept it and move on. Definitely sounded like self-talk from a failed treatment program to me. I immediately pictured decades of heavy drinking, probably some affairs and the inevitable messy divorce. Betty steals every scene she's in, somehow playing an unsympathetic character in a way that makes you want to invite her to your next barbecue, anyway.

And, oh yeah, she has a beautiful teenage daughter who - naturally -  ends up being Duncan's love interest.

As the grownups cook and drink and dance and drink and toke and drink and stay up all night and drink, Betty's daughter sighs in resignation. "Sucks here, huh? ... It's like spring break for adults."

I recognized Collette's poignant desperation as a single mom looking to find a new man. The subtle prioritizing of her boyfriend's needs above her son's, the inability to see her beau's many flaws, the way teenage independence is just a hair removed from parental neglect, the ... Jesus, sorry. This is beginning to sound like a cheap therapy session. Apologies to all the great single moms out there. (And thanks for listening!)

Over and above the fact it's a peek into my own sordid past (actually, we didn't have a beach house. Come on!), it's an awesome coming of age flick. As a viewer, you're somehow trapped between the teenagers and the grownups, living through what ends up being the BEST SUMMER EVUR!!!

There were moments that were so funny and memorable, it seemed to fix every broken heart, bad summer job and bathing suit mishap I've ever had. (Including that Grade 6 swimming field trip where my bikini top flipped up right in front of Billy Saunders ... Okay, maybe it didn't fix that ... accept it and move on ...)

Toss in hilarious performances by Sam Rockwell, SNL's Maya Rudolph and a water park full of quirky misfits, and you come out feeling like you got a psychic sunburn. But the good kind. Before anyone told you, "Oh my God! Put your sunblock on! You're going to get skin cancer and diiiiiieee!!!" (I feel sorry for kids who'll never know that before the hole in the ozone layer, sunburns used to be kinda fun.)

If you can't catch it this summer, it's going to be a perfect winter renter. Especially if you have a big umbrella drink in your hand. ;)

Okay, now that your expectations are blown all out of proportion and you're going to hate it and be all like, "WTF? It wasn't that good!" here's the trailer ... (btw the soundtrack kicks ass too!)