7. The Way, Way Back
Director: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Stars: Liam James, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette, AnnSophia Robb, Allison Janney, Amanda Peet, Rob Corddry, Maya Rudolph, Jim Rash, Nat Faxon, Zoe Levin
Release Date: July 5
Never underestimate the power of great storytelling. Case in point: The Way, Way Back, a coming-of-age comedy that, on paper, covers the entirety of that subgenre's generic tropes. There's a summer beach house, the awkward, introverted teenage boy (Liam James), the beautiful neighbor (AnnaSophia Robb), and the place where said teenage boy suddenly feels comfortable and finds himself (a water park called Water Wizz). What does that all add up to? We've seen it, and the answer is obvious: the best coming-of-age comedy in years.
The film has two key weapons against the mundane. One, the cast is altogether excellent, led by James' effectively sympathetic performance and scene-stealing work from Sam Rockwell. Secondly, its writers and directors, Nat Faxon and Community star Jim Rash, are no narrative slouches, having recently won an Oscar for co-writing the script for George Clooney's The Descendants.