THE WAY BACK (2020)

dir. Gavin O’Connor. The film starts out as a fairly simple, and honest story about an alcoholic former student basketball star (Ben Affleck), who is saved by his old high school through coaching a team of underperforming student athletes – a serious take on THE BAD NEWS BEARS (1976). Unfortunately the story is quickly complicated by more tragic backstory, that distracts from the coach’s relationship with the students. The performances are also not really strong enough for the serious subject matter. I enjoyed seeing some great comic actors in a dramatic film, particularly the assistant coach played Al Madrigal (The Daily Show), and Matthew Glave (Drew Barrymore’s sleazy fiancĂ© in THE WEDDING SINGER (1998)) as the smarmy coach of the opposing team. The film looks super stylish, I assume thanks to Spanish cinematographer Eduard Grau, who was Director of Photography on Tom Ford’s A SINGLE MAN (2009), and Joel Edgerton’s BOY ERASED (2018)