The Way, Way Back – Solving Loneliness

The Way, Way Back – Solving Loneliness

The Way, Way Back – Solving Loneliness

First get a handle on safety, hunger and health. Then deal with loneliness.

Because if you can solve loneliness after knocking out the first three, what more do you really need? “Love” you may say. “Meaning” you may say. “Purpose” you may say.

I say those are just manifestations of anti-loneliness. Take love for instance. Take a single moment. If you really, truly feel loved in that moment, can you feel lonely? I say “no.”

Given that robust example, we move forward to the next, obvious step in this logic: the best thing you can do for another person after assisting with safety, hunger and health is assisting with loneliness.

Great news: loneliness assistance is the easiest of the four to deliver; you can deliver it every single day without spending a single cent.

So forget about charity for the time being and think instead about the minutes (or hours) in your day when you have social credibility.

so·cial cred·i·bil·i·ty/ˈsōSHəl kredəˈbilədē/ the power to include another person without risking one’s reputation

Social credibility usually ebbs and flows. Maybe you have it on the football field but not in the science classroom. Maybe you have it with your family but not with your in-laws.

In The Way, Way Back, Owen (Sam Rockwell) definitely had social credibility at Water Wizz. The thing about social credibility is that you don’t have to use it to help others because having it means that you are probably “cool,” and thus you don’t need to include anyone to achieve status – the upside appears limited. Furthermore, it’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t have full social credibility, that including someone could hurt your reputation, so most social credibility goes unused in the fight against loneliness. 

Which is tragic. Because social credibility is one of the most powerful anti-loneliness forces.

Thankfully, Owen had no problem employing it. The result was nothing short of life-saving for Duncan (Liam James). That may be literally true – nobody would have been surprised if Duncan committed suicide. It’s most certainly figuratively true as Owen’s social credibility opened up a world of love and purpose for Duncan.

The important thing to remember is that while Owen may be particularly charming, confident, thoughtful and hilarious, he doesn’t possess some unobtainable genetic gift – almost everyone has social credibility at some point during a day.

“The Way, Way Back” made me THINK.

Every line hit. Like, seriously. Owen (Sam Rockwell) spoke, I laughed. His impressions, his singing, his general demeanor, his flirting – it just worked. 

That Pac-Man scene alone was worth the price of admission. Or when he tells Duncan to go back and talk to the girl. Or when he talks the lyrics “I need a hero.” The humor is so good that this is incredibly far from a complete list.

“The Way, Way Back” made me LAUGH.

Realizing you are wrong is generally a hard thing. It’s made considerably less hard when you are happy to discover you are wrong.

So it was when Pam (Toni Collette) suddenly came to both appreciate her own selfishness as a parent (in not knowing what her son was doing) and, wonderfully, how much better her son was than she’d believed.

This latter realization has to be close to a pinnacle moment a parent can feel about a child. It marked the start of a fun and emotional conclusion to The Way, Way Back.

“The Way, Way Back” made me CRY.


Adam Schaefer

Adam Schaefer

Adam likes banana flavoring more than bananas. His first R-rated movie was "Beverly Hills Cop 3." He is also a semi-famous somniloquist.
Adam Schaefer

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2 thoughts on “The Way, Way Back – Solving Loneliness

  1. i LOVE, LOVE this movie SO, SO much. i laughed my ass off in the theater. i’d give my eye teeth to have people in my life as badassed as owen is. sam rockwell is AMAZING in this movie, and the story is beautiful. i’m glad you enjoyed it and gave it the shout out and could speak so highly of it. thank you.

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