The real-life echoes in Ben Affleck‘s basketball-coach character in Finding The Way Back (Warner Bros., 3.6) are obvious. Affleck has been famously struggling with alcohol issues for years, and so (in the realm of the film) is “Jack Cunningham”, a former basketball star who bends the elbow. The film is obviously self-portraiture to a certain extent.
Director Gavin O’Connor knows how to do sports redemption dramas. I still say Miracle (’04) is his best.
I saw this trailer at the Grove last weekend, and my first reaction (above and beyond the Affleck thing) was that it could be described as Hoosiers but with Dennis Hopper‘s rummy character taking the place of Gene Hackman‘s.
Why call this Finding The Way Back when (a) Nat Faxon and Jim Rash‘s The Way Way Back opened only seven years ago and (b) Peter Weir‘s The Way Back opened ten years ago? Why follow in that path? I can’t think of a decent alternative. All that comes to mind is Fat Bearded Boozer. Don’t laugh — people would pay to see a film with that title.