The only underwhelming element in The Way Back is the boilerplate explanation for the self-destructiveness of Ben Affleck‘s basketball coach — i.e., the death of a child. Too much of a cliche. I would have preferred a character who just likes to drink because he finds life terminally boring or at least draining without a buzz-on, and who’s fallen off the wagon because he’s not that bright or deep — because he’s simply undisciplined or unwilling to look at himself or whatever.

I’ve shared a certain story that my father passed along back in the ’90s, about a longtime AA guy who started drinking again because his life was going so well. Hilarious, and yet a lot of alkies have gotten into trouble for precisely this reason, because of a good-time-Charlie attitude.

I’m currently watching a streaming Affleck interview, moderated by old Boston pally and collaborator Matt Damon.