The Way Back

Blog 1637 – 03.15.2020

The Way Back

I saw the movie, The Way Back, with Ben Affleck, yesterday, and as writing movie tributes in this blog is a thing I like to do, here goes. It is a story similar to the one I wrote about a couple of month’s ago regarding the early nineteen fifties movie with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and William Holden, called, Country Girl. That movie, too, is about a struggling alcoholic grieving a dead young son and trying to make a come back.

Both these actors, Bing and Ben, later in their lives after many big successes experienced a low point where many assumed their careers might have been over or at least never as big, ever again. Addiction and depression plague not only the artistic and talented but most everyone in one way or another, yet their struggles are often more widely known. We, many of us, began following Ben’s life and career even before he and Matt Damon teamed up to do their award winning, Good Will Hunting. It is hard to believe that movie was released more than twenty-two years ago now. Ben and Matt have together and separately had many successes since then.

Till seeing The Way Back yesterday I had regarded Ben’s, The Accountant, his best effort, with his performance in Gone Girl a close second, but after seeing this movie I must say those other two great performances must give space to this one. I hope it does well at the box office in spite of the COVID-19 Coronavirus scare. There is no greater praise for art than being seen and appreciated by many. A big paycheck (another of Ben’s fine films had Paycheck for its title) might be nice but a true artist creates to be seen, heard, and appreciated more than just for money. To judgmental and condemning people I like to say, “We are all whores, we work for money.” But is also true that we are all also potential artists with gifts to share if we are brave enough to put ourselves out there.

I hope many will not just wait for the Blue Ray, DVD, streaming or cable release of The Way Back but will see it in theaters the way I believe movies are best seen. I got an email from AMC Theaters saying they were limiting ticket sales to half theater capacity to help us keep our social distance in this time of fear of more getting the virus. Kudos to them for thinking of the greater good not just profits although I have no illusions that their announcement was only altruistic, half a theater ticket sales being better than less or none.

I wish Ben well in his struggle with his particular demon as I do us all. As the old joke goes most of us like our vice versus. But then as comic strip Pogo so poignantly put it. We have met the enemy and he is us.” Still rejoice, I have read the end of the story, and we all make it home safe and sound, and there is no addiction, war, enemy or virus than can prevent that happy ending, not even You Know Who, and I am not talking about some invented devil but a real self created one – ego, me, you. Don’t fight him/her but love them into submission, so the real artist in us can shine.

Thank you, Ben, for reminding us all that even at our worst and lowest there is still good, greatness, in each one of us, and that we can find The Way Back.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White

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