The Way Back
Photo Credit: IMDB

“The Way Back” a Gem Of Film That Rises To The Top


As we all know, the sports world came to a halt due to the emergence of the coronavirus.


The sports business was not the only one to be affected by the pandemic, as local businesses, casinos, and gyms, just to name a few, were forced to close. Another department to take a hit was the television and film industry, more specifically with movie theaters forced to close.

Television shows and movies in production had to stop meeting in person for shooting, which will ultimately affect completion and release dates for shows and films, respectively. Movies that were already finished with set release dates luckily had enough time to postpone their releases, like: “No Time to Die,” “Black Widow,” and “Candyman.” Other companies chose to have their movies released on streaming services in a last-ditch move to make any form of revenue, like: “The King of Staten Island,” “The Lovebirds,” and “Scoob!”


Unfortunately, there were a few films that did release in theaters but suffered in revenue due to movie theaters closing only a week or two later.


Photo Credit: Roger Ebert

One of those movies involved Ben Affleck starring as a high school basketball coach and was titled “The Way Back.” I am a sports guy who also loves and enjoys watching movies. The Franchise is a sports website, and that movie does involve sports, so I decided to write about one of those forgotten films that I believe deserves some notoriety.

The Warner Bros. Pictures film was made on a budget of between $21-25 million and was released in theaters on March 6. The film made $8.5 million in its first weekend, finishing third in the box office. Less than a week later, movie theaters around the country were closed due to the pandemic, and as a result, “The Way Back” only managed to make a total of $14.7 million in the box office. Warner Bros. eventually decided just to make the film available to own digitally on March 24.

Although it failed to recoup, the film received mostly positive reviews from critics, and Affleck was heavily praised for his portrayal. Rotten Tomatoes gave it an approval rating of 84%, Metacritic had the film’s score at 68 out of 100, and CinemaScore graded the film as a B+. The main reason for the average ratings was the cliche-feel of a sports drama film, but Affleck’s outstanding performance was what prevailed and elevated the film.

Christy Lemire of FilmWeek wrote, “Surprisingly solid and not at all mawkish or maudlin as it might look from the outset. This is probably the best work of Ben Affleck’s career.” While doing the media run for the film in early March, Affleck appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Both Kimmel and Affleck agreed that this was the best work of his career as well. 


I have now seen the film three times, once in theaters and the other two times streaming it with my family.


As someone who loves sports and movies, I was immediately intrigued by the film. Affleck’s performance and what the writers decided to do with the storyline made a lasting impression on me, and the film ultimately became one of my favorites. This is definitely a movie that I would recommend for anyone to see.

Although this is another sports drama film that has its combination of highs and lows throughout the plot, do not get it twisted. This is not just another sports drama movie. This is not your typical feel-good, happy-go-lucky movie with a storybook ending. There is a reason why this film is titled “The Way Back,” and nothing like “Glory Road’ or “Invincible.” 

Photo Credit: IMDB

Ben Affleck plays as Jack Cunningham, an alcoholic construction worker who is asked to step in as the head coach for his high school basketball team. The team has not been good nor made the playoffs since Cunningham himself played there, revealing that he was a star player and CIF Player of the Year before getting a full ride to play in college for Kansas

In the trailer, it is revealed that he never took that opportunity to suit up for Kansas because his father’s neglect led to him wanting to “hurt himself so he can hurt his father,” which leads to his downfall in a life filled with alcohol and other demons. Cunningham states that before becoming their head coach, he had not picked up a basketball since his playing days. The team starts to show signs of success, and the lives of the players and Cunningham seem to be improving. Instances of setbacks also emerge throughout the trailer.

As a trailer should, it gave viewers a general plot of Cunningham becoming the team’s coach, but still leaving a lot of uncertainty for curiosity. For example, the trailer for “Us” just showed the protagonist’s family having to deal with their doppelgangers invading their home, and that was it. It was not until the middle of the film (Spoilers, in case you haven’t seen it.) where it was revealed that everyone in the country seemed to have their own doppelganger trying to kill them.


“The Way Back” is a story that provides a lot more than what was just shown in the trailer and is a film that will have you go through all of the emotions throughout.


It is raw, real, and original while giving some real-life events and consequences that ordinary people go through. At the same time, it provides a man with demons to still learn from his players while they also learn from him. 

I would love to tell you all about what takes place, but I can’t spoil that in hopes that you will watch the film. Due to the coronavirus, a lot of people were not able to watch the movie, and that is unfortunate. You can now rent or buy the film online on various streaming services. “The Way Back” is one of the forgotten movies that deserves to be seen.


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-Isaiah Torres – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: Isaiah_Torres24


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