The Kings of Summer Blu-ray | DVD
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Written by Chris Galletta
Starring Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Marc Evan Jackson, and Alison Brie CBS Films
Rated R | Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Date: September 24, 2013
It’s time to go back to when you were just a kid. You just made it to high school and you have a whole new world ahead of you. You have your best friends, and of course you have that one girl that catches your eye and she’s all you ever think about. It’s also that time, when you are starting to rebel against your parents and their weird, but loving ways. Well, what if you have had enough of their crazy antics and decide to runaway and build your own place, deep in the woods, and live like kings, with no rules but your own.
In The Kings of Summer, we get to see what happens when you leave the comforts of home and go out to live on your own, with just your close friends nearby. The story follows two teenagers, Joe (Nick Robinson, Melissa and Joey) and Patrick (Gabriel Basson, Super 8), both of whom are sick of their parents. Joe, dealing with the loss of his mother and a father Frank (Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation) he can’t seem to connect with, and Patrick, whose parents (Megan Mullally, Will and Grace l Marc Evan Jackson, Suit Up, are a little too happy and nice at times.
Sometimes you feel sorry for the kids, but sometimes you don’t and realize they are just being mean to their parents, who are just trying to make them happy. After it gets to be too much, Joe hatches a plan to build a house in a secret location in the woods and live on his own, with no one to check in with or follow their rules. Patrick is hesitant at first, but eventually decides to join him. And to round out the trio, we have the mysterious Biaggio (Moises Arias, Nacho Libre), who just sort of shows up and the guys are afraid to tell him to leave. They build their own house and try to live off the land with not so great success, but luckily they are able to find a Boston Market near the outskirts of their kingdom. There are a few points in the movie that you kind of have to overlook, the biggest being the fact the kids are gone away for quite some time, but no one seems to be able to find them, perhaps their searching techniques need an upgrade. Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men) also pops up, as Joe’s older sister, who I think the only reason she is in the movie, so they can have some awkward moments between her boyfriend, Colin (Eugene Cordero, Kroll Show) and her dad. I will also say there is a funny cameo from Kumail Nanjiani (Newsreaders) as a delivery guy from a local restaurant.
And what follows is a journey of testing out friendships, your first love, and realizing that maybe your parents aren’t nearly as bad as you thought they were. We are given a heartfelt story, written by Chris Galletta, and luckily some nice comedic moments. Most of the laughs come from the wild and crazy antics of Biaggio. And yes you can compare this to some of the great coming of age movies, like Goonies and Stand By Me, although it doesn’t nearly compare to either of those movies. It’s still a solid movie, and one I would say check out if you get the chance.
But for me, it’s hard to compete with movies that seemed to talk to you as a young kid, and perhaps if I was younger this one would make more of an impact. I can relate to this movie at various moments, and I am sure some of the lessons learned, are ones that you have experienced in your own life. And this story wouldn’t mean anything if the cast didn’t do a great job with the bringing the words to life. And I can say they did a great job and it was nice to see one of the kids from Super 8 back on the screen.
Along with the great story, we also get a beautifully shot film, with some great locations. I’m also guessing they got their hands on a Phantom camera, as we get a few montages of some super slow motion antics, a few you get to see in the trailer. I will say there is a point in the movie that deals with a snake and I can say it really reminded me of Mud, and I hope that isn’t the trope that is going to pop up in a few upcoming movies I am looking forward to seeing.
I would have to say that if I were to compile a top ten movies for 2013 this movie would be on the list, and we will just have to wait and see if it is still there at the end of the year. It’s a classic coming of age tale, of what it’s like to to grow up and prove yourself to friends and family, and of course learn a little about life, love, and friendship.