The Kings of Summer, 2013
Starring Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, and Nick Offerman
If you like those “coming of age” movies like Stand by Me, and you need a summer movie to distract you from the cold, then this is the movie for you.
The story is wonderfully simple: Best friends Joe (Nick Robinson) and Patrick (Gabriel Basso) become increasingly frustrated with their parents (what teenager doesn’t go through this?). One night, a family game of Monopoly, which includes Joe’s dad’s (Nick Offerman) girlfriend, is the last straw for Joe. He decides that the only way to attain the freedom and independence he so rightly deserves as a growing “man” is to build a house in the woods and live off the land. He brings along his buddy Patrick and a schoolmate, Biaggio (Moises Aria), who’s a little odd but proves himself useful. Patrick’s parents freak out and believe he’s been kidnapped, while Joe’s dad is sure they ran away, pointing out certain things that have also disappeared, like his tools and canned food. The rest of the movie is then basically how they live in the woods. They use books (that I’m pretty sure I’ve seen at either the library or Urban Outfitters) and savvy (dumpster diving at the Boston Market) to survive. Despite the cool summer vibe of the movie, the tension starts to build when a summer romance gets between the friends and living in the wild on their own becomes tiresome.
The movie’s shot with a lot of what you would see in a “typical” indie flick: hazy montages of the kids in the woods set to somewhat familiar music that makes it seem like a rather idyllic summer for a teenager. There’s just enough quirk in the movie to remind you not to take it too seriously. Every once in a while we get a glimpse of Joe’s imagination in some fantasy scene. But that’s what I really liked. It was a Stand by Me kind of simpleness that enables you to relate so easily, but it was cool and quirky enough to make it modern and special.
The Kings of Summerjust might be my favorite “coming-of-age” type movie made in the last decade, partially because I can’t think of another I liked as much as this one. The movie is rated ‘R’ but for similar reasons that Stand by Me was rated ‘R’ for: language. Again, I loved this movie! If you have a chance, I definitely recommend watching it!