Sunday, August 14, 2016

Movie Review: "The Kings of Summer" (2013)

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Movie: "The Kings of Summer"
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Year: 2013
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Tired of dealing with their overbearing, nagging parents, a trio of teenagers run away and build their own home in the middle of the forest to live a life of no rules and infinite freedom.

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by Chris Galletta, "The Kings of Summer" is a coming-of-age dramedy about a group of high school boys and their problems with their parents. It stars Nick Robinson as Joe, a 15-year old who has been butting heads with his dad Frank, played by Nick Offerman, more and more since the death of his mother. His best friend Patrick, played by Gabriel Basso, doesn't have it much better at his house. His over-involved parents drive him crazy, too, so much so they have him literally breaking out in hives. One night after a party they are attending gets broken up, on the walk home, Joe gets an idea about how he can solve his parent problem. He convinces Patrick they should run away and build themselves their own home in a secluded forest clearing. They will then live there as free men rather than boys living at the mercy of the laws set by their nagging parents. Also tagging along with them is Biaggio, played by Moises Arias, who is a classmate of theirs. Neither Patrick nor Nick seem to know Biaggio all that well, but after the aforementioned party, he kind of attaches himself to them and has been present in their plans ever since. Biaggio is kind of an oddball character who does and says things many would consider weird, but despite his bizarre behavior, he is quite endearing, absolutely funny, and fiercely loyal.

There are a lot of laughs in "The Kings of Summer" which stem from dozens of humorous situations, including Biaggio's quirky behavior, their (mis)adventures in the wild, as well as the interactions between the kids and their in-your-face parents. Nick Offerman does a fantastic job delivering this dry, sardonic, and gruff yet witty dialogue. He makes sniping, sarcastic remarks towards his son, as well as other people throughout the film. Patrick's parents, played by Mark Evan Jackson and Megan Mullally, offer a different type of humor as they are the blissfully oblivious types who think they are being helpful, but more often than not, are just being annoying to their teenage son. We find their interactions with Patrick to be hilarious, even though we get secondhand embarrassment from watching them unfold. All of the adult actors might be spectacular, but Basso, Robinson, and Arias are just as excellent.

Beyond a surprising amount of humor, there is also an enthralling adventure here as well as these young men set off on personal journeys of self discovery. They have an amazing summer where they build there own house and make their own rules in order to live wild and free. When you think about it, isn't this the ultimate summer goal everyone wants to achieve? Through this wilderness exploration, they learn a lot about themselves, and their parents learn a lot about what they might have done that led to this ordeal. Biaggio's parents are the exception to this because they seem to be ignorant of the fact that he was ever gone and are rarely featured in this film. In fact, we sort of thought he was already an orphan once he came onto the scene.

We are so glad to have discovered "The Kings of Summer." It winds up being an absolute treat of both visual and thematic proportions. It is extremely well acted by everyone in the cast, and it is a touching, engaging, and beautifully shot piece of cinema we very much enjoyed.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 76%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
Last summer, we were watching: "Adventureland"

Two summers ago, we were watching: "The Seven Year Itch"

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