Peninsular Place

Movie Reviews

June 10, 2013

Kings of Summer

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Written by: Drew Waller

FILM: “Kings of Summer”
DIRECTOR: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
TOWERS: 4 out of 5

“Kings of Summer” makes you walk out of the theater thinking, “Why didn’t I do that when I was a kid?” The “that” being referred to is running away fro home. Sure, we’ve all either thought or actually acted on the notion when your “insane” parents get the better of you, but doing so becomes a thing of fantasy. What do you do once you’re gone? Where do you go? Who do you turn to? “Kings of Summer” gives a best-/worst-case scenario that makes us all pine for those days when that was an actual option.

Insert suburban USA. Add teen angst and wanderlust. It’s a recipe for a great plotline. With basic “unknowns” taking the lead on this magical piece of nostalgia, these three boys wanting so longingly to be “men” make every one of us long for days gone by as we laugh heartily along the way. A darling at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, CBS Films smartly picked up this film and let the buzz of the outdoor excitement build as they stagger its release through the months to come.

The beauty of this film is that it doesn’t let the incredible seasoned comedic cast (Nick Offerman, Megan Mullaly, Mary Lynn Rajskub) kill the chemistry between these three boys wanting to divest from the rest of their world and be something more in the place they have “discovered” in the woods. There is such a wonderment in their eyes as they fantasize about living off the land that you wish you could be there with them. Newcomers Nick Robinson and Gabriel Basso do such a wonderful job of reminding the viewer of films reflecting on years past – such as “Stand By Me,” “The Breakfast Club” – that you wonder why they weren’t discovered prior to this. Each has their own pedigree in the realm of acting and this film should most surely help them add quality roles to it, but it’s nice to see this film as the “find” the director intended it to be.

The film understandably could have claimed “excellent” status, but the third actor in the trifecta was such a wonderful “foil” in this film – Moises Arias – and is such a great comedic anchor that he has a tendency to weigh down the film with his attempts at guffaw moments (they do work at times though, with his subtitled discourse with his onscreen father, which, in itself, is a slice of genius in its core of friendship loyalty that should be transcribed for the ages) that should appeal to a broader audience as predecessors like “Napoleon Dynamite” did with Pedro back in the day. Don’t let that dissuade you from the raw brilliance this modern “Lord of the Flies”-turned-funny film offers as it should be savored, much like the “hunt” of the wild over a open flame in the middle of the yet-to-be-determined woods would be for this cast of soon-to-be warriors of this teen era that will be remembered and cherished.

About the Author

Drew Waller
Drew Waller

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