Movie Review: The Kings of Summer (2013)
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Written by: Chris Galletta
Running Time: 93 min.
Release Date: May 31, 2013
Nick Robinson as Joe
Gabriel Basso as Patrick
Moises Arias as Biaggio
Nick Offerman as Frank Toy
Megan Mullally as Mrs. Keenan
"The Kings of Summer" follows three teenage boys (Joe, Patrick, and Biaggio) who decide to exert their independence one summer by building their own house in the woods and embarking on a life apart from their parents. Joe Toy, the leader of the group, is having issues with his father. Having recently lost his mother, he finds that his father, Frank, is very impatient with his mischief-making and irresponsibility. When he forgets all of his tools outside, his father grounds him and gives him an excruciatingly early bedtime.
His best friend, Patrick, is literally allergic to his parents. He actually gets hives from being around his parents too long. Imagine if your parents were the biggest nerds on earth, and every day you had to tolerate their nerdy, goody two-shoes ways. That would be the Keenans.
Biaggio is the third part of this trio only by accident. He is a smaller-than-average teenage boy who is very much a misfit. His ears stick out, his nose is too big, and he's very strange. No one really knows who he is or where he comes from; he just appears out of nowhere and startles everyone.
Joe convinces Patrick to join him on his enterprise and Biaggio...well Biaggio just appears and stays. The boys pilfer supplies to build the house and spend each day constructing the house. Finally, when it is ready, they disappear from their family homes. When they are finally on their own, they find it exciting at first. No one is waking them up, making them do chores, or judging them. Difficulties do arise (finding food, for example), but they manage to find their own way and the three friends forge a strong bond.
But as will happen with so many friends, a girl gets in the way. Joe invites his crush to the house and in the end, she falls for Patrick. The two boys end up fighting over her and Joe finds himself in the house alone. Meanwhile, their parents and the police are trying to find the boys.
"The Kings of Summer" is a delightful, coming-of-age film. It premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews and will be released at the end of May. The writing and direction of the film show a lot of promise for newcomers Vogt-Roberts and Galletta. Helped along by seasoned actors (and real-life spouses) Offerman and Mullally, the film is a true delight. The younger actors are phenomenal and I'm sure we will be seeing more of them in the future.
NIck Robinson is perfect as Joe. His performance of an angry teen is actually understated and quite believable. Gabriel Basso (The Big C) may be a bit more experienced acting before the camera and gives a great performance as the ambivalent Patrick.
But the break-out star of the film has to be Moises Arias as Biaggio. I would think that casting this role would have been difficult but crucial to the success of the film. And they knocked it out of the park with Arias. Every time he is onscreen, he is captivating, funny, and delightful. The funniest parts of the film and the most touching parts of the film involve him. Arias has quite a bit of experience and is going to get noticed a lot more this year with the debut of this film and his two other roles in "Despicable Me 2" and the Harrison Ford feature film "Ender's Game" set for release in November.
I highly recommend checking out this light summer film. Sometimes it's nice to see a film that makes you feel hopeful about the world and this one is it. Check your local listings and support independent filmmakers.
Thanks for stopping by and getting buzzed. Let me know what you think of the film.