Movie Review: The Kings of Summer

Movie Review: The Kings of Summer

I wanted to make this my Friday Night Movie Recommendation but I have something else lined up and I just couldn’t wait until next week so you now have two movie recommendations for this week. Lucky you! And they are both top notch.

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I know I usually recommend/review horror movies and I did watch a horror movie this week that I will be reviewing but it just felt too heavy for today. Today I wanted to write a post about an uplifting movie, so The Kings of Summer it is. If you haven’t seen this movie, I recommend you do as soon as possible.

This movie is about a boy named Joe (Nick Robinson) who is unsatisfied with his home life and he decides to go live in the woods with two of his friends, Patrick (Gabriel Basso) and Biaggio (Moises Arias). They don’t tell anyone where they’re going, they build themselves a house, make their own rules and do whatever they want. It’s the coming of age tale that we’ve heard before; it definitely feels reminiscent of Stand By Me. Yet. it is innovative enough that that the retelling is still relevant. It’s a story about friendships, intended (Joe and Patrick) or not (Biaggio), and self discovery.

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The Kings of Summer is simultaneously a critique on adolescents and it’s sympathetic to their plight. On one hand, these teens have loving (too loving in Patrick’s case) homes, with everything that they need and they are still discontent with their lives. It’s a commentary on how we have somehow developed into a culture where we can’t appreciate anything that we have. On the other hand, what is wrong with wanting more?  Why can’t we demand more from our lives and strike out on our own path when we aren’t getting the mental stimulation that we crave? It’s an interesting balancing act and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts does an impeccable job toeing this line. The audience never completely agrees with the boys, especially when you see how their families are suffering, but there’s still a sense of envy towards their bold choices and the way they’ve taken control of their lives, even for the short amount of time that they do.

On a lighter note, I find this movie hilarious. Nick Offerman plays Joe’s father and his bit about wontons kills me. It’s on YouTube (what isn’t?) so here it is for you to check out:

Also, Biaggio is the funniest character of life. This character wouldn’t work if anyone other than Moises Arias was cast in the role. He perfectly portrays the strange kid that just tags along and somehow becomes a member of the gang. I found another video of his comic genius but I’d only recommend you watch it if you’ve already seen the movie. These parts make more sense in context and they give away quiet a bit of the plot.

The score is also perfect. It conveys the feeling of young abandon, the hope of things to come and the sense that anything is possible. I’m not a huge soundtrack aficionado (I’ll have to ask Emma at emmakwall (explains it all)) but the music in this film really struck a cord (pun intended) for me.

Overall, I would highly recommend this film. It’s a coming of age comedy with a big heart and it is well worth the watch. Let me know what you think if you give it a try.

Apparently, this whole movie is on YouTube so you can check it out here:

It’s also available on Netflix (at least Canadian Netflix) so if you just want to check out the trailer, here it is:

PS – Monopoly is the destroyer of lives.

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12 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Kings of Summer

      1. I know this will sound funny, but I really liked him on “Melissa & Joey”. Actually, that’s all I’ve seen of him. I didn’t know he had done any movies until I read your Jurassic World review. M&J has that 80’s/90’s sitcom vibe that I like. Aside from Modern Family and Big Bang Theory, there really aren’t very many funny sitcoms out right now.

        Anyway, I hope Nick doesn’t go Starry Eyes in the future to be a big star; he probably has the talent. I hope he has the strength to make the right choice. He seems like a nice kid.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Okay, I just finished it. I thought it was good. Far better to me than “The Way, Way Back” that so many were raving about. It had some really funny moments and contributed to the “coming of age” genre instead of merely recycling and imitating. Nick Robinson has great charisma and is a decent actor, as well. I liked the girl’s yellow shirt he wore when the guys stole his shirt at the beginning. lol. Good recommendation! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Also not sure that this is my type of movie, I’m not much for movies with a positive (remotely, or otherwise) message. That said, the won ton clip is great and makes me think this movie is actually about an older version of me as the dad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s hilarious! I love that clip so much. The rest of the movie has a similar tone, although it is upbeat at points. I still think you should give it a try if you’ve got the time. If you do watch it and you hate it, I apologize in advance

      Liked by 1 person

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