Kings of Summer: A Movie Review

The phase between puberty and pre-adolescence can be unpleasant. You fall in love and soon enough you find yourself falling out of it. One day, you can’t imagine not having your parents around and in some you can’t imagine having to spend another minute with them. It’s an awkward stage of mismanaged facial (including but not limited to) hair, raging hormones and day-to-day parental warfare. It’s in these turbulent times that the goths and emo’s are born. Because when the going gets rough, you can always turn to some black lipstick and body piercings for comfort. But Joe has an even better idea. Why don’t we just screw it and get lost into the forest!

At some point, we have all thought of it. Absolutely. I mean, why do we have to waste our time keeping up with everyone’s crap when we can escape it all and build a house in the middle of nowhere, instead? Not to mention hunting our own food like it’s 2012 …B.C. right? Running away seems impractical, yes, but when mixed with teens running into the woods (possible Texas Chainsaw Massacre turn of events, perhaps? You feel me?) then you’ll have an interesting plot coming for you. Add to that a budding triangle between the protagonist, a super-cool drumming showdown, the freakiest side character (seriously, what’s with Biaggio) and just the right amount of teen spirit and you get Kings of Summer.

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Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, this American coming-of-age film is Stand By Me meets The Inbetweeners movie. The story follows three boys Joe Toy (Nick Robinson), his bestfriend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) and a random kid Biaggio (Moisés Arias) as they venture out into the unknown with nothing but a backpack on their backs. They try to figure out a life without the comforts of home, thirsty for adventure and just sick of their lame, mundane lives. Or maybe being killed by a rattlesnake in the wild seems so much better than seeing their folk’s faces. The idea is absurd, but who isn’t at that age?

They build their own shack, a mash-up of anything from broken wooden panels to just about anything they can scavenge for themselves. The film is fun, warm and light-spirited and is a reflection of every teen’s frustrations in coping with the lives of the people around them, not to mention their own. But what started as the sweetest escape suddenly took a sour turn which was initiated by Joe when he broke their sacred oath of not telling anyone their whereabouts and invited his crush Kelly (Erin Moriarty) into their humble abode. Tension builds up as Kelly takes a liking for Patrick instead, breaking Joe’s heart and putting their friendship on the edge.

Behold, the shack.

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But as coming-of-age films go, things eventually work themselves out and soon Patrick and Joe find out that although their friendship has been tainted, it is not so easily broken. Not even by a hot blond chick with the perfect smile. It’s pleasantly enjoyable. At times, I feel myself in awe at the breathtaking scenery of this film and suddenly crack up to one of Biaggio’s crazy stints. It feels like a Wes Anderson film without the filter.

After watching this film, you’d soon find yourself longing for that summer, that tiny fragment of our lives where we were as clueless as how things will never be the same once it all ends.

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By the way, this scene is classic.

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