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The Kings of Summer (2013) Friday Night Movie Pick

The Kings of Summer is a coming-of-age comedy/drama about three teenage boys on a defiant summer quest. A film festival favorite with a limited theatrical release, it is now available on VOD.

This week is a special treat considering that the Friday Night Pick is usually a horror or a thriller. Today’s pick on the other hand, is a little more uplifting and more than a little funny. Without further ado, The Kings of Summer is this Friday’s movie of choice. If you haven’t seen this movie, I recommend you do as soon as possible.

The Kings of Summer 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 a coming of age tale that definitely feels reminiscent of Stand By Me, yet it’s innovative enough that the retelling is still relevant. It’s a story about friendships, intended (Joe and Patrick) or not (Biaggio), being a man and discovering what matters.

Kings of Summer
The Kings of Summer, 2013 ©CBS Films

This movie is simultaneously a critique on adolescence while sympathetic to its 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 at 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, The Kings of Summer is one of the most underrated comedies of the past couple years. Nick Offerman plays Joe’s father and his bit about wontons will have you in stitches. Another talking point for this film is Biaggio (Moises Arias), the strange kid that no one is really friends with but who just ends up being part of the group.  This character wouldn’t work if anyone other than Moises Arias was cast in the role. He perfectly portrays that loaner vibe and had me laughing throughout the whole movie. At the same time though, his character ends up wedging a way into your heart along with the other boys and it makes for a really endearing watch.

The score is worth mentioning as well as it is so well done. It conveys the feeling of young abandon, the hope of things to come and the sense that anything is possible. 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.

The Kings of Summer (2013)

Film Credits

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Writer: Chris Galletta
Stars: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Nick Offerman