Kings of Summer is the story of three boys who run off to the woods for a summer to live off the land. That set up could work equally well for science fiction (just add a crashed spaceship in a cave), mystery (they discover a body), horror (they discover lots of bodies), fantasy (there be elves and dragons in these woods), or homoerotic coming of age story (it’s really just about how the camera lingers). Or there’s the indie film route which involves the boys finding themselves.
Here’s the obligatory plot summary:
Premiering to rave reviews at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, THE KINGS OF SUMMER is a unique coming-of-age comedy about three teenage friends - Joe (Nick Robinson), Patrick (Gabriel Basso) and the eccentric and unpredictable Biaggio (Moises Arias) - who, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land. Free from their parents’ rules, their idyllic summer quickly becomes a test of friendship as each boy learns to appreciate the fact that family - whether it is the one you’re born into or the one you create - is something you can’t run away from.
I’d prefer it if they found aliens.
Amanda had a great miniature review of it at Sundance, when it was still called Toy’s House:
I don’t care for this one at all, which is a huge bummer as it’s been talked up as quite good. Nick Offerman glaring at things has kind of hit a plateau in my heart and the weird humor, while usually right up my alley isn’t upping my alley as much as it should. That young actor Nick Robinson is really sort of lazily beautiful in that way that doesn’t acknowledge the future. Youth and Beauty Brigade card carrying member.
Hmm, who to believe, the person paid to sell the movie, or the person who paid to see the movie? Decisions, decisions. Here’s the trailer, so you can make up your own mind before May 31 when it has a wide release:
Yep, I still want aliens. I’m sorry, I was the kid who when my parents took me camping, I would sit in the car and read a book. Then when they ordered me to get out of the car and enjoy nature, I’d sit on a rock and read a book. I neurotically obsessed over the fact that I was quite certain that we were at any moment less than thirty second removed from either a snake attack or the appearance of a marauding grizzly bear.
The funny thing is that I grew up to be someone who enjoys the outdoors, camping, et cetera. But as a kid? The boys in this film are the last sort I would ever have known. They would have terrified me. They are the sort of kids written by adults who like to think that this is what they were like as a child. I have no such illusions.