Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

The Kings of Summer

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some teen drinking
Profanity:Very strong language used by teenagers and adults, sexual references
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references, some crude, kiss
Alcohol/Drugs:Teen and adult drinking, smoking
Violence/Scariness:Peril, snake
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:Jun3 7, 2013
DVD Release Date:September 24, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some teen drinking
Profanity: Very strong language used by teenagers and adults, sexual references
Nudity/Sex: Sexual references, some crude, kiss
Alcohol/Drugs: Teen and adult drinking, smoking
Violence/Scariness: Peril, snake
Diversity Issues: None
Movie Release Date: Jun3 7, 2013
DVD Release Date: September 24, 2013

kings_of_summer_posterWhen Mark Twain had Huck Finn leave the kind-hearted widow who hoped to “civilize” him to “light out for the territories,” he tapped into the dream of all teenagers and the teenagers inside all of us to escape from all rules and restrictions and create our lives from scratch.  Peter Pan and the Lost Boys had Neverland.  Baby boomers sang along with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young about “trying to get ourselves back to the garden.”  Every generation wishes for the simplicity and purity of the natural world.  In the wise, touching, and often wildly funny “The Kings of Summer,” three 15-year-olds follow their own call of the wild to run away from home and build a house in the woods. Their parents may see them as boys, but they want a place where they can define what it means to be men.

Advertisement

Nick Robinson, who perfected a look of exquisite pain at the humiliating behavior of his father in a brilliant series of Cox cable commercials, plays Joe Toy.  He lives with his widowed father, Frank (“Parks and Recreation’s” Nick Offerman in a witty and heartfelt performance).  Of course at that age, a parent does not have to do anything to be excruciatingly embarrassing.  It is bad enough that Frank actually exists, but he also has the nerve to tell Joe what to do.  Worse, he is dating someone, and worst of all he expects Joe to play a board game with her.  The horror!

Joe’s best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso), is smoldering with his own adolescent fury.  His parents say things like, “Rope in the attitude, mister” and just because his ankle is in a cast, they want him to be careful. How dare they!  “I’m happy to be where my parents are not,” he says.

Advertisement

Another kid named simply  Biaggio (the wonderfully oddball Moises Arias) wants to join them.  He does not have any special problem with his family.  He just “didn’t want to do nothing.”

Joe, Patrick, and Biaggio build their house in the woods.  They breathe the air of free men and rejoice in their liberation from all rules and conventions.  They vow “to boil our own water, kill our  own food, build our own shelter, be our own men.”  If foraging for food in the woods means a stop by the Boston Market across the highway from the forest, well, no one can argue with how good it tastes.

Advertisement

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts  and writer Chris Galletta bring a fresh and sympathetic eye to the story, evoking the pleasure of what feel — for a little while — like endless possibilities.   The film perfectly captures that liminal moment when teenagers live in the space between childhood and becoming an adult.  And they’re old enough to carry it off, at first.  They are young enough to be certain their parents are wrong about pretty much everything — and to be confident that they can do everything better.   The house is like something the Lost Boys might build for Peter Pan, with a stolen door from a port-a-potty for the entrance and essentials like a mailbox, a slide, a basketball hoop, and an air hockey table.As is often the case with boys of 15, they look like they are from three different planets.   Patrick is muscular and physically much more mature than the others and Biaggio could be 12.  Joe is somewhere in the middle.  Biaggio’s random and inscrutable pronouncements are amusingly accepted by the other two as if they made as much sense as anything else, or as if making sense did not matter.  And of course the most unexpected complication is when a girl comes through the port-a-potty door.

Advertisement

Like that other icon of the dream of escaping the oppression of civilization, Henry David Thoreau, the boys learn that there is a time to go to the woods, and a time to come home.

Parents should know that this movie has very strong and crude language and teen drinking and smoking.

Family discussion:  What was the most important thing Joe learned?  What about Frank?  What would you bring to a house in the woods?

If you like this, try:  “Stand By Me”

 

Previous Posts

Celebrate Lincoln's Birthday With Great Movies About the 16th President
Happy birthday, Abraham Lincoln! Celebrate the birthday of our 16th President with some of the classic movies about his life. Reportedly, he has been portrayed more on screen than any other real-life character.  I was honored to be ...

posted 3:20:05pm Feb. 12, 2016 | read full post »

Rogerebert.com Critics Pay Tribute to Monkey Movies and Argue About Spoilers
My friends at Rogerebert.com saluted the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Monkey with our favorite monkey movies, and ended up arguing about spoilers! ...

posted 11:31:02am Feb. 12, 2016 | read full post »

Trailer: "Criminal" with Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, and Ryan Reynolds
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNfRQ4NBjUU[/youtube] ...

posted 8:01:22am Feb. 12, 2016 | read full post »

How to be Single
Drew Barrymore -- you know I love you but how does your Flower Films production company produce a film about female friendship and empowerment that barely passes the Bechdel test? And did we really need a thinly disguised remake of "He's ...

posted 5:40:06pm Feb. 11, 2016 | read full post »

Zoolander 2
Kind of like fashion itself, we don't really care whether "Zoolander 2" is any good. We go because it is silly fun. The original Zoolander, ...

posted 5:22:04pm Feb. 11, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.