The Kings of Summer

Rated: R

        I’d like to tell you about a little film that made a big splash on the 2013 film festival circuit, The Kings of Summer. Once again, this is one of those films that I caught the trailer for while watching something else. There were a couple of things about it that drew my attention and hooked me into watching it. The first was the cast. While the main characters certainly aren’t big names (yet), the supporting roles included the likes of Nick Offerman, Allison Brie, Megan Mullally and Craig Cackowski. The second major thing that drew me to this film was the story, (which I’ll fully get into in a moment). There was something magical and rather reminiscent about it. I think having grown up in and around the woods of Maine and New Hampshire it touched me in a way that it may not touch somebody who grew up in a more urban environment, such as Boston or New York. Although there’s nothing I’d call mysterious about this film, I’m just not sure that people from big cities would quite get it.
The Kings of Summer is the tale of Joe, Patrick and Biaggio. The boy’s relationships with their families are strained, at best, as each tries to find his place in life. One afternoon, while exploring the local woods, they happen upon a perfect clearing. The friends decide to secretly build a house there and live their lives off the land, away from the prying and stifling eyes of their families. It becomes the ultimate act of defiance, while at the same time becoming the ultimate test for each of them.
        I think first time screen writer Chris Galletta and first time director Jordan Vogt-Roberts hit a home run with this one. I mean, how many of us (the ones who grew up near woods at least) have imagined doing exactly what the boys in this movie do? I can’t tell you how many times as a kid I’d go into the woods, exploring for hours, pretending to be lost and having to live off the land, only to have my bubble burst when it started to get dark and I’d have to go home. Granted I didn’t have much for survival skills at the time, so (although I did try) I never got a fire going rubbing sticks together, I didn’t know what was safe to eat (besides blackberries and the like) and I had no idea how to properly build anything. But all of that didn’t stop me from at least pretending. To me, things like that are what the lazy days of summer are all about.
         That’s why
The Kings of Summer struck such a cord with me. Because I may now be an adult and have responsibilities, but it’s still nice to at least imagine what it would be like to dive off the grid and hide in the woods, at least for a little while. Maybe that’s why I love camping so much!
        So to any of you out there that used to enjoy similar activities as kids, or just wished with all of your heart that you could, this movie is for you!

The Kings of Summer is rated R, was written by Chris Galletta, was directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and stars Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias and Nick Offerman. Its available now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.