Archive – THE KINGS OF SUMMER: Is that a monarchy or an oligarchy, then?

WARNING: This is a post from my high school blog. I cannot vouch for its quality but I wanted to give people an idea of how my writing has developed over the years. Yes, I’m padding my site.

Dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Wr. Chris Galletta
Prod. Tyler Davidson, John Hodges, Peter Saraf
Str. Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moisés Arias

I thought I knew exactly what I was getting into when I pressed play on The Kings of Summer, and actually, for the most part, I got what I was expecting. But fortunately, that expectation was a reasonably high one, and it was satisfied, while also coming with some nice surprises along the way. 

The movie follows the adventures of three high-school boys attempting to live off the land in the woods during the summer. They form a mystical, tribal bond with one another and challenge the wilderness with their rudimentary skills.

This is the first movie from Vogt-Roberts. He’s got a resume in web series and skits, and that shows here with the quirky sense of humor underlying the whole piece. That’s one of the movie’s unexpected bonuses, as I walked in thinking it was mostly a drama. In the end it is mostly earnest, and V-R directs with a hyper-photographic way. I’m talking lots of lens flare, sparkly eyes, and close-up profiles against sunsets. It’s beautiful, and the addition of the humor makes a charming, witty indie-treat.

Nick Offerman of TV’s Parks and Recreation makes a great show here as the father of our main protagonist, played by Robinson. Both play off of each other well, as Offerman plays a genuine a**hole here as opposed to his much loved character on Parks and Rec., Ron Swanson. However, the credit must go to Robinson, as he really manages to carry the movie along with his pubescent cohorts,  Gabriel Basso and Moisés Arias. The three’s friendship feels genuine in every scene, despite some of the character choices to not always feel genuine. Arias’s character, Biaggio, is exceptionally weird and it occasionally comes off as artificial, rather than him just being depicted as an outsider like the rest. If we peel further into the acting in this movie, the meatiest meat is between Robinson and Basso, as they end up vying for the heart of a hip, attractive girl played by Erin Moriarty. The two show a juvenile friendship that is tested by pride and ignorance, then ultimately proven to be strong.Chris Galletta’s script is perhaps the weirdest part of the movie, as it jumps back and forth from being uniquely poetic to being criminally derivative. We get some hilarious, interesting conversations about Monopoly and Boston Market, but then we have to sit through a forced climax that substitutes action with the rest of the movie’s character-driven circumstances.It’s a simple movie, so I don’t have to comment, and really I would just say that if you enjoy the current sweep of warm, independent, coming-of-age comedy-dramas, go for it. It’s an hour and a half not wasted if you do.

Thanks for reading this quick chat with myself on The Kings of Summer.

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