Movie Review: Kings of Summer by Jason Burleson

Kings of Summer PosterBeing a child of the 80s, the entire span of my early life can be told by the great movies that came out in that decade. They are classics. Back to the Future, Goonies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off… I could keep going, but you get the idea.  There is something about those movies that inspire the youth of the audiences they are made for. Even now, when I watch movies as an adult, I continue to compare the movies I saw then to the ones I see now as a grown up.  Did they inspire me after I left the theater? How did they really make me feel?  I think it really boils down to this. Every kid wants an adventure, but very few films touch on the sense of adventure you feel as organically as the ones you felt watching a film as a child.

Kings of Summer is a film that may have been able to do just that. This film is truly an insightful story of rebellion in the form of dramatic comedy.  The film follows Joe Toy, a young teenager in high school dealing with some hard times.  Family disruption, summer love, and, I think the most unfortunate, boredom.  Most importantly, Joe (Nick Robinson, Boardwalk Empire) is an independent person and is struggling to prove this to his over controlling and sarcastic father, Frank (Nick Offerman, Parks and Rec).  His father at the best of times is difficult to get along with and eventually the two reach a point where Joe can no longer deal with the continuous ear dragging.  How does Joe solve this problem? Like any sane teenager, he decides to build himself a fort out in the woods.

Kings of SummerJoe decides to bring along a few friends as well.  He is accompanied by his best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso, Super 8). The two appear to be inseparable but are historically driven by Joe’s sense of adventure and mischief throughout their relationship.  While at a party, they meet a very unique individual named Biaggio (Moises Arias, Hannah Montana).  Although Biaggio is first seen as that strange kid who eats glue in kindergarten, the three form a strong bond over the romantic desire for summertime adventure and classic independence.  Together they build this house in the woods using random parts from around their community and set out to find their freedom.  The whole time, of course, without their parents’ consent.

I found Kings of Summer to be an endless amount of creative genius.  As I said before, I love 80s films and this movie seems to really grab that feeling and run with it until it’s literally lost out in the woods.  The script is incredibly funny, full of sarcastic one liners from both Joe and his dad Frank.  The story line is completely refreshing as well.  The film is easy to follow and continuously reminiscent, leaving you remembering how amazing it was to grow up and learn from all the stupid mistakes you yourself made.

947106_645622812129804_1021244566_nJoe is not perfect, in fact, throughout most of the movie you’ll probably want to grab him and shake him, but by the end, he’s either you or someone you grew up with.  This makes his character incredibly relatable.  The cinematography and sound are for lack of a better word, savage.  You’ll feel inspired watching these kids embark on their journey to find freedom and liberate themselves from responsibilities. One of my favorite parts of this film is the character Biaggio.  As most of Moises Arias’ experience in the film industry is limited to the Disney channel, he does an amazing job presenting this character. He’s extremely weird, but he’ll stuff the laughter down your throat.

If you are a fan of the film Stand by Me you will probably enjoy this film because there are some remarkable similarities.  It has been a long time since I saw a film this good.  Trust me. Kings of Summer is a film you’ll want to see this summer.

I give Kings of Summer 5 “monopoly pieces “out of 5.

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by Jason Burleson

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