The Kings of Summer (2013) - The Kings of Summer (2013) - User Reviews - IMDb
The Kings of Summer (2013) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
124 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
It starts off slowly but is worth your time.
MartinHafer16 October 2013
"The Kings of Summer" is a film you need to accept on its own terms. It's not a Hollywood production, it has a relatively low budget and it has a few plot problems. Sure, the characters might not be 100% believable or even really that likable--but, if you sit back and watch it with modest expectations, you'll find the good easily outweighs the bad.

The film is about two disaffected teens. Both hate it at home and they want to get out...but how? When one comes up with an insane plan to move into the woods and build their own shack, the other, reluctantly comes along for the plan. There is a third--and that kid, Biaggio, is a real cipher. He's bizarre and in the film mostly for comic relief--though I found myself liking him the best of the three. But when he disappears, no one seems to notice...he's that sort of a kid. But the two main characters are initially happy and their running away seems to be working out least for a time.

Overall, this is a film that folks who only enjoy traditional movies will probably NOT like very much. As for me, I have a higher than normal tolerance for the unusual and found a lot of nice performances and moments in the film. Worth seeing and clever.
58 out of 68 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A comedy, with all the right mixes of emotion.
JustinBell418 February 2013
Toy's House was an interesting film following what most teenage kids wish...A kid who finally breaks free from his parents control. Joe Toy and his friend Patrick get fed up with their parents and decide to build a house in the woods to live in.

I really enjoyed this movie. It seemed to have the right mix of comedy and drama to keep you engaged the whole movie. Watching a couple of teenage boys try and survive in the woods was a lot of fun, and Nick Offerman as Joe's dad was a lot of fun as well. The biggest thing to note, is that while this is billed as a comedy, it was definitely more than that. The emotional aspect of this movie was everything you come to expect from a movie that has to sale itself with a great story, like most films at Sundance, which made it all that more fun.
73 out of 96 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A fantastic coming of age comedy
jibson8928 April 2013
Debut feature director Jordan Vogt-Roberts' Kings of Summer (née Toy's House) is a coming of age story of 2 best friends who decide to build a house in the woods to escape their families and their enigmatic friend Biaggio who accompanies them.

The three kids give great performances and all seem so natural in their characters; Moises Arias is exceptionally funny as the oddball Biaggio. I caught the third ever showing at Sundance London followed by a director's Q&A and he remarked that many moments are just the kid's messing around and sometimes unaware they are being filmed. The montage scene of the kids playing in the woods and banging on the pipe that opens the film was filmed all in one day with just the kids, the D.P and director and is so naturally the sort of nonsense a group of teenagers would get up to.

An amazing supporting cast including the always wonderful Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Megan Mullally and Mary Lynn Rajskub perfectly deliver the material; it's an impressive cast for such a small film.

Début writer Chris Galletta delivered a cracking script that delivers on the laughs and also has some strong emotional moments as the boys inevitably fallout over a girl and we see the kid's fractious relationship with their parents.

A great mix of classic coming of age tales such as Stand By Me and the indie comedies of recent times that hits the comedic and dramatic notes without ever being saccharine, annoyingly quirky or overly morbid as so many indie comedies fall into.

I highly recommend the film; it will transport you back to your terrible but wonderful teenage years and is genuinely hilarious, I can't imagine a single person not loving this film.

Rating- 8/10
65 out of 95 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Nice film
tr919 September 2013
'The Kings of Summer' was a nice coming-of-age film about 3 teenage boys who want independence so decide to build a house in the woods away from the real world.

I really like the plot and the actors all done a very good job. The 3 boys were believable and extremely likable. The supporting cast were also very good. The house they build looks brilliant. The story is a lot about friendship which is really nice. There was some moments that made you smile but it wasn't overly funny, I would class it as more of a drama film.

Overall it was an enjoyable film, a really meaningful story which is easy to relate to. Definitely worth a watch if you want something to cheer you up.

29 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
If you loved Stand By Me… This is for you. Moises Arias steals the show!!!
e-pappalettera10 September 2013
Three unhappy teenagers run away from the sophisticated city life and take refuge in nature, where they plan to build a makeshift home and live off the land, to finally be masters of their own destiny. Once you arrive at your destination, you make it reality, however, realize that the wild is much tougher as the imagined.

Biaggio (Moises Arias), the very rare embodiment of social awkwardness and complete and total lack of personal sophistication teenager, that invokes a combination of amazement, bewilderment, and pity simultaneously from the common viewer. It's a role that cannot be explained...only watched. He is quite possibly one of the best comedic performances I have ever seen a young performer give. It's a wonderfully bizarre role that fully encompasses both the awkwardness and the sincerity of a social misfit. The role is so over-the-top that it's amazing that Arias can make it look so natural and genuine. His acting was spot on and absolutely hilarious. Loved it!
52 out of 77 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A coming of age film for our generation
estebangonzalez1017 September 2013
"Why live when you can rule."

There have been several coming of age films that have been released over the years, but very few have actually stuck with me. The Kings of Summer is one of those few movies that appealed to me and had me emotionally involved with the characters. First time director Jordan Vogt- Roberts takes us through a range of emotions from nostalgic and heart breaking moments to laugh out loud buddy moments. It lives up to the standard of other great coming of age tales like Stand By Me. There is something about a group of young teens exploring the woods and their transition to adulthood that simply appeals to me. The scenery was also breathtaking and I absolutely fell in love with those woods. I could see what was so appealing for these kids and their need to feel independent. It does have that sort of familiar indie vibe to it, but thanks to some great performances the movie stands out above most of them. Moises Arias had me laughing throughout the entire movie playing this quirky character that reminded me a lot of Fogell in Superbad. His comedic timing was perfect and he had the funniest lines in the film. The screenplay by first timer Chris Galletta was also really well developed. I will be looking forward to his next work because his script made it easy to go through such different ranges of emotions. This film felt like a simple sweet feel good movie and it is one that I would recommend to my friends especially if they love the woods.

Joe (Nick Robinson) has just finished his freshman year in High School and isn't looking forward to spending his Summer with his widowed father Frank (Neil Offerman) who makes his life miserable just because he's miserable. His best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) doesn't enjoy living with his parents any better. His parents (played by Marc Evan Jackson and Megan Mullally) are over protective and seem to want to manage every single detail of his life. Not wanting to spend their entire summers abiding by their parents rules the two kids decide to run away and build their own home in the nearby woods and survive in the wild by hunting and gathering food. This way they can be free to do what they want and make their own rules. Joe and Patrick also bring along a strange friend named Biaggio (Moises Arias). The three seem to be having the time of their lives without anyone telling them what to do and having guests over whenever they want to until a girl named Kelly (Erin Moriarty) gets in the way of their friendship and disrupts the balance of their kingdom.

The Kings of Summer works thanks to some great performances from the trio of friends who bring a sense of nostalgia to the viewers' senses simply by playing and running around in the woods with swords and sticks. Those unscripted moments in which the kids simply goof around with one another are the best. Arias is really hilarious and he seems to steal every scene here. Robinson also gives a strange performance in the lead role. The film is easy going with likable characters and some wonderful cinematography. It is just great to look at and it completely surprised me at times with some of the turns the story took. It wasn't one of those predictable coming of age films and I really had a fun time. I wouldn't be surprised if The Kings of Summer ends up in many peoples' top 10 list at the end of the year because it is a crowd pleaser.
26 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Sweet and...independent.
Kyleeeeeeeeeeeeeee22 July 2014
If you are looking for a heart-filled independent film, then this is the right choice for you. This film has a lot of heart put into it, which makes its characters more likable, interesting, and funny. The humor has this old-fashioned vibe to it, making this film great for adults (props to the soundtrack for some awesome retro-gaming like music) Now, do I think the humor stands out as much as the story? Not really, but that's not a bad thing. A comedy's story is usually very weak so that only makes this comedy stronger. Also, the likable cast also leads to some great humor. You want to see these kids succeed in building their own home in the forest and its very enjoyable to watch. A great cast (Moises Arias as an oddball weirdo was an awesomely funny choice), good humor, and a great heart is what a comedy should be made of. The Kings of Summer definitely rules.
12 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Remarkably Recommended and Meaningful
democratic-pizza6 October 2013
First off, I'd like to say that this is my first ever movie review. I'd been prolonging until I find a non-blockbuster movie that can really caught me deeply and The Kings of Summer happened to be the one.

The acting in this movie is basically original, starring Nick Robinson who played Joe perfectly well as a fifteen year-old desperately wanting to get out of his dad's house under his rules just like a typical teenager. Then there's his best friend, Gabriel Basso who played as Patrick who loves his parents but also desperately wanting to get out of their house because of how their parents treat him as a child. Moises Arias as Biaggio, who I think really suits for the role of a physically small friend of both of them who appeared out of nowhere and could really get things funny because he's that lovable and warm. Joe's dad, Nick Offerman as Frank, played a great grumpy father who gets mad and cranky easily in this movie and then there's Erin Moriarty as Kelly, which plays the girl who Joe had a crush on.

The movie at first started just like any ordinary drama movie, but the various shots and angles made it look pretty smart in the beginning. As you watch longer, the movie started getting interesting to where it's going, although you can really guess what will happen next. The Kings of Summer with its "Into The Wild" theme is packed with humor and a bunch of emotional feeling will be involved throughout the movie. Another plus point for this movie is the selection of songs in the background or soundtracks, how each song suits perfectly well based on the actions the characters were doing which really built up my point of view towards the movie.

What caught me the most is how the movie is directed and made it as if he really wants us to feel to be like each one of the character involved there. The shots on the scenery and "wild" views in the forest really succeeded on making me re-think and went deeper about how there's more to the movie than what I've actually seen. The movie does have some really cliché teenager scenes, however, I like how it stays original and remain unpretentious by showing that there's a big chance that conflicts may happen between friends and families but then in the end you will always come back to them, by not having all the cheesy fights nor a corny truce. It sticks to reality and shows people that it is truly what it is.

Not considering how old you are, I really recommend you to watch this movie with anyone for you're about to feel that youth blood pumping down your streams and actually get something out of it. Praise for Jordan Vogt-Roberts for making this movie as perfect, my eyes were glistening right at the very last scene of the movie and at the same time drawing a smile on my face.
27 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A must see for young teens & parents. The kid that plays Biaggio really steals the movie and is so much fun to watch. I say A
cosmo_tiger23 September 2013
"We do swear, under pain of friendship lost, to never speak of this enterprise to any adults; to never betray its location or its participants." Joe (Robinson) and Patrick (Basso) both hate their lives at home. Living with over bearing parents are making them crazy and when they are pushed too far they decide to move out. The find a place in the middle of the woods and build their own house. The two of them along with a young boy who they are afraid to tell to go away start off on a experience that effects each one differently. This is an example of a movie where the trailer doesn't do the movie justice. This is an excellent and must see movie for all teenagers for a few reasons. One is because it shows that their parents aren't as bad as they seem compared to these. I could go on and on about this but the best way to describe this is a Stand By Me for a new generation. This is is movie that just needs to be seen rather then read about. Also the kid that plays Biaggio really steals the movie and is so much fun to watch. Overall, a must see for young teens and parents. I highly recommend. I easily give it an A.
19 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Potentially interesting concept, poor execution
mitchdumpy8 September 2013
The concept of this story has merit, however the execution is well off the mark in all respects.

The story progression seems extremely rushed, partly due to the amount of unnecessary scenes and dialogue that have been afforded to cameo characters at various points. Some of the dialogue has comedic value, but for the most it's just basic.

I think more time needed to be given to develop the main characters and to develop the plot, rather than to random scenes which hold no real relevance to either.

The cosmetics which help keep everything believable were ignored in some respects. Simple things, like how do they store their shop bought chickens without refrigeration, where did they pull architect designs for their house from, why were there fireworks going off in the middle of the bush at night in the swimming scenes, was it necessary for the almost pre-pubescent boys to sprout obviously fake beards and random violin playing in the middle of the forest?

Oh and for those who compared this to Stand by me. Stand by me is far, far, far better than this movie.
46 out of 77 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A perfect film in my mind
sneakysnacks17 October 2013
I love coming of age movies and I love to laugh. In my 17 years I have never seen a movie that has appealed to me so entirely. You can't go into this expecting anything too serious, I think that is the issue that most negative reviewers had. While there are some significant themes here, Kings of Summer is not The Shawshank Redemption. This is not because it fails as a movie, but because it does not try to be anything more than what it is. This is a film that is meant to be a humorous look into the lives of a couple of teenagers. I think there is a tendency among many "movie-nuts" to believe that the only good movies are those that depress you or involve some very dark themes. I guess what I am saying is to go in with an open mind, and just enjoy yourself. Anyone who doesn't feel a bit better leaving this movie than when entering it is obviously trying too hard to be critical. Let go, have a laugh, join the three Kings of Summer.
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Kind Of A Failure Of A Coming Of Age Film
TheFilmGuy118 June 2014
I really like coming of age films. Being a young adult at the time or writing this review, I can relate to them. It talks about growing up and how it can be tough. But sadly, this film was a mess for me.

At times, it tries to be a comedy, but feels kind of awkward. It almost comes across as a movie that could have been PG rated or even a kids movie, but throws in the F-bomb every now and then. The humour sometimes worked, because I had a few laughs, but it mostly came across as boring and stale. Other times the movie tries to be serious. There's a situation at the end that tries to be dramatic, but because of the weird tone of the film, I just don't feel it. It also includes moments that almost feel like it's trying to be an artsy independent film, or even a Terrence Malick film, because there's scenes where we see wildlife and people walking in fields. None of this works for me.

The performances by the kids were... interesting. The two main kids are good, but the one weird Italian kid did not work. He was trying to be comedic relief but he was an unoriginal stupid character. Nick Offerman plays one of the characters fathers, and honestly, I don't completely understand his appeal. He always plays the sarcastic guy, and it sometimes works in other films and even this one, but it just doesn't allow you to connect to his character, which I feel the film wanted you to do.

I really wanted this to be good, because it seemed interesting, but in the end it felt like a weird and cheesy kids movie that happens to have some swearing. I wouldn't recommend it. Maybe if I rewatched it another time, it might click, but I just didn't get that this time around.
18 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Kings of Summer was a nice try. It had excellent cinematography , few fun-filled moments but weak screenplay and story-line makes strictly one-time watch
ketgup8319 September 2013
Movies like Into the Wild , 127 hours , The Motorcycle Diaries are based on living your life with full freedom. When you are caged in a house or walking down in somebody's shoes, an aggression will come over you and a force will drive you to explore a place to find peace.

Kings of Summer tells the story of 3 teenagers who are pressurized, dominated and caged by their family. During summer, they decide to build a house and create their own set of rules allowing them to live completely in freedom.

As first time director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts does a fine job in choosing a run-of-mill story and explore the beauty of nature. However it is the weak screenplay and story writing that serves no purpose to watch the film. True the film begins with a positive notes but ends on a shaky ground confusing with any particular message in the end. The camera work is the highlight of the film and genre of the film falls from being a comedy into serious drama. Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias were outstanding and astonishing playing their part with conviction. Background score gels well with the movement of the film.

Overall, Kings of Summer was a nice try. It had excellent cinematography , few fun-filled moments but weak screenplay and story-line makes strictly one-time watch. Decent 2.5/5

Join me on to get Hollywood/Bollywood movie reviews
10 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Budget and talent but no ideas
FreakNumberOne2 January 2014
Never trust a movie with more than two intro sequences, it's a sign of desperation.

This movie has many of the elements of a good film, but can't decide how to assemble them. The supporting talent is excellent, but the leads are so so. Photography is competent and attractive, but would be more at home in a commercial or a music video than a coming of age comedy. Though out of place photography is just a symptom of the film's overall uneven tone.

At times a contemplative artistic study, at others a screwball comedy, the one tone keeps the other from sticking. The film's identity crisis at times makes it seem like it's 30% filler material. One completely out of place scene cuts from the standard narrative perspective to a fantasy sequence of a girl blowing up a truck and then back. Are we suddenly seeing, the protagonist, Joe's thoughts? Is that a part of this film's style now? Don't worry, it's the one and only time it'll ever happen.

And then there's dramatic investment. Should I have been worried when Joe was alone in the woods? When he's a 6 minute walk from a road and a Boston Market? Personally I didn't believe for a moment that these kids could have built that house, scavenged the materials, had the patience or skill to assemble it, or that they ever would have stayed in it for more than 2 nights. The premise, that they would live there for good, was never believable even for a moment; at most a month, or until it became uncomfortable. Where is the peril? Where is the risk?

It's very clear after the first thirty minutes that the film had completely run out of ideas. We see long sequences of pretty DSLR footage inter-cut with a couple days of the cast and crew messing around with an expensive slow motion camera. By the final sequence in the hospital I was begging this film to end. We had been four steps ahead of it since the second introductory sequence and by the third we had lapped it.

The movie is made watchable by Funny Or Die veterans Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Kumail Nanjiani, as well as by a show stealing performance by Moises Arias, though we never really know who his character is. He remains two-dimensional throughout, a sitcom style "breakout" character whose every action represents the writer directly asking the audience 'isn't this guy wacky?'.

Not to give anything away, but in the movie's finale the main character seems to claim that he knows about a certain subject, but then does all the worst things that he could possibly do while dealing with that subject. Ten minutes on Wikipedia could have shown the filmmakers what he should have done in the situation. It's sort of baffling, and adds to a particular tone that this film already dripped with; that is was made by entitled, insulated film students seeking artistic approval.

I wish them all luck in their future endeavors. I hope all of their next projects suit their personal styles a bit better.
12 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Frustratingly Disappointing.
DexIMF14 October 2013
A self-conscious cartoonish movie that knows its reason and purpose for being cartoonish isn't as frustrating watch as a movie that has strong ideas going for it, but completely goes off the rails, and still maintains the smugness of being serious and better. This film is the latter. A poorly thought-out screenplay which is never sure about its characters and doesn't ever develop a point. These characters couldn't have been more under-developed, and amateur performance by leads doesn't help either. The visual style comes up without serving a purpose, and is distracting and shallow. The problem here is the writer and the director's manipulation. They artificially set situation for our "adventurous" teenage leads to angrily leave their homes, looking for an escape into nature. They treat these characters as derivatives of Christopher McCandless. How insulting for that great man! Before you even notice, this faux-self-discovery film turns into a teenage romantic melodrama that puts even the most idiotic rom-coms of Bollywood to shame. The film is under a delusion that it has earned its seriousness, that its characters have been on a self-discovering journey, profoundly changing their lives or perspectives. Nope. That isn't the case.

P.S. An extra half star for using a "Youth Lagoon" song for end-credits. That guy deserves more recognition, but in better films.
16 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Mediocre movie without any surprise elements
luyckxb8 September 2013
Acting: ranging from awkward to mediocre.

Story: it has key elements of growing pains but that's about it. No twisted plot, no surprise elements, nothing but the obvious.

Script and editing: timing in most of the scenes is completely off, due to the inexperience of mainly the lead actor and his inability to make it all believable. He even smiles at moments where he shouldn't. He's not a 5 year old now is he? This could not be saved by some clever editing apparently, which is lacking throughout most of the movie anyway.

A small part of the budget seems to have went to filming this and a larger part must have been put into good use by influencing the IMDb score because it certainly ain't worth a 7.x/10!

I gave it a 5/10 because it's a comedy that made me laugh once. Which is usually one time more than most non-animated comedies. It's a movie I couldn't even remember the title of the day after. Seen it, warning people about it, moving on. Still, making a movie and bringing it to theaters takes effort so there you go, 5/10.
24 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Decent but nothing special
RTTerry29 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Kings of Summer brought a smile to my face a few times, but I was expecting more and when I left the theater feeling as though it could have been much better.

The first half of the movie was good. The setup was done well, the interaction with the families and friends was entertaining, but then once the boys moved into the forest, the film drags until everyone is reunited in the hospital.

One of the issues with the film was buying into the notion that the boys managed to build the house depicted, in a matter of a week or two. The house should have been a shack at best, instead of a two story, multi-room structure, framed by 4x4 beams, partial sheet metal and plywood siding and roof, furniture inside and out, AND a slide staircase! No one is buying that. For as 'remote' a setting as this is supposed to be, we are expected to believe that these three kids somehow hand-carried several tons worth of metal and wood through a dense forest, not to mention furniture, and then threw it all together seemingly overnight? If it was intended to be something we could believe in, have the kids buy and set up a three room tent and then add a lean-to onto it–that I would have accepted. Once the guys moved in, the movie really had nowhere else to go and we are left waiting, and waiting, and waiting for something to happen, other than where the chickens come from and dancing next to a pipe. When the end finally rolls around, the visual display is more like a couple of bottle rockets popping off in the distance, instead of a grand 4th of July fireworks extravaganza.

I also wish movies these days would give the audience a little more credit, and not make films expecting that we don't know much, or will pass over things without raising our eyebrows. Case in point is realism. I already touched on the aspects of the house being believable, but I have a few others. Can someone nudge a director and let them know that a little make-up can easily cover up pierced ear lobes on males! If you are going to show close-ups of males, and you don't want us buying that the character (Frank in this instance, played by Nick Offerman)wears earrings, then for crying out loud throw a little make-up on Nick's ear lobes so we don't see the holes! Studios go to lengths to hide all sorts of things on actors, like tan-lines of wedding rings and wristwatches, and to cover over tattoos, scars and hairlines, etc.–why not extend that to piercings? If you also want us accepting that the snake is a poisonous copperhead, then by all means pay a little extra and get a hot-snake (poisonous snake) handler on location and film a real copperhead–not a regular ol' bull snake (which is not poisonous)!

The six stars I give this film are for the scenes with the parents of the boys, and the few minutes afforded to the romance trends between the teenagers, but the rest of it (second half) was too humdrum to hold my interest.
15 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Very good
zetes16 September 2013
Very enjoyable coming-of-age flick. Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias play three teenagers in the summer after their freshman year of high school. Robinson and Basso, in particular, have become increasingly annoyed with their parents (Nick Offerman, in his best film role yet, plays Robinson's gruff, single father and Megan Mullally (Offerman's wife) and Marc Evan Jackson play Basso's ditzy parents). They decide to run away, build a house deep in the forest and live by themselves. The film is quirky in a funny (not annoying) way, and the first half of it is about the funniest thing I've seen all year. The second half is a bit more dramatic and probably more conventional: Erin Moriarty, a girl whom Robinson has a crush on, discovers the boys' plan and starts to hang out with them. She falls for Basso instead, upsetting the friendship. I kind of wish it had remained more comic, but it's still quite good. The performances here are ace. Offerman is probably the best. No, it's not an especially different role than his Ron Swanson from the sitcom Parks & Recreation, but he's given a lot of depth. The funniest sequence in the film has him arguing with deliveryman Kumail Nanjiani (a huge comic talent whose potential will surely someday be realized, most likely on a network sitcom) about the size of his restaurant's dumplings. Of the kids, Arias gets the most laughs as a goofy looking kid who is often mistaken for a psycho. Alison Brie, of Community and Mad Men fame, also appears as Robinson's older sister, but unfortunately she doesn't have much to do. The film is really well shot and directed. I especially loved the use of slow motion. This is a keeper.
10 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A film about nothing , not a comedy, barely a drama, almost tragedy!!!
ercarvajal25 March 2014
I had to write something about this crap since it made me waste so much time trying to find something good in it.

This film is not fun, it has some jokes and overly exaggerated stances from some actors to give a sense of humor, but for most part it is boring, slow paced, it has no "spice" in it.

The whole "coming-of-age" genre is usually crappy, with people trying to deliver messages or promote agendas to mold youngsters the way they want; never letting stories to truly come out of a frame; you kind of know almost everything is going to happen from the beginning and this flick is exactly the same; and worst, for whatever little surprise "part" that you might expect at the end, it just ends numbly with nothing to add, nothing to say, especially no coherence with the main character's previous approach and personality.

There is no message to deliver (at least not a meaningful one), parents are not the caricature expose in this horrible flick, (and if they are, I feel sorry for USA); teens are not that stupid either, so this film ambiguity between realism and parody is just awful. The film was so boring I spent half the time watching to clock to see if it was about to end; and I just want to see if at least at the end the people behind it would do something "out of the box", but nah!...

It has one of the worst movie final sequences I have ever seen; I really hate the Climax and final untangling of this movie, IT DOESN'T WORTH YOUR TIME!!!! Well I would not see crap like Lord of Flies or Stand By Me; so if you're that type of people, go suit yourself, but if you found Stand by Me boring (just like I did); don't even try to start this one.
12 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Surprisingly Brilliant
joshmars3 April 2014
I watched a trailer for this film that provided me with absolutely no information. Three boys making very average music by hitting a pipe with tree branches while one of them danced in the background. Somehow this grabbed my attention and I came to IMDb for more information. With nothing other than a completely uninformative teaser and a small synopsis, I grabbed the movie and watched it with a group of guys in my horrible little apartment lounge room.

Then we literally grabbed more people and all watched it again the next day.

Kings of Summer is successful in what I believe is it's ambition - It is different to any other coming of age film that has been around in a long time. It sets aside the need for the melancholy undertone and doesn't take itself too seriously. You know who this reminds me of? Most boys in their teens and early twenty-somethings, which is easily the target audience for this movie.

Even the mention of Toy's mother dying didn't need a massive heart-wrenching scene. It was kept simple. They didn't want to much emotion or deep feelings to come out. Because this is really the theme of the story. Becoming a man.

Kings of Summer is consistently funny when it needs to be, and both memorable and quotable. And a bonus for me, I got both Ron Swanson and Buster. I would recommend this movie to any mate who hasn't seen it.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Quirky, funny, wistful & damn near perfect!
TheSquiss17 October 2013
"Why live when you can rule?" The tagline gives little away but says everything about The Kings of Summer.

I knew very little about Jordan Vogt-Roberts' feature debut other than what Mark Kermode had reported (and then revisited). I deliberately looked no further than the trailer and sought it out for myself.

As Kermode and others have stated, The Kings of Summer owes a great deal to Stand By Me, Rob Reiner's sensitive adaptation of Stephen King's beautiful, coming of age novella. In common with the latter, The Kings of Summer has a small group of boys on their own journey of discovery through love, friendship and family angst. But there is so much more to it, and that isn't to criticize Stand By Me in any way. But if Reiner's film holds a place in your heart, take the plunge.

Joe Troy (Nick Robinson) is closing in on adolescence and struggling with life under the glare of his cold, overbearing father, Frank (Nick Offerman), who himself is battling his own daemons and struggles to show affection. Joe finds a secluded clearing in the woods and persuades his best friend, Patrick (Gabriel Basso), to join him in his escape from their constrictive world, and there, joined by oddball Biaggio (Moises Arias) they build a 'house' and declare themselves masters of their own destinies.

And that's pretty much it. The Kings of Summer isn't a film of epic discoveries, great mystery and explosions; the discoveries are about themselves, the mystery is life itself and the explosions are the fireworks of their own emotions. But you know what? The Kings of Summer is real, it is natural, it's beautiful and it's a near perfect film.

Chris Galletta's debut screenplay flows easily; there are no self-conscious soliloquies but frequent silences where Vogt-Roberts allows the images to tell us everything we need to know. There is context, of course, but frequently scenes just happen. What we see are three boys escaping, running, leaping, drumming and being one with each other and their world without need for explanation but an innate understanding of each other's situations. Like Son of Rambow, we are guests in their world. It is a reminder, both joyful and painful, of all that we once enjoyed and endured and a contemplative look at what we could have achieved if only we'd had the balls to take matters into our own hands.

The central trinity is a flawless blend of characteristics to which we can all identify. It could easily be just one body inhabited by three souls who meld or clash according to the situation. Like Stand By Me, the three principals give the impression of being life-long friends rather than actors cast for our entertainment. Theirs is a relationship that echoes with those of our own childhoods (and hopefully adult life, if we're fortunate) and it works so beautifully upon the screen because it feels natural and effortless. Often critics talk of 'chemistry' in terms of romantic leads but in The Kings of Summer it is a flawless harmony, even when they are sparring with one another.

Robinson gives Nick a wistful willfulness that has us gunning for him. We want him to find his own way through this difficult childhood and achieve what we could not. There is a warm sincerity to his performance; his anger is entirely understandable and we want to be in his space in his time so that he can be our friend.

Likewise, Basso brings our own reservations and fears to the party and it's impossible not to admire him but still want to shake him to loosen him up a little.

Arias is in a different league, though. He is an absolute joy to watch and so much of the laughter is induced simply by his presence. His quirky, off-beat Biaggio is possibly the most delightful character to grace the screen this year so far. Arias blends Biaggio's idiosyncrasies masterfully, leaving us to wonder if he is there by design and fully aware or just bumbling along in his unique manner without plan or complete understanding.

The Kings of Summer will be lost on those seeking movie stars and action but it is a gently funny, beautifully honed film that is almost certain to rank in my top ten for the year. To hell with being young, I'm going out to have more adventures and build camps in the woods right now! Anyone up for joining me?

For more reviews from The Squiss, subscribe to my blog and like the Facebook page.
9 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Little more focus and decisiveness on styles could've helped this one soar.
Sergeant_Tibbs8 September 2013
The coming-of-age subgenre is one well-trodden. But it's one that deserves to be constantly updated through the generations and moving technology though it's hard not to be repetitive. Fortunately, they can bend to any genre and any style which means there's always that perfect one you can connect to. Although I haven't seen it just yet, this year's The Way Way Back seems intended as mainstream nostalgia whereas The Kings of Summer is definitely in the contemporary indie vein though it seems to want it in all the styles and all the genres. It's ambitious to have a script that wants to be part comedy, part serious and part comic. But it never decides if it wants to be realistic or surrealistic and it really hurts the flow of the film. I quite liked its ideas on paper, however basic they were, but in execution, it falls short. It's not because it's without energy, in fact, it's full to the brim, but it's so overdone and forward that it hasn't earned it. Characters simply aren't well developed enough before the story kicks off.

It seems quirky for the sake of quirky, serious for the sake of seriousness. It's like Moonrise Kingdom plus Into the Wild. While there's a realistic atmosphere, some of the aspects just aren't convincing, such as the core one of the kids building a house themselves. The severe factor that isn't convincing are the motivations. It's not enough. However, its emotion and comedy do work, but only in shards and that's due to the style. Nick Offerman is absolutely brilliant as the miserable father and he's the most consistent bright spark. Great to see him have more than a bit-role in a film. The photography is the highlight, perhaps the thing they thought about the most, almost like an instagrammed version of Mud, and it has some 'how did they do that?' shots. But I wish the editing didn't chop it up so much, the whole film feels like highlights rather than the whole story. The Kings of Summer is a mixed bag, but mostly enjoyable. A lot of focus and decisiveness could've helped it by the bucketful.

8 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Thank god for Pistachio
maccas-5636726 January 2019
Without the little guy Biaggio (who I thought was called Pistachio throughout), I would've really hated this film. With his stickered new clothes and unique strangeness, he provided all the laughs. Everything else, just fell rather flat and surprisingly depressing.

Nick Offerman was good as always playing the same character he does in every film. Unfortunately The Kings of Summer pales in comparison to The Way Way Back which came out around the same time in 2013.

Nothing really happens - it's just a bunch of kids running away during summer and doing stupid 'boy stuff' in the woods. You might enjoy this if you're a kid longing to run away from home, or an adult trying to harness courage to escape a toxic situation. But I'm neither.

The Kings of Summer reaches for greatness but never quite gets there, always squandering its potential. It drags a little, and is all too often filled with montages and dream sequences, as if turning into one long music video. Unnecessary divergences solely for comedic value fall short frequently.

Occasionally familiar faces from various American comedies popped up to say hello. I enjoyed a few laughs. I tried to care about their angsty teenage problems, but at 29, I couldn't - it all just came across pathetic. They portray Monopoly arguments eerily realistic though and the kids even have their own version of Yoko Ono to wreak havoc.

I don't understand all the rave reviews, but anyway, they built one bad-ass cubby house.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great cinematic experience
ObservedGuide12 December 2016
I have no idea what this movie is. All I know is I enjoyed it. It was pretty refreshing to watch. Normally, I would only give a movie of this caliber a 7 or 8, but once you see the mustache the main character grows you'll understand why it was 10 worthy. The whole time he was in the woods I was wondering if it was just dirt on his face. That's how good the mustache was. I'm jealous my facial hair growth is slightly better than that because I would love to have that pedo-stache on my face. Also, Moises Arias is a gem and a half. 90% of his lines make no sense, but I was digging the humor in it. This will go down as a movie that no one else enjoys. If I meet a girl who likes it, I'll probably marry that girl.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A unique coming-of-age story in the vein of "Stand By Me"
RLTerry120 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Return to that impressionable time in your life. However, unlike the more conventional coming of age stories, the subtext and themes of then first-time feature director Jordan Vogt-Roberts' film, written by Chris Valletta, are merely touched upon but seldom followed through in any meaningful way. The deadpan comedy and one-liners are simply tossed around instead of providing deeper meaning or introspect that may have increased the emotions felt throughout the movie. It's a very surface level movie that fails to substantially deliver the dynamic quality narrative that is typically expected of these films. That isn't to say that it is without merit; quite the contrary, it is enjoyable and is successful in taking you back to that time when you felt that no one understood you and you wanted to be treated like an adult, but still clung to the reckless freedom of hormonal youth. Understanding the consequences of one's behavior is a regularly visited theme in the movie. With gorgeous outdoor cinematography and relatable characters, The Kings of Summer contains a little something for everyone who has ever thought of running away and building a cabin in the woods for you and your buds.

The Kings of Summer is about three teenagers Joe (Nick Robinson), Patrick (Gabriel Basso), and Biaggio (Moises Arias) who run away from their respective dysfunctional families and make a life for themselves out in the woods by building a house and living off the land. However, even this three-fold cord has struggles and disagreements, jealously and rage. The young men are forced to work through life's problems while dealing with the chemical and psychological changes of growing up.

Have you ever just wanted to escape life? Just quit and run away to a tropical island or mountain valley? That is just what you will encounter in The Kings of Summer. Coming-of-age stories are usually some of the films that find their way onto favorite lists or those to which so many people can relate because they deal with issues many of us face while in that transitional time from teenager to adult. From lakeside high school parties to hormones and independence, this film includes some of the various turning points and learning opportunities one likely encounters while discovering who he or she are. Ordinarily, films such as this, deliver the content in such a way that it offers deeper meaning or emotional connections in the narrative. And although there are some themes and moderate introspect, the film does not go far enough in connecting the audience with the teenagers or adults in the movie. There were several lines of dialog that alluded to potential conflicts and personal struggles that could have been revisited to offer more substance in the film. That being said, the writer and director do provide relatable characters who are each very different from the other in an effort to provide audiences with a character to whom they can identify. It is important for coming-of-age movies to not only contain relatable characters but relatable situations as well. And this movie does that, just not to the extent it had the capacity to do.

One of the interesting themes that can be read in The Kings of Summer is questioning one's sexual orientation. Much like in Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, in which the protagonist's sexual orientation is questionable, you can find similar themes in this film. Throughout the movie, Joe is regularly making speeches on and offering up pithy comments about masculinity. Quite regularly, Joe lectures Patrick and Biaggio about what it means to me a man. At times, Joe even becomes defensive when his masculine ways are questioned. As Shakespeare penned, "…thou doth protest too loudly…" It is entirely possible that Joe is struggling to come to terms with his sexual preferences. This could explain why he would go to such drastic measures to escape his rigid father in order to discover who he is when he has to provide for himself. Other supporting evidence of this theme is simply the fact that he doesn't get the girl even though he tried much more than Patrick. When Patrick winds up with the girl, Joe is outraged and never quite gets over it. There are also the frequent trips to Boston Market instead of truly "being a man" and hunting for food. Maybe he's simply trying too hard to deny who he is developing to be? Perhaps. But, there are additionally also other themes that can be read in this unique coming-of-age story.

Although this film did not receive the national attention in 2013 that it really should have, it is definitely one that is worth a watch if you enjoy this sub-genre of Drama. Ordinarily, ensemble casts can hinder effective character development and excellent storytelling, the cast in this film is handled moderately well. If there had been more focus on the personal struggles or if the film included an external goal, then it would have definitely been better and perhaps more popular. Stories in general–especially visual stories–require the principle characters to not only have internal goals, but a clearly defined external goal as well. Often the external goal can echo the internal one, but it is important to show a tangible goal. Unfortunately, the latter is lacking in the diegesis of The Kings of Summer. This movie won't likely ever have the nostalgia or cache of Stand By Me, but it does offer up a fun story with an excellent cast and some personal growth that will keep you entertained for the hour and a half runtime.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed