A Summer to Remember
Joe (Nick Robinson) lives alone with his father Frank (Nick Offerman) but their relationship is strained ever since Joe's mum died. His friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) also has a strained relationship with his parents but that is because they treat his as if he was a little kid rather than a teenager. When they both have enough they along with quirky kid Biaggio (Moises Arias) set about building themselves a home in a clearing in the woods so they can run away and have their freedom. Whilst the boys enjoy the freedom of the woods their parents haphazardly set about finding them with the help of the local cops.
As a teenager I remember a summer where me and a friend built a hide away in the woods near our homes. It wasn't that either of us wanted to get away from our families but it was our bit of freedom where we stashed stuff, had pullies and traps set up as well as smoked which turns out wasn't such a great idea. But whilst I look back on that time and think did we really do some of the stuff we did it was one of the best summers of my then young life, a coming of age summer and one which came flooding back to me as I watched "The Kings of Summer" although what I would have given for the beautiful location in this movie rather than the okay piece of woodland where we built are hide away.
So as you probably get the gist by now "The Kings of Summer" is a coming of age movie as we have Joe, Patrick and the offbeat Biaggio spending summer in the woods. Sounds pretty straight forwards as we see these friends build quite a spectacular house, mess about in the woods, hunt, let their bum fluff grow and invite girls back to their den. This does take things a step further though by having are friends actually runaway from home because they have issues with their parents.
But "The Kings of Summer" has a very surprising side from an early scene where Joe calls the police on his dad just because he annoyed him through to a fantasy scene which imitates a computer game. It is at times surreal and I have to say Moises Arias delivers a quirky performance which in some ways reminded me of Jamie Farr as Klinger in M*A*S*H. For me the eccentricity of it all, the intentional moments of quirky fantasy whilst entertaining at times also spoil what could have been a very powerful movie.
What this all boils down to is that "The Kings of Summer" ends up a fascinating movie with many good aspects including the performances but some of it is too quirky for me, forcing the intentional oddity of it all but then when you get to the end the forced oddity of it all is priceless.