2013 / Director. Jordan Vogt-Roberts.
During a recent conversation about the film THE WAY WAY BACK a fellow blogger, John Noonan, suggested that THE KINGS OF SUMMER would make for a good double feature. I knew about the film but had yet to see it and so I hopped online and purchased a copy. Last night I watched it - John was right. THE KINGS OF SUMMER is a throwback to the classic coming-of-age films and immediately cast my mind back to STAND BY ME and more recently, MUD. It tells the story of three teenage boys who become so fed up with their parents that they run away into the woods and build their own house. Two of them are best friends and the other is a strange yet endearing outcast named Biaggio. Their time alone in the wilderness is a funny, poignant and dramatic exploration of teen angst and self-discovery. Through their bond and mateship they grow from boys to men and learn that life is more than just having a good time. The film is wonderfully written and brilliantly cast. Nick Offerman is particularly excellent as the father of one of the boys. He is recently widowed and hides behind a strict, arsehole exterior. I found his performance particularly powerful and heartbreaking. He's really the heart of the film as far as I'm concerned. Some other effectively subtle performances come from a support cast including; Mary Lynn Rajskcub, Megan Mullally and Thomas Middleditch (check him out in SPLINTERHEADS). The story does slump a little in the second act but it picks itself up before it ever gets boring and it concludes on a high. The finale is fitting and strangely reminiscent of MUD. I am exhilarated when films like this come along and I can now put THE KINGS OF SUMMER amongst some of the best coming-of-age movies I know of. Great stuff.