The Kings of Summer movie poster
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The Kings of Summer
The Kings of Summer movie poster

The Kings of Summer Movie Review

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Stand by Me meets Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves with a dose of Lord of the Flies and a hint of (500) Days of Summer in The Kings of Summer, one of the most enjoyable and overlooked movies of 2013. Bonus: Ron Swanson is in it.

The Kings of Summer is about two teenagers (Nick Robinson and Gabriel Basso) who, one summer, become so fed up with living with their parents they decide to flee into the nearby woods, build a house and live off the land - with occasional stops at Boston Market for sustenance. Skipping past the shocking fact that Boston Market is still a thing, there's also a third boy (Moises Arias), but he's just strange. The three boys have a blast - until women enter the picture, because that's what they do.

Did I mention Ron Swanson is in it?

The Kings of Summer is really a crowning achievement, especially when you consider that the movie marks the feature-length debut of both director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and writer Chris Galletta. The movie looks great as Vogt-Roberts shows deft skill for integrating sound, music and visuals to tell the story and engage the audience moment-by-moment; a montage set to the drum beat of the boys banging on an oil pipeline really defines this mastery. The story isn't particularly original, but the screenplay has terrific writing that brings characters large and small to life.

Did I mention Ron Swanson is in it?

The acting is pretty good as well. Robinson leads the cast with a strong performance. Basso isn't particularly memorable, but his character is more at fault than anything else. Arias is hilarious, and Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson!!!) delivers exactly the way you'd expect him to. Erin Moriarty is also good, though the female actresses are underutilized; Alison Brie is given almost nothing to do, while Moriarty's character isn't fleshed out as much as it needed to be given the importance of her role in the story.

The Kings of Summer isn't perfect, but it is one of the better movies of 2013. Entertaining, funny and relatable, the movie is worth seeing - even if you've never heard of it before.

Did I mention Ron Swanson is in it?

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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