Each week, the Step On staff have a movie night. Here’s what we watched:
The Kings of Summer (2013)
Written by: Chris Galletta
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, and Moises Arias
“Why live when you can rule” is the tagline of 2013’s The Kings of Summer – an absorbing, funny, and at times profound film about three teens who decide to dump their tedious families, build a house in the woods, and live off the land like men.
On the surface, the film is a celebration of youthful exuberance (that irrepressible byproduct of teenage brain chemistry) but as the film progresses, first time screenwriter Chris Galletta goes deeper and explores the inevitable moment young rebellion runs head-first into adult rigidness. The opposing forces are embodied by the film’s main characters: the restless Joe played by Nick Robinson (Jurassic World), and his overbearing bully of a dad, Frank (Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman). The resulting duel of barbs and insults is made all the more entertaining by Offerman’s celebrated comedic chops and trademark dead-eyed stare, but the bulk of the film smartly centers on the trio of boys who dive into the wilderness if only to prove they’re strong enough to survive without parents or society telling them what to do.
Cinematographer Ross Reige keeps the camera low and moving, panning through scenes of open fields, swaying trees, and dying sunlight with the appropriate sense of wonder to match the film’s themes of exploration and discovery. Anyone lucky enough to have woken up in a dew-scented forest will ache to return by the time credits roll.
Supported by solid performances from Offerman, Megan Mullally, and newcomer Moises Arias (Biaggio is a comedic character for the ages), The Kings of Summer inspires as much as it entertains. Will it rouse you to quit your day job and move into the woods with your buddies? Probably not.
But it will ask when was the last time you truly felt in charge. For a lot of us, it’s not the easiest question to answer…
By Justin Rawana