The Kings of Summer (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 13, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“The Kings of Summer” is a hilariously fun, crazy but also an honest teenage coming-of-age film that is not so much drama but the awkwardness of being a teenager and wanting to be free of parents and teenage responsibilities.
TITLE: The Kings of Summer
FILM RELEASE: 2012
DURATION: 95 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:40:1, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: R (For Language and Some Teen Drinking)
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Robers
Written by Chris Galletta
Produced by Tyler Davidson, John Hodges, Peter Saraf
Executive Producer: Richard Rothfeld
Co-Producer as Eric Hollenbeck, Susan Wasserman
Line Producer: B. Ted Deiker
Co-Executive Producer: Allan Marks, Michael Razewski
Music by Ryan Miller
Cinematography by Ross Riege
Edited by Terel Gibson
Casting by Jeanne McCarthy
Production Design by Tyler B. Robinson
Art Direction by Jennifer Klide
Set Decoration by Carmen Navis
Costume Design by Lynette Meyer
Nick Robinson as Joe
Gabriel Basso as Patrick
Moises Arias as Biaggio
Nick Offerman as Frank
Erin Moriarty as Kelly
Craig Cackowski as Mr. Larson
Nathan Keyes as Paul
Megan Mullally as Mrs. Keenan
Priscilla Kaczuk as Grandma Keenan
Marc Evan Jackson as Mr. Keenan
Alison Brie as Heather
Eugene Cordero as Colin
Gillian Vigman as Carol
Mary Lynn Rajskub as Captain Davis
Three teenage friends Joe (Robinson), Patrick (Basso) and the eccentric and unpredictable Biaggio (Arias) – decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land. Free from their parents rules, their idyllic summer quickly becomes a test of friendship as each boy learns to appreciate the fact that family – whether it is the one youre born into or the one you create is something you can’t run away from.
For director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (“Single Dads”, “Death Valley”) and screenwriter Chris Galletta, the two would be responsible for the teenage coming-of-age film “The Kings of Summer” which screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
The independent film would feature notable talents such as Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”, “21 Jump Street”, “Sin City”), Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”, “Children’s Hospital”), Alison Brie (“Community”, “Scream 4”, “Mad Men”), Eugene Cordero (“Furry Vengeance”, “When in Rome”), Mary Lynn Rajskub (“24”, “Little Miss Sunshine”, Julie & Julia”) and Marc Even Jackson (“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, “Suit Up”). But the film would focus on a group of teenagers played by Nick Robinson (“Melissa & Joey”, “Frenemies”), Gabriel Basso (“Super 8”, “The Big C”), Moises Arias (“Hannah Montana”, “Nacho Libre”) and Erin Moriarity (“Red Widow”, “The Watch”).
And now the film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
“The Kings of Summer” is a film that revolves around teenager Joe Toy (portrayed by Nick Robinson). A frustrated teenager that is growing tired of his overly sarcastic father Frank portrayed by Nick Offerman) who he doesn’t have the best relationship with. With his father with a new woman (which he doesn’t approve of) and having his sister Heather (portrayed by Alison Brie) in town with her boyfriend Colin (portrayed by Eugene Cordero), he hopes that he could leave with his sister, so he doesn’t have to deal with his father. If there is anything that makes him happy, it’s his friend Kelly (portrayed by Erin Moriarity), who he has a crush on.
Meanwhile, Patrick (portrayed by Gabriel Basso) is tired of his parents (played by Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson) calling the shots and treating him like he’s a young child. He’s tired of the food they make him eat, how controlling they are over him and he’s tired of his parents in general.
And then there is their strange friend that they don’t know too much about, Biaggio (portrayed by Moises Arias). With Joe and Patrick wanting to get away from their parents and Biaggio tagging along. While in the woods, the three decide to build a house in the woods, so they can escape responsibility and his parents.
After the three build the house, they pack up and leave without telling anyone and try to start their new lives living in nature and wanting to hunt down their own food. But Joe and Biaggio find it difficult to hunt their own food and end up going across the street in the woods, pretending they hunted down chicken but actually purchasing food from Boston Market.
As the trio managed to live in the woods in the home they built, their parents are scared that something bad has happened to them and hope they are alive.
But as the three try to be like men and try not to let anyone know about their secret hideout, Joe ends up inviting Kelly and her friends to join them in the woods and show them the house they built, hoping it would impress her. But instead of impressing her, she ends up liking Patrick.
But what happens when Joe’s jealousy towards Frank starts to interfere with their plans to live in the woods and most of all, harm their friendship?
“The Kings of Summer” is presented in 1080p high Definition (2:40:1 Aspect Ratio). Part of the beauty of the film is the fact that a lot of the shots are done outdoors. Scenes are vibrant and colorful, closeups of the teens show plenty of detail and for the most part, the film looks very good with no signs of banding, artifacts or any problems.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Kings of Summer” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and 5.1 Dolby Digital. Dialogue and music is crystal clear and there is good ambiance with the scenes shot outdoors in the woods. If anything, the lossless soundtrack is center and front-channel driven and I detected no problems with the soundtrack.
Subtitles are in English, Spanish.
“The Kings of Summer” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, writer Chris Galletta, Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes – (14:07) Five deleted and extended scenes.
- The Long Shot Featurette – (2:59) A short featurette about how the film came about and the talents talking about the film and character.
- Frankly Speaking with Frank Toy: The Best One Liners – (1:21) Featuring clips of Frank Toy’s best one liners from the film.
- Alison Brie & Eugene Cordero On-Set Interview – (2:17) A playful short interview with the both Alison Brie and Eugene Cordero.
“The Kings of Summer” is an enjoyable teenage coming-of-age film that takes the adventurous side of youth as seen from films such as “Stand By Me” but without focusing on the childhood trauma or crazy danger, the film is more comedy mixed with teenage drama.
The film benefits from its veteran cast, with actor Nick Offerman as Joe’s father Frank, being the most sarcastic father one will see on film. Nearly everything that comes out of his mouth is sarcastic, blunt and it may seem hurtful and mean, because Frank tends to speak his mind without restraining himself.
May it be Frank criticizing his son for taking long showers because he is masturbating, to pulling off some mean-spirited situations during a game of Monopoly. We see how both father and son are almost like oil and water and you don’t feel bad for Joe wanting to leave home because Frank can be an absolute creep.
Meanwhile, for Patrick, he is the good-natured son with the controlling parents. Megan Mullally plays the role of the mother that tends to control and manager her son along with her husband. Patrick’s life is devoid of any type of freedom as long as he lives under the same roof.
Throw in Moises Arias in one of his most strangest role yet as the weirdo Biaggio. His actions have no explanations, just the fact that he is strange, unsure of his sexuality and knowing that he’s enjoying his time hanging out with Joe and Patrick.
The film also features “Community” actress Alison Brie as Joe’s older sister, who is probably more happy that she no longer has to deal with her father, while “24” actress Mary Lynn Raiskub plays a police officer with an inept partner.
For the most part, the film is made enjoyable because these three individuals are trying to live on land and feeling their brotherhood as a way to be free from their parents but also escaping responsibility. But as they try to be men of nature, their living on the land and trying to hunt their own food is not exactly going as well as they thought.
It’s a learning experience for each of the individuals but because of circumstances, their brotherhood will be threatened after Joe tries to bring Kelly, the girl he likes and her friends to see their home but watching as Kelly starts to bond with Patrick.
For some people who have had similar feelings or short-lived romances in high school are fully aware that as a teenager, your emotions can get out of whack, when the girl you like ends up going for your good friend.
While not a film that can be seen as comparable to a film such as “Stand By Me”, it’s more of a teenage comedy/coming-of-age film with awkward parents and teenagers. The character of Biaggio was no doubt a character employed for comedic purposes and to break any tension in the film. While quite idiotic and strange, I have to admit that I enjoyed the quality of the character, saying the most unusual or dumbest thing that one can say. He’s just a weird character and it added to the overall fun of the film.
For parents or older viewers, the character of Frank is quite the intriguing, grouchy, blunt, embarrassing and very sarcastic individual who can’t say anything nice.
Incredibly sarcastic, you can’t help but laugh because everything that comes out of his mouth is so wrong and at the worst moments, especially for his teenage son, Joe. As Biaggio is crazy for his actions, Joe’s father Frank is verbally audacious and can be seen as mean-spirited, but at the same time, I’m sure audiences may find it to be quite hilarious. because it’s so wrong and one will not be expecting someone to say things so casually.
As for the Blu-ray release, the film looks great on Blu-ray thanks for the fact that the film is shot primarily outdoors. Lossless audio is crisp and clear and full of ambiance. While there are a good number of short special features included with this release.
Overall, “The Kings of Summer” is a hilariously fun, crazy but also an honest teenage coming-of-age film that is not so much drama but the awkwardness of being a teenager and wanting to be free of parents and teenage responsibilities.
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