In 1986, Stand By Me set the standards for coming-of-age films with linear storytelling and strong acting. The Kings of Summer sticks with these standards with a fast-paced story that flies through our minds, while leaving traces of memory behind. The film is straight-forward when it comes to content, but bends our minds with the reality behind it. I find it really odd that the film is rated R because I wish kids and adults could watch it together. Families should enjoy this film with each other reflecting upon their own relationships. Nick Robinson (Jurassic World) as Joe and Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) as Frank grant us an opportunity to witness the stereotypical high-school home life. There is a montage in the film which includes scenes of Joe and Frank as they appear to be doing similar but slightly tweaked actions. Although they cannot get along at home, they still have a connection when they are away from each other.
Another great way to enjoy this film is among friends. Most of the time, Joe is creating a sort of paradise in the woods away from his biological family. Gabriel Basso (Super 8) and Moises Arias (Ender's Game) are nice choices for supporting actors. As Patrick, Basso provides a conflict for Joe to overcome towards the end of the film. As Biaggio, Arias provides hilarious comic relief in the film. I would love to see a spinoff feature film with Biaggio because his comedic delivery is so good. I have to admit that this was one of the first films that introduced me to the indie scene. And because of that, I have a lot to owe to Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island).
The Bottom Line: This is the best coming-of-age film since Stand By Me!
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