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For our second Streamers Film Club movie we’ve gone for something a little more off the beaten track. 

The Kings of Summer (2013, 95mins, rated 15) is a wonderful independent coming-of-age comedy drama that seemed to go under the radar in the UK.  Premiering to rave reviews at Sundance Film Festival and evoking classics like Stand by me it’s the perfect antidote for anyone suffering some end of summer blues.  

Once again, you can find it here where it’s currently free to watch for existing Amazon Prime members. Enjoy.

Popcorn time

How to join in:  As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the movie or a short review in the comments section below (caution, there will be spoilers).  We’ll post ours there too.  And don’t forget, if you want us to choose a specific film next week please send us your suggestions.

The official blurb reads:  

In the ultimate act of independence, three teenage friends – Joe (NickRobinson), Patrick (Gabriel Basso) and the eccentric and unpredictable Biaggio (Moises 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 you’re born into or the one you create – is something you can’t run away from.

Here’s what some other people thought:  

IMDB user score: 7.2/10  Total Film:  4 stars  The Telegraph: 4 stars

but most importantly, what do you think?  Let us know in the comments below…

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  1. Really interested to know what other people feel about this one?

    I think it’s a hidden gem but I suspect it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I’m a total sucker for this type of film anyway – all slow-mo montage, indie soundtrack, low-key rebellion and slightly weird sense of humour (see also Dan in Real Life, Submarine and pretty much half of what comes of Sundance).

    So, I was expecting to like it from the start but I was still pleasantly surprised how good (and funny) it was. The parents and Biaggio were obviously pretty broad characters but they all made me laugh out loud pretty regularly and I loved the cameo from Tony Hale (Buster from the excellent Arrested Development) as the bus passenger with the helpful advice on grieving. In fact it was only Colin (the suck-up boyfriend) that let me cold, striking me as just weird for the sake of it.

    I’m not usually squeamish but the only other thing I didn’t like was the dissection scene near the end of the film which I thought was pretty graphic and unnecessary. I get that it made sense in the story but I thought they could have done it off camera and it just felt jarring and out of place to me. Anyway, I hope it didn’t put anyone off what I think is an excellent little movie. I’d be chuffed if we’ve helped anyone discover it.

  2. As you say G, this one probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Or even Bovril. But actually it is a quality film IMO.

    I watched it a few months ago, and couldn’t remember if I liked it or not. In my book, unless it’s a thinker, or an actioner, or a quality horror, it doesn’t live too long in the memory. I’ve just watched trailer back and I now remember how much fun it was.

    Sure there were some bits where maybe it tried too hard to be the classic coming of age-type movie it wasn’t quite hitting the mark of. Maybe this made the film seem a bit forced in places. Anyway I’m not a big fan of those types of movies for some reason (Stand By Me, etc.)

    I liked the kooky character of Biaggio, and generally most of the film was a pleasant watch.

    What made it for me were the scenes with Nick Offerman. Dead-pan and understated funny makes his character worth watching.

    I also remember there being a scene with Chinese takeaway delivery which stuck in the memory.

    Pretty insightful comments, huh?

    1. Yep. I don’t think I’ve seen Nick Offerman in anything before (although people keep recommending Parks and Recreation to me) but he was very good. I can see why Joe ran away though, he’d be insufferable as a dad in real life!

      Anyway, glad you liked it. Oh, and if you like something a little darker then keep your eyes peeled for next week’s film. Announcement coming Thursday 🙂

      1. Sure I like the darker stuff. But mostly the thinkers. If you can find any films like Memento, Fight Club or Shutter Island id be happy to check them out.

        A real gem I discovered earlier this year on Prime was “Primer” (no, seriously). You need a clear head. Well worth a watch.

  3. These days it’s unusual for me to watch a film with absolutely no preconceptions but I had never heard of this film, the director or the writer when it was selected for our viewing. Therefore all I had to go on was the Amazon Prime synopsis which didn’t give much away. I think this actually helped my enjoyment of it because it didn’t really conform to any specific genre or style. For example, there were moments of surreal humour that completely took me by surprise and I laughed out loud on a number of occasions, but had I gone in expecting an out-and-out comedy I might have been disappointed. At the same time, these sudden shifts in tone gave the impression that the filmmakers couldn’t quite decide what sort of film they were making. This was most apparent in the characters of Patrick’s parents who went way beyond quirky and would have been more at home in a parody rather than a film which, at other times, was trying to be quite serious.

    Alongside the main theme of teenagers’ relationships with their parents was the universal theme of teenage crushes and the effect this can have on friendships. I can certainly relate and I thought they captured the feelings of pain, frustration and jealousy very well. But, much like the comedy above, there were a couple of things that jarred a little bit and took me out of the moment. Firstly, while most of the dialogue seemed pretty realistic, there were a few times when a character would retort with a line that was just too quick and too clever to believe it was an off-the-cuff response from a 15 year old. Secondly, and I know this is not an original complaint, but all the actors were clearly older than the 15 year olds they were portraying and every time their ages were mentioned in the film I found myself distracted by this.

    In summary, it is a thoroughly enjoyable, if slightly confused, film which I would recommend but wouldn’t be able to classify.

    1. Interesting stuff, thanks. I often wish I was as quick and witty as they are in the movies – I usually think of a great comeback about 3 hours later when he moment has normally gone!

      I agree about the crush/friends thing which I think they did really well – it was pretty predictable I guess but I thought the acting was really believable. I particularly felt for Joe as he lay there in bed and it slowly dawns on him that she was not coming to see him. Even if it’s more of a wave in the pub I think we can probably all recall that feeling 🙁

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