Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"The Kings of Summer": Spielberg Meets Wes Anderson 

Wednesday, Jun 5 2013

The exact origins of this feature debut from writer Chris Galletta and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts are unclear, but it sure captures the vibe of a promising short film awkwardly stretched to feature length through too many Sundance workshops and zealously music-supervised slo-mo scenes of teen boys at play in nature. At stake, at least theoretically, is the coming-of-age that occurs when three sweet young dudes — attractive protagonist Joe (Nick Robinson), best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso), and weirdo hanger-on Biaggio (Moises Arias) — run away from their glibly oppressive suburban Midwestern homes to build a makeshift house in the woods. A peculiar synthesis of Spielbergian sincerity and Andersonian indie quirk ensues, not wrongly presuming the common ground of adolescent-male wistfulness. The central trio is easy to like, but they could use a shapelier story or a more original narrative vision. As Kelly, the girl who inevitably comes between Patrick and Joe, Erin Moriarty has too little to do and only marginally more than Alison Brie in a placeholder part as Joe's sister. Presided over from its periphery by Megan Mullally as Patrick's overprotective-oddball mom and Nick Offerman as Joe's melancholy-widow dad, Galletta and Vogt-Roberts' bid for arthouse approval sometimes feels suffocatingly calculated — just so familiar that it might make you want to flee and take your chances in the unspoiled forest instead.

About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • Jack White at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
    Jack White and his band performed at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Friday and Saturday nights in front of sold out audiences. Jack entertained his fans with music that included songs from his days with The White Stripes, and The Raconteurs, as well as hits from his solo albums; Blunderbuss and Lazaretto. Photography by Sugarwolf.
  • San Francisco Street Food Festival 2014
    The San Francisco Street Food Festival was another success this year. Dozens of vendors with original, unheard-of creations, such as deep fried mac and cheese on a stick, black pea paste pancakes, and Korean quesadillas. Then there was the comfort foods we've grown accustomed to, like creme bruleé, shrimp rolls, and pound cake. Photographs by Mabel Jimenez.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed