Friday, June 7, 2013

The Kings of Summer

Quentin: I thought this was going to be it.

Jake: Me too.

Jason: What are you talking about?

Jake: We were chatting last weekend about how we’ve been waiting for that one movie to come along. You know, that unexpected film that’s going to blow us away. Congrats on graduating from high school, by the way.

Quentin: Thanks.

Jason: Do you feel all grown up?

Quentin: No. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I won’t be a teenage boy forever.

Jake: That’s why grown men play baseball.

Quentin: I suck at baseball. I have terrible eye-hand coordination.

Jake: We went to see The Kings of Summer today.

Quentin: Where do we start?

Jason: With the good, because there’s more of that. But this is a specific kind of movie, and watching the trailer, anyone should be able to tell if it’s their specific kind of movie or not. Personally, I loved it. Yes, I know what you two are going to complain about—I can already hear it in my head—but I didn’t care. This is a movie that can spin a morning yawn into visual magic. It’s about friendship and the indomitable spirit of teenage boys.

Quentin: It’s also missing a plot.

Jason: So what?

Quentin: Are we seriously having this argument again?

Jake: Quentin's right, Jason. When it comes to form and structure, his traditionalist views are well established.

Quentin: I’m not going to bow down and kiss this movie’s ass just because it’s about the “Indomitable spirit of teenage boys.” Jesus, what a line. One of the cheesiest ever, little brother.

Jason: Eff you. How can you enjoy a movie like Dead Poets Society and not this one? They’re the same movie.

Quentin: No, they’re not. Look, we all concede Dead Poets Society goes off the rails with the suicide plot—

Jake: But it recovers in the last scene. It pays off.

Quentin: This never did.

Jason: I hate it when you two gang up on me.

Jake: I’ll shut up then.

Quentin: What? Don’t let him get away with that. Jake, dude, come on. Stand up for yourself here.

<long pause>

Jason: Quentin’s right. I can hear Stanton telling me to stop being such a pussy. So never mind. Gang up all you want. I can take it, because you’re both wrong. This movie does pay off, just not at the volume you two require.

Quentin: I also hate when a movie can be described with other movies, using the verb “meets.” This is Dead Poets Society meets Walden meets Lord of the Flies meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Jason: Walden was never a movie.

Jake: Can we at least tell people what it’s about?

Quentin: It’s about three teenage boys who run away from home one summer and build a house in the woods. Joe’s running away from a father who’s turned into a complete dick since his wife died. Patrick is running away from, what were they? OCD parents? And Biaggio, who knows what’s up with him. I get why you love this film, but there’s so much I would have to overlook to get there. Maybe I was just in a bad mood.

Jake: No, I had the same problems. But this is both the director and the writer’s first feature, and you have to admit it shows a lot of promise.

Quentin: I’ll concede that. Had the script gone through two more drafts, I think this could have been an instant Walsh classic. As it is, though, no. It uses the exact same third-act crisis as Mud did.

Jason: I admit, that was the low point. I wish they had figured out a more interesting way to get Joe out of the woods.

Jake: And the set up was really heavy handed.

Quentin: Yes. You could see it coming from a mile away.

Jake: The betrayal of the bromance seemed totally contrived, too.

Quentin: And that house they built? Really? No way in hell.

Jason: You’re both out of your minds. Let me put it this way: you’re watching poetry and then bitching that it’s not prose. Pretend for a moment that this didn’t even happen. Pretend it was all in Joe’s head. The whole movie was just him lying in bed, indulging in adolescent wish fulfillment. It may or may not have been a literal adventure, and it doesn’t matter. We know that whenever fairytale characters run into the woods, it’s because they need to figure some things out. So the plot is a little clunky in places; the movie still manages to evoke the experience of growing up.

Quentin: Maybe that’s why I didn’t like it.

Jake: Because you’re officially not a kid anymore.

Quentin: It’s a little scary. I admit.

Jason: Let’s not make a mountain out of molehill: you’re moving into the backyard. I think if you’d seen this movie two years ago, you would have loved it.

Quentin: I doubt that.

Jason: It was too quiet for you.

Quentin: Probably. I understand you appreciated the mood and atmosphere, but it’s a movie, not a tone poem. I thought the lead performances were amazing. It was beautifully shot. I love the idea of building a house in the woods. But then it took a left turn into territory better reserved for The CW.

Jake: The love triangle would have been okay if they had put their own twist on it.

Quentin: I agree, but no such luck.

Jason: Argh! Not every movie has to have a twist. Life does not always have a twist!

Quentin: Maybe we would have been good with the third act had we not just seen it in Mud, but it felt—

Jake: Amateurish.

Jason: I still think you’re missing my point.

Quentin: This is a perfect example of a couple of guys who had a great idea for a film, but hadn’t thought it through to the end. When it came time to close out the story, they reached for their copy of Screenwriting for Dummies and used “Suggestion #1.”

Jake: Ouch.

Jason: That’s harsh.

Quentin: But fair.

Jake: I’m hungry.

Jason: Let’s go to Hyde Park Bar & Grill. I’m craving a fried egg sandwich and fries.

Quentin: I’m in. Next week we’re going to see Man of Steel. Until then, school is out for the summer, so don't be surprised if you see us tweeting at all hours of the day and night.


  1. I saw the preview for this one but it wasn't on my list to watch. You guys were on a roll this week, this is a nice long post. Must be all that extra time you have now with school out. Is Stanton the "Stanton" from The Return? Are you guys still going to hang out together when Quentin moves to the garage apartment?

  2. We do seem to have a lot of extra steam to blow off with school out. Yes, Stanton is the "Stanton" from The Return. And how much we still hang out remains to be seen. We'll at least keep going to movies on Fridays =) -Jason.