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Film / The Kings of Summer

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A 2013 American indie dramedy film about three teenagers, tired of living with their parents, who decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land.

Written and directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, starring Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, and Moises Arias. The supporting cast includes Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Megan Mullally, Marc Evan Jackson, and Mary Lynn Rajskub.

This film provides examples of:

  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Frank interrupts Joe's call with Kelly and humiliates him, and Patrick's parents are so embarrassing they give him hives.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Heather's boyfriend Colin, who serenades her father before they leave.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Frank, to Joe.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Biaggio races in to save Joe, but it's subverted when the snake bites him on the ankle before he has a chance to do anything, and Joe ends up having to save him.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Joe and Patrick have a falling out over Kelly, which also makes Joe drive Biaggio away, but they all reconcile in the end.
  • Call-Back: Joe's impetus to leave Frank is a disastrous game of Monopoly. He drives Patrick away after pulling the same strategy against him in a jealous rage, and even says "The men are talking," like Frank.
  • Coming of Age Story: The movie is this for Joe, Patrick and Biaggio.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Biaggio. He's constantly spouting strange lines, claims his uncle died on the Challenger and believes that the Italian word for snake means, "the demon's cock".
  • Cool Big Sis: Heather, to Joe.
  • Crying Wolf: Joe calls the police on his father after an argument; apparently this isn't the first time this has happened, and the bumbling cop answering the call recounts the story to an unimpressed Frank.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Frank in spades, and a delivery guy even calls him out on it.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Before they set off to the house, Patrick asks Joe to wait in case an omen warns them to turn back. Thunder rumbles immediately after he does so, but Joe insists they write it off.
    • After Joe and Biaggio carelessly dump bones around, Patrick warns them about a snakeskin he's seen. Joe continues to fail to dispose of his food properly, and a snake gets into the house.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Nobody really knows who Biaggio is or where he comes from, and Joe admits that he's letting him hang around because he's scared of what he'll do if he tells him to leave, though he genuinely becomes their friend by the end.
  • Freudian Trio: Joe (Ego), Patrick (Superego) and Biaggio (Id).
  • Happier Times Montage: Joe reminisces about his times with Patrick and Biaggio after he drives the two away from the house.
  • Imagine Spot: Joe imagines Kelly blowing up her ex's truck, and also the two of them sitting together and sharing cheesy lines before a villainous Frank comes to attack them.
  • Irony: Joe blames Kelly for coming to the house and ruining everything (even though he had invited her, and was only upset she fell for Patrick and not him). If not for her, however, Frank, Kelly, and Biaggio could have never saved him from the snake.
  • Jerkass: Frank, though he softens up somewhat by the end of the movie.
  • Love Triangle: Joe has a crush on Kelly, who likes him as a friend, but is really interested in Patrick.
  • Missing Mom: Joe's mother died some time ago.
  • My Beloved Smother: Patrick's parents are extremely overbearing.
  • Mysterious Past: Biaggio is basically a walking enigma; he has a machete, makes many bizarre references and has extremely strange mannerisms, but his past is never revealed. Tellingly, he's the only one of the trio to never have his home life shown at all, and the only time we see one of his parents, his face isn't shown, though he does seem as strange as his son is.
  • Parental Issues: Joe and his father constantly spar.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Joe loathes his father's new girlfriend, who he calls "a spider woman from the gutter."
  • Police Are Useless: The police completely fail to locate the boys. When Biaggio returns and they try to interrogate him on Joe's whereabouts, not only does he skillfully resist their efforts, he also freaks out one of the cops watching him.
  • Potty Failure: Biaggio wets himself after getting bitten by a snake.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Heather delivers a downplayed one to Frank, blaming him for making everyone around him feel miserable just because he does.
  • Shoo the Dog: After Joe forces the upset Patrick away, he also shoos Biaggio away so he can be alone.
  • The Stinger: Biaggio is still living at the summer house, alone.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After forcing Patrick and Biaggio away Joe (who at this point had been incapable of hunting, foraging or making a fire) traps and kills a rabbit, skins it, and cooks it on a fire he made, all by himself. Then subverted when his carelessness nearly gets him killed.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Subverted. At first Joe seems to be acting out because of his mother's death and issues with his father, until a conversation with Frank and Patrick's father reveal that Joe has always been devious, and that his mother actually seemed to enjoy Joe's antics.