Sunday, June 16, 2013

"The Kings of Summer": boys play Tom Sawyer, for fun as much as for rebellion; Snowden incident recalls an important 80's film

The Kings of Summer”, the new comedy about youth  by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, rather stiches together ideas from “Lord of the Files” with “Kids in America”, and maybe even “Moonrise Kingdom”. 

Nick Robinson carries the film with his charisma as Joe, pretty much the ring leader as some boys (Patrick – Gabriel Basso and Biaggio – Moises Arias) move into the central Ohio woods and build their own clapboard home with amazing speed, after Joe runs away from his bossy single dad (Nick Offerman).

They have fun, with their board games and country music (guitars and violins), and live in the woods without electricity just fine.  They could survive an electromagnetic pulse and never know it.  Oh, they do have their cell phones. 

They cheat a  little bit – scavenging for chicken wings from the waste at a nearby restaurant – although the “woods people” in “The East” (June 9) also scavenged.  Nick teaches himself to stone, skin and roast a squirrel. 

At a critical point, Biaggio says that he is gay, although there’s not a lot made of it.  Pretty soon, he gets the chance to try to place hero at the film’s denouement, upon seeing the slither of an automated rattlesnake.

CBS Films offers this site

I’m rather reminded by the film of the idea of an “intentional community”, like Twin Oaks, VA (which I covered April 7, 2012 on the Issues Blog) or even Lama. 

The kids do use alcohol (hence the R rating) but don’t have weapons – they’re not exactly Doomsday Preppers, or activists.  They’re having fun. 

I saw this at the Charles Street theater in Baltimore, in a smaller auditorium, before a good crowd, during the lull in the Pride Block Party.  

I have to say that memories of another film, “The Falcon and the Snowman”, by John Schlessinger (Orion) in 1985, came up yesterday in conjunction with media discussions of Edward Snowden.  I recall both the book by Robert Lindsey (about Christopher Boyce [timothy Hutton] and Dalton Lee (Sean Penn)  back from my says in Dallas – I think I saw it at the old Northpark.  That was during a Cold War experience with major differences from what we have now  (although the differences are not as great as we think).  A documentary about Snowden will surely get made,  alongside Assange and Manning.
There was  also an off-hand report in the media yesterday about a supposed prediction by Steven Spielberg and others that Hollywood could implode, producing many fewer movies and adopting a “Broadway” model for performances, which we see with Fathom Events already.  How would that prediction affect the festival and smaller films market? 

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