Jun 5, 2013

Kings of Summer: Three Boys Alone

Most boys-alone movies isolate the kids through a tragic accident -- a plane crash in Lord of the Flies, a terrorist attack in Toy Soldiers.  But in The Kings of Summer (2013) aka Toy's House, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is now in limited release, the boys head out into the wilderness by design.

Tiring of the oppression of adult society, nerdish teen Joe Toy (Nick Robinson) and his muscular best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso, below) build a house in the woods near their home and vanish, hoping for one last summer of freedom before high school.  Tagging along is Biaggio (Moises Arias, right), an eccentric outsider who claims to have no gender.

These are affluent kids, so they outfit their retreat with furniture, a boombox, and video games, and sneak into town for groceries, but they still bring a sense of wildness to their adventure, and homoromantic freedom with many scenes of the three swimming, dancing, slicing watermelons with swords, and hitting each other in the shoulder to demonstrate their affection.  Soon they have formed an alternative family.

Unfortunately, there is some homophobia that cast a shadow on the gay subtext. Biaggio worries that he's gay because he coughs a lot and gets sinusitis. Turns out he actually has the debilitating disease cystic fibrosis.  That's not nearly as bad!

Also some racism, sexism, and a lot of profanity, including the f-bomb every five seconds.

And the summer ends with the boys acquiescing to their heterosexual destiny: a girl shows up, and both Joe and Patrick like her.

But for awhile, they had each other, and a summer that could have lasted forever.

Seattle native Nick Robinson is currently starring in Melissa and Joey (2010-) with Melissa Joan Hart (formerly Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and Joey Lawrence.

Gabriel Basso (left) has starred in Alabama Moon with Uriah Shelton and Super 8 with Joel Courtney, and on the tv series The Big C (2010-2013), as the son of a woman with cancer.  He also appears in the music video Kyle and Donny: The Anatomy of Tide, which is mostly devoted to close-up shot of the two semi-nude musclemen.