So, a few weeks a go we were celebrating crowd-sourced film making from across the world with the screening of Life In A Day. And for this MNFC we had another first that embraced our international reputation: multiple simultaneous (almost) screenings across 3 locations worldwide! I think it is fair to say that we are truly an multinational enterprise now, our blog alone has now been read in 47 countries. Indeed, Sam’s choice of The Kings of Summer being beamed live to Sri Lanka and Yuppytown certainly cemented our well-earned reputation. Dicators of the world! Oooh, you make me afraid of myself!
Being St Patrick’s day, and with a guinness in one hand and a curry in the other, some of our team had secretly hoped that Sam would go for the outstanding Far and Away (with it’s well-earned 52% rotten tomatoes rating); but instead we (along with our Battersea and Columbo colleagues) were treated to the simply fantastic The Kings of Summer.
The film centred around 3 adolescents, two of whom decided to run away from home and the dysfunctional relationships they have with their parents, to live in the woods and experience the freedom they felt so denied. The third kid, Biaggio, was rather under-developed in terms of meaningful back-story, but did provide worthwhile comedy potential in his bizarre one-liners and impressive dance routines. Our own correspondant in Battersea had some problem with this: “[I] was a bit annoyed by the Biaggio character as soon as he appeared – seemed like these weird stock ‘comic’ characters you get in particularly US films that bear zero resemblance to a real person and are just like the butt of all the jokes and a place to put all the ‘other’ issues or something…. hollywood still seems really weirdly unsure how to deal with stuff like a kid being gay (er… I’m gay…. er maybe I have cystic fibrosis… like what the actual fuck?’) Also am unreasonably annoyed that it seemed like he was Italian and then he spoke Spanish with his Dad. Maybe they are Argentinian. I am being unreasonable. And he did grow on me, he was quite a funny physical actor, he just was given the world’s most terrible character and lines (in my humble opinion, maybe I just don’t get that humour).” On reflection I agree with this to some extent, however in my opinion his character did add comedy gold, although on a very superficial and transient nature. And it was a shame he was not more rounded as would have made an intriguing addition to the film rather than a “Hangover“-style side kick.
The tale of their adventures and relationship had many nods to other films which also explored teenage insecurity, frustrations and family dynamics; the MNFCers here and abroad drew comparisons which many professional critics have also, to Stand By Me, the movies of Wes Anderson, and even Into the Wild. We were also able to discuss similarities to Son of Rambow (another MNFC classic), particularly in regards to how bad boys are at articulating their emotions. There were many knowing nods for the MNFC Ladz at the scenes in Kings of Summer involving chucking logs in rivers, and randomly smashing stuff up.
Considering other similarities to all these films, we should also mention the amazing soundtrack which added to the deadpan humour but also helped add some levity to the more serious sections, in particular the scenes in which the comedy lines seemed to dry up, being replaced with genuine character development and plot momentum.
The young cast, once again, were magnificent (although at times sporting some very odd and not entirely convincing facial hair). In particular I thought Nick Robinson did very well in holding up the film, in much the same way as Will Poulter and Quvenzhane Wallis took the lead in previous MNFC films. However, moustache-aside, I couldn’t stop thinking that we were in fact watching a young James Franco.
Nick Robinson James Franco
And as we leave the soft focus, golden lit vistas of the Kings of Summer, reminiscent of an Ellie Golding music video, we look forward to the forthcoming FAFTAs on March 29th 2014. A full list of winners will be released after the event… but meanwhile, which MNFC film would you vote for the Founder’s Award for Film of the Year?
Until then, broadcasting around the world, your humble Tuesday Reviewer
This Tuesday Review… it tastes of avocado meat