The Kings of Summer ★★★★½

"The Kings of Summer" is about the bonds of friendship, first love, heartbreak, self-reliance, how to live off the land, hypocrisy, what it means to be a man and the destructive nature of Monopoly. Gorgeous, hilarious, life-affirming, awkward, and quietly brilliant. "The Kings of Summer" combines the beauty of Terrence Malick, the quirkiness of Wes Anderson and the awkward, seemingly authentic flavor of Judd Apatow's "Freaks and Geeks", but manages to be something completely original and refreshingly alive. The cast, most of whom I've never seen in anything before, are perfect for their roles. The cinematography and scenery are stunning. The relationships between all of the characters and the dialogue between them is quotable, sharp and consists of universal truths delivered naturally in a way that sounds as teenagers actually talk, only slightly heightened, not simply lazy discourse that uses pop culture references as currency. And the whole thing is often hilarious and absolutely charming at every moment. Quietly perfect, and a wonderful alternative take on the same subjects as the almost unbearably obnoxious "Superbad".

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