“The Kings of Summer” boasts the innocence and carefree nature of younger years right alongside the profundity of adulthood, resulting in an experience that functions both as an entertaining romp and tender tale of growing up.
Since the passing of his mother, Joe’s (Nick Robinson) relationship with his father, Frank (Nick Offerman), has been more strained than ever, the two not being able to see eye to eye on a single thing, even a game of Monopoly. Meanwhile, Joe’s best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) has parental problems of his own, but in a much different respect. His mother and father (Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson) smother him, drowning him in juvenile affection and vegetable soup. Desperate to not become his father, Joe decides that their only shot at gaining a sense of independence and becoming the men they want to be is to get out from under their parents’ roofs and build their own. Joe, Patrick, and the school oddball, Biaggio (Moises Arias), take to the woods, find a clearing and build their very own home.
“The Kings of Summer” strikes a unique balance between coming-of-age charm, comedy, and honest drama, and it’s the constant give and take between all three that makes the film work particularly well as a whole. There are moments specifically rooted in humor and others aiming to earn weighty emotional arcs, but director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and writer Chris Galletta always keep all three elements in play, resulting in something that’s both pleasantly enchanting and rather poignant.
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Interview: The Perfect Game’s William Dear And Jansen Panetierre
I’ve said it before, but I’ve got to say it again, there’s an unbelievable parallel between The Perfect Game and the true story on which it’s based. Back in 1957, the Monterrey Industrials defied the odds and became the first non-American team to win the little league World Series. More recently, the cast and the crew of The Perfect Game defied all odds just to get the film to theaters.
Clearly thrilled to see the film getting a theatrical release, director William Dear and star Jansen Panetierre, recalled the rough patches, but highlighted the good times. Most of Dear’s directorial work is for the small screen, however, he does have one particularly notable baseball feature film on his resume, Angels in the Outfield. He got a taste of working with younger ballplayers while filming The Sandlot 3. In The Perfect Game he’s presented with a brand new team including Jake T. Austin, Ryan Ochoa, Moises Arias and, of course, Panettiere as Enrique Suarez, one of two pitchers and, ultimately, the team’s big hitter.
It isn’t fun watching a project you’re so passionate about be dragged through the mud, but when the final product is as impressive as this, there’s nothing left to do but revel in your past due success. Check out what Dear and Panettiere had to say about working through the setbacks and making the best of their limited resources, as well as a few fun memories from the set.
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Review: The Perfect Game
You know what you’re getting into when you see a movie based on an ‘extraordinary true story.’ Working with moving source material seems like an advantage, but ultimately puts more pressure on the filmmakers. How do you evoke emotion and create suspense when moviegoers know the ending of the story? Clearly The Perfect Game writer, W. William Winokur, and director, William Dear, have the answer. Now that The Blind Side effect has worn off, it’s time to check out The Perfect Game.
In the poor, dusty town of Monterrey, Mexico, the closest a group of boys can get to experiencing a baseball game, is a ball made of string, a makeshift bat and occasional radio broadcasts of big league games in the states. While seeking refuge from his disapproving father in the yellow wasteland, Angel Macias (Jake T. Austin) finds something that changes his life forever, a real baseball, 108 stitches and all. He shows the treasure to his pals and the boys decide to defy the odds and create a little league team of their own. With the help of a former aspiring MLB coach, Cesar Faz (Clifton Collins Jr.), and some spiritual guidance from Padre Esteban (Cheech Marin), the Monterrey Industrials cross the border and begin their journey to the Little League World Series.
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