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SFF’13 Movie Review: “Toy’s House” [“The Kings of Summer”]

January 23, 2013

Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 8.30.08 PMI’ve never laughed so hard in the past few years, until I saw director Jordan Vogt-Roberts feature debut film, “Toy’s House”. FUNNY with a capitol F best describes this coming of age tale.

I love it when Sundance features the right indie comedy, especially ones made by first timers like Vogt-Roberts and screenwriter Chris Galletta. The movie is not only funny, but decides to take a different & refreshing approach in what could’ve turned out to be a typical run of the mill teen comedy.

Three teenage boys are fed up with their home life. In a nutshell, parents can be really fucking annoying, maybe not so much as Mr. Toy (Nick Offerman) or Mrs. Freeman (Megan Mullally) compared to parents in real-life, but what they do is enough to give Joe (Nick Robinson) & Patrick (Gabriel Basso) the drive they need to build their own sanctuary in the middle of the forrest where nobody can find them. Along for the ride is the towns oddball teen weirdo, Biaggio (Moises Arias), who believes that being ‘gay’ is when your lungs fill up with fluid, he may have something else going on in his life. Joe, Patrick, and Biaggio become their own version of Lord of the Flies, except for the murdering and sociopathic tendencies…well Biaggio MAYBE regarding the last part.

The movie explores the definition of manhood and what it means to be an adult, not to mention learning about love the hard way. The second ACTS catalyst that begins to break our heroes apart is certainly a typical teenage problem, but it’s handled differently, and better than other films have done so in the past. Having a girl break up a friendship can be a tiresome tool in movies like this, but where it takes our leads, makes them better people because of it.

It’s gonna be no surprise that this movie will spark a cult following for years to come, from the quotable Nick Offerman as Joe’s dad, even Offerman’s real-life wife, Megan Mullally as Patrick’s overbearing mother, but the shining star in this movie goes to young Disney Channel famed Gabriel Basso, who just may in fact become the new McLovin of today. His character certainly receives strong responses from the audience, it’s because of his charming weirdness, his EXTREME charming weirdness, which reminds me, when you do see this movie, stay for the end credits.

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts does a unique thing to this story, he decides to shoot and edit this movie in an aesthetic style that would reign close to one of those Fall seasoned Oscar contender dramas, and while it does maintain it’s overall black humor and random behavior, it does find a way to bring out the sentimentality of it all that makes the film look the way it does work. It could’ve easily looked or even felt like a “Superbad”-type of film, but it doesn’t, it choose to be more like a “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, if anything.

This is a movie that I will find myself seeing in theatre’s again and again, and will make it my mission in life to spread the good word that’s all things “Toy’s House”, it’s a movie that should not be missed out on, and more importantly it’s something that takes an old idea and makes it new, which is a rare thing these days.

GRADE: A

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