The Kings of Summer (2013) aka Toy’s House, written by Chris Galletta is a coming-of-age screenplay about some rebellious kids who run away from home and live in a house made of scrap materials in the woods.
In 2015, for a report in a film class I took in college, I cited this movie as an example of a low-budget feature. I cannot recall if I found it to be a good movie, but I remember the characters eight years later so it has certainly stuck with me.
Unfortunately, the last screenplay I read was Chinatown (1973) so that’s tough competition. With that said I found the screenplay very readable, there were no points that felt convoluted.
I’ve read other reviews of the movie online; some are positive and some are negative. Interestingly and in regard to the screenplay, I agree with most of them. The jokes are hit-or-miss, the characters are somewhat ill-defined and the script feels very linear: In other words, everything kinda sorta builds up to a pivotal scene in Act 3. But it is still readable… Which is the most important part. There are some plot holes though: How can one collect apples from a tree in April/May in Long Island?
For what it is worth, this script landed on The Black List way back in (I think) 2009, so it had a lot of support from insiders.
Three kids mature beyond their years in some ways yet immature in others (basically every teenager) live in a shack in the woods. There’s annoying parents, and a love story that sorta acts are the B story.
Joe Toy and his friend Patrick are your typical teenagers. The best character is of course Biaggio, the sidekick that is an equal mix of funny and bizarre.
Dialogue & Pacing
I felt the script was very readable because it moved pretty quickly. There were no long monologues or overly complex figures of speech used (Unless they flew over my head… possible).
Most of the lines that were meant to be powerful were underlined by Galletta. The most impactful lines seemed to come from others towards Joe, the kid, and Frank, his dad. Both of the characters were kinda jerks throughout so they needed some wisdom from others. I didn’t really find the script to be emotionally draining, it was more of a feel good story.
Points of Interest
There were four scenes that I noted:
- Page 40-41 – Lisa’s speech to her dad (Frank) – An example of a character saying one thing (gtfo) and meaning another (I’m hurt inside).
- Biaggo’s comment “It may plead…” to Joe about showing no mercy towards an animal – Idk but it’s funny and it goes against the pace of the scene.
- Page 77-78 – Frank seeing a photo of his son and getting emotional, even though it is not explicitly written that he does.
- Page 91 – Patrick Smiles – I can’t figure out why I marked this line. On second (and third and forth) read it doesn’t feel that important or impactful, but on the first it did. Odd.