*Not many spoilers but I always like to put it
When I found out there was going to be a movie depicting a friendship between a down syndrome man and a man with all his faculties, I immediately thought this might not be the right climate to release this. In comparison, The Ringer was a movie that in it’s time was hilarious, however probably could not be made today. The same could be said for a lot of movies in the past. So The Peanut Butter Falcon had a lot to do in order to make sure it was respectful while still being a good movie.
Directed by the duo of Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz “Falcon” shows a young man with Down Syndrome, Zak (Zack Gottsagen), sneak away from his assisted living facility in order to try and attend a wrestling school from his hero the Salt Water Redneck. On his journey he meets Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) a thief/fisherman who befriends Zak and lets him live as an adult with no judgement. They have really fun adventures throughout the journey and show that friendship comes in all shapes and sizes. They also meet up with Dakota Johnson’s character Eleanor who works at the assisted living facility. She has to change her opinions on the situation and life and we see a lot of fun with that story line as well.
This movie is very tight, and is shot incredibly well for the young filmmakers. Sometimes in the movies the small stories are more enjoyable than the big flashy movies because they focus on Characters and story. At the end of the day the great movies focus on those aspects rather than effects.
Stock Up – Shia LaBeouf back? The troubled actor has had a well documented history of issues that have stunted his acting career. But I forgive him because it is all similar to issues that most child actors in Hollywood. He is phenomenal in this movie and showed why everyone was so high on him back in the Transformers, Disturbia days. He has an autobiographical movie coming out later this year and he seems like he is going to be around for awhile now.
Stock Neutral – Zack Gottsagen was so so good in this and expanded my mind to the talents of people with special needs. He was self aware and hilarious, in a tasteful way, and brought a dimension I have never seen. I just do not know what kind of future he can have due to the nature of his condition. I am very happy though we will always have this movie.
Stock Up – Dakota Johnson has been known for awhile as the 50 Shades girl. But she has some serious acting chops and after showing off her comedy in How to Be Single she got to put her drama skills on display here. I look forward to what she does in the future.
*A couple other tidbits
- Love Thomas Haden Church at all times
- The John Hawkes subplot really was weird and unnecessary but brought some stakes to Tyler’s story.
- The ending is a little out of nowhere but I still enjoyed it.
This was easily one of the more surprising movies of the year for me and showed me again that sometimes smaller is better for movies.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.