The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) Movie Review

Director: Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz

Writer: Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz (Screenplay)

Starring: Zack Gottsagen, Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, John Hawkes, Bruce Dern, Jon Bernthal, Thomas Haden Church

Plot: Zak runs away from his care home to make his dream of becoming a wrestler come true.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful Movie

Story: The Peanut Butter Falcon starts as we meet a down syndrome young man Zak (Gottsagen) who dreams of being a wrestler, but is stuck in a care home sharing a room with Carl (Dern) under the care of Eleanor (Johnson), he has been trying to escape before and when he finally does, he meets Tyler (LaBeouf) a rebel who is fighting for his place in a fishing world.

As Tyler reluctantly agrees to help Zak, the two go on an adventure through the outdoors to make it to the wrestling school to live his dream of becoming a wrestler like his hero Salt Water Redneck (Church), even though Eleanor is trying to find him before it is too late.

Thoughts on The Peanut Butter Falcon

Characters – Zak is a down syndrome young man that is living in a nursing home with nobody else offering him a place to live, he loves wrestling and wants to make this his dream to become a wrestler, which sees him running away from the nursing home, meeting Tyler and having his first adventure. Tyler is a drifter working on the local fishing area, that has found himself getting into trouble with the locals, needing to go on the run, where he ends up meet Zak, reluctantly teaching him about life. Eleanor is the carer that has always looked after Zak, she has become concerned about his desire to move away and after he runs away, she must go in search of him, needing to learn more about opening up to his own desire in life.

PerformancesZack Gottsagen is wonderful in the leading role showing all the delight and pain his character is going through. Shia LaBeouf is going down the right path here, doing the roles which require him to show his skills rather than cash heavy roles. Dakota Johnson is great too, with the supporting cast that all work wonderfully through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young down syndrome man who decides to run away from the nursing home he is living in, with dreams of becoming a wrestler where he meets a lost drifter who teaches him more about life, while chasing his dream. This is a story that is similar to the story of Mark Twain with a fresh approach, with one of the clear messages being, not to judge somebody on a disability they have, they can achieve as much as anybody else. This is a joy to watch as a story, seeing how the two bond and just have a life adventure.

Adventure/Comedy The adventure side of this film, sees two unlikely men at different stages of their lives spending a couple of days together learning about life, it is inspiring to see how people might react to life, while getting a couple of laughs along the way, with the friendship.

SettingsThe film uses the back-water locations to show the drifter lifestyle to which Zak has fallen into and one that Tyler can navigate.

Scene of the Movie – The match.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing really.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful movie that can be enjoyed by all, one that has a clear message about treating everyone equal and one that will leave you feeling good by the end.

Overall: True Delight.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – P – The Pledge (2001) Movie Review

Director: Sean Penn

Writer: Jerzy Kromolowski, Mary Olson-Kromolowski (Screenplay) Friedrich Durrenmatt (Book)

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Patricia Clarkson, Benicio Del Toro, Aaron Eckhart, Beau Daniels, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright, Vanessa Redgrave, Mickey Rourke

Plot: A retiring police detective pledges to catch the killer of a young child.

Tagline – He may have retired, but he’s still catching the killer

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense Thriller

Story: The Pledge starts as the body of a young girl who has been brutally raped and murdered is discovered, retiring detective Jerry Black (Nicholson) wants to help investigate under Stan Krolak (Eckhart), which includes breaking the news to the parents Margaret (Clarkson) and Duane (O’Keefe), making a promise to get the monster behind this crime.

What looks like a cut and dry case, mentally handicapped Toby Wadenah (Del Toro) admits to the crime, dying in police custody. Jerry continues on into retirement, only after another murder that looks similar, he starts to look into the case again, learning that the real killer might still be out there and wanting to solve the case, even without the help of his former colleagues.

Thoughts on The Pledge

Characters – Jerry Black is a detective on the verge of retirement, when the murder happens, he wants to help and after the solving of the case goes smoothly, he heads of into retirement sunset, until he learns about another murder, he wants to reopen the case to solve the a potential serial killer, putting him in the position where he thinks he will cross paths with the killer. When it comes to the rest of the characters, we have a string of police officers at different levels, a couple of parents, some who have seen their children killed, one suffering abuse, but most of this film is focusing on how Jerry is dealing with retirement.

PerformancesJack Nicholson is fantastic in this leading role, he brings us a veteran cop that has always been able to solve a case, and shows how retirement will leave a void in his life. We do have a very good supporting cast of actors here including Helen Mirren, Patricia Clarkson, Aaron Eckhart, Vanessa Redgrave, Benicio Del Toro, Robin Wright and Sam Shepard who all do well with their roles in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a retiring detective that gets involved in one last case, only for him to see it closed easily, but not being convinced the suspect was really the person, trying to continue solving the crime, which he believes is bigger. This is a very interesting story, it does show how crimes could easily be connected and how it could only be one that starts trying to solve the issues he has with the case, while deeper down it shows how one detective could be struggling with his retirement, not wanting to accept that he won’t have cases to solve. Having both of these ideas playing hand in hand is very interesting, which leads to us wondering which is true.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film does see a horrible murder being solved, with the mystery about whether it was really the person that was caught or not.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how Jerry is trying to solve a murder, which could end up being a bigger crime going on, with him looking at potential locations.

Scene of the Movie – The parade.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is left too much to our own to decide the truth.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting thriller that does follow a detective who believes that a crime could still need solving, or he could just be making it up to keep him busy, this is interesting to see unfold with Jack Nicholson shining.

Overall: Brilliant Thriller.

Facing East (2019) Movie Review

Director: Tommy Baker

Plot: This story follows the history of the most over buried commercial cemetery in America. It comes full circle to present day and documents a non profit’s efforts to take care of the abandoned and abused burial ground.

Tagline – The True Story of The Most Grossly abused Cemetery in the Country

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Documentary

Story: Facing East starts as we see the investigation into the Eastern State Cemetery, a location in Louisville, where the owner had been burying people on top of other graves, which has been happening for decades, they didn’t hide it, they just kept taking the money from the families that wanted to bury their relatives.

We get to see how the federal investigation went through the grave to learn the shocking truth and how the owners were running the cemetery breaking nearly every law in the book, with it not sat abandoned with families needing to find their own way to their loved ones graves.

Thoughts on Facing East

Final Thoughts When it comes to a documentary, we always get the spotlight thrown onto a situation which is getting out of hand, this does show us the shocking behaviour being cemetery owners who took people’s money and just buried people on top of each other, following part of the criminal case against them after breaking the laws. We have a mix of archive footage showing the case, mixed with the interviews of former employees that opened up the case and victims of the operation. This is interesting to see, because it could have been happening for years in other location, while we do only focus on one place that has been exposed, it does pose the question about how many more could be out there.

Overall: Eye opening documentary.