Nothing feels better than when a film wins you over, fully and truly. The Peanut Butter Falcon is all heart and inspires joy within you from start to finish. Flying under the radar, this adventure story is one of the year’s absolute gems, in a way that nothing else can fully touch. There’s simply no other movie like this one out in the world. There’s magic in this picture, engrained in its very core. You won’t even be able to put your finger on it until the end. It’s simply a feeling that wells up within you as the plot moves forward. Kudos to all involved for crafting something so tremendous.
Presented as a modern day Mark Twain tale, the movie tells the story of Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a 22 year old man with Down syndrome who has the dream of becoming a professional wrestler. Stuck in a nursing home by the state, he spends his days with his roommate Carl (Bruce Dern) watching a video of The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). The wrestler runs a school, one Zak hopes to attend. Spurred on by Car, Zak runs away and sets out for the school. Meanwhile, Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) is a troublemaker hoping to escape a dark fate. Circumstances bring the two together, while Tyler initially resisted to Zak’s charms, before becoming his enthusiastic coach, friend, and guide through the small towns of America. As they traverse the land, they’re eventually accompanied by Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), who works at the nursing home and was sent to retrieve Zak. Instead, she makes them a trio, journeying down south to hopefully help Zak realize his dream. Their experiences will make you smile in a way that’s impossible to understand without seeing the flick. Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz write and direct, with cinematography from Nigel Bluck and the score coming from the quartet of Zachary Dawes, Noam Pikelny, Jonathan Sadoff, and Gabe Witcher. Rounding out the cast are the likes of Jon Bernthal, Mick Foley, John Hawkes, Jake Roberts, Yelawolf, and more.
The Peanut Butter Falcon is a fantastic fairy tale of a film. Truly a wonderful and crowd pleasing experience, from top to bottom. Everything about the flick just works. An absolute delight from start to finish, with the added bonus of perfectly using The Stable Song by Gregory Alan Isakov, it’s hard not to look at this as one of the defining works of 2019. Dakota Johnson and Shia LaBeouf have never been better. Bruce Dern turns in a small but essential role with his patented gusto. And, it goes without saying, young Zack Gottsagen is a revelation. Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz are able to coax work out of Gottsagen that’s moving in a way you just rarely see on screen.
I absolutely loved this movie, in a way that you rarely feel. The laughs come hot and heavy, as does the emotion. There’s a moment set to the aforementioned song by Isakov (The Stable Song) that is a perfect mix of music, visuals, and feelings. Nilson and Schwartz lean in to the Twain like story, allowing flights of fancy to help this soar. There’s literally no wrong turns taken here, which is saying something. You rarely experience flawless cinema, but for 93 minutes, that’s exactly what you get here. It’s not until the credits roll that the sense of having seen something magical washes over you, but when it does, the power of cinema is truly experienced.
In a perfect world, this would be a major Academy Award player. Roadside Attractions, frankly, may not know what they have on their hands here. The ravenous response to the flick should persuade them to launch a full throated campaign. Efforts in Best Picture, Best Director (for Nilson and Schwartz), Best Actor (for Gottsagen and LaBeouf), Best Supporting Actress (for Johnson), and Best Original Screenplay (also for Nilson and Schwartz) wouldn’t be in vein whatsoever. Oscar voters yearn for work like this, so it’s not ridiculous to think that The Peanut Butter Falcon has the special sauce to be a Picture nominee. It just takes the will to make the way.
This week, audiences should prepare for one of the very best films in some time when The Peanut Butter Falcon opens up. Over the next few weeks, the movie will expand nationwide, offering up a chance for everyone to be as charmed as I have been by this one. Without question, this is one of the ten best films of 2019. Right now, it’s my second favorite work of the year so far. It’s that good. Give it a shot and you’ll see why. It may be this weekend, it may be next weekend. Whenever it happens, you’ll be blown away. Trust me that this is truly special stuff. Seek it out. You can thank me later…
Be sure to check out The Peanut Butter Falcon, in theaters this weekend!