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The Peanut Butter Falcon - Blu-ray Review

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The Peanut Butter Falcon - Movie Review

Featuring a special needs character in a film is always a risky proposition that has the potential to cross that fine line between exploitation and exposition.

Done incorrectly, the film might end up a syrupy mess with a pathetic character begging for pity. On the other hand, casting a non-special needs actor in the role is, well, just wrong, especially in our ever more inclusive world. Looking at you, Forrest Gump. However, when handled correctly, a character’s disability becomes secondary to the plot and anything else the film has to say.

"This is exactly the kind of movie we need right now. Sadly, those who need to see it most, likely won’t."


This is certainly the case with The Peanut Butter Falcon, in which a special needs actor plays a special needs character, yet throughout the course of the tale, we totally forget that either has a disability. The film stars Zack Gottsagen who has Down Syndrome. And though he portrays a character with the genetic disorder in the film, Gottsagen celebrates his uniqueness, while always maintaining a realistic perception of his challenges. And in his debut feature, he’s just so perfect.

The film is written and directed by Tyler Wilson and Michael Schwartz who also make their feature film debuts with a sweet little modern-day fable about a couple of strangers who make their way down isolated waterways and overgrown back roads while eventually happening upon an unexpected path that changes both their lives forever. Infused with loads of humor and plenty of heart, The Peanut Butter Falcon is as joyous and uplifting as a film can be.

Gottsagen is Zak, who we first meet in an assisted living center. We learn that he was abandoned by his birth parents and now, as a ward of the state, has been ordered to live there. But Zak has dreams. And when the opportunity finally presents itself, he busts out of the care facility and hightails it down the Carolina coast towards Florida, where he hopes to attend the wrestling school of his hero and WWF superstar, The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church, Sideways).

But Zak’s escape plan quickly fizzles out when he falls asleep in an abandoned fishing boat that belongs to hardscrabble country boy Tyler (Shia LaBeouf, American Honey) whose path towards the future is equally ill researched. Reluctantly, Tyler accepts Zak and the two set out for Florida together. But their trip won’t be an easy one. Seems Tyler is running from a couple of local crabbers (John Hawkes and Yelawolf) whose traps he destroyed, while Zak is avoiding his social worker named Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) who hopes to return him to his residence.

It takes a while, but the bristly Tyler eventually warms up to Zak’s adventurous nature and innocent spirit. It is this extraordinary bond the two wayward travelers forge that forms the backbone of this heartwarming tale worthy of Mark Twain. It isn’t long until Eleanor eventually catches up to the boys, but her mission to return with Zak is put aside when she experiences the friendship the two have formed.The Peanut Butter Falcon - Movie Review

Though often telegraphed and a bit too on the nose, the themes and emotions at play in The Peanut Butter Falcon are genuine and always feel earned. Telling this kind of story comes with a high degree of difficulty as nothing really happens and there isn’t all that much going on. It is really just a simple little lighthearted road movie of sorts that lazily drifts from point A to Z in the most delightful of ways. But it is the chemistry shared between the three leads that ultimately elevates this slice of timeless Americana. We see Zak and Tyler give each other their special handshake while Tyler and Eleanor nurse their budding romance.

It’s a shame that The Peanut Butter Falcon is unlikely to get a wide theatrical release. In our current climate of isolation and divisiveness, it’s nice to have a story that fills its sails with the winds of friendship, inclusion, and decent people who come to each other’s aid in times of need. This is exactly the kind of movie we need right now. Sadly, those who need to see it most, likely won’t.

5/5 beers

The Peanut Butter Falcon - Movie Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Lionsgate
Available on Blu-ray
- November 12, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH; Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The Peanut Butter Falcon is a beautiful movie in more ways than one. Fortunately for hi-def lovers, Lionsgate have captured the visual beauty of Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz's film in this Blu-ray + Digital edition that comes with a Making-of featurette, a still gallery, and the film's original trailer.

Video

The Peanut Butter Falcon takes place almost entirely outside in the swampy shoreline of the Outer Banks of South Carolina. The salty atmosphere is captured perfectly on this 1080p 2.39:1 transfer that is a beautiful thing to behold. Some of the nighttime scenes get a bit grainy and show some digital noise, but that is more than made up for with the beautifully rendered fine details in the daylight sequences. Behold the glory of blu-ray!

Audio

Your system won't get the biggest of audio workouts from the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track as The Peanut Butter Falcon is a talk-heavy affair, but dialogue is always clear and perfectly audible while accurately working the front channel as needed. The southern gospel-oriented soundtrack from Zachary Dawes, Noam Pikelny, and others definitely stands out as one of the stars of the show.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

The disc is blessed by only a making-of featurette and a photo gallery, but the film itself is just so darn good, we are happy to recommend this one to any and all film lovers.

  • Zack's Story: The Making of The Peanut Butter Falcon
  • Images from The Peanut Butter Falcon
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 2/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

The Peanut Butter Falcon - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Runtime:
93 mins
Director
: Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz
Writer:
Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz
Cast:
Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen
Genre
: Comedy | Drama | Adventure
Tagline:
The Peanut Butter Falcon
Memorable Movie Quote: "Friends are the family you choose."
Theatrical Distributor:
Roadside Attractions
Official Site: https://www.thepeanutbutterfalconmovie.com/
Release Date:
August 23, 2019 (wide)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 12, 2019.
Synopsis: A modern Mark Twain style adventure story, THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON tells the story of Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from a residential nursing home to follow his dream of attending the professional wrestling school of his idol, The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). A strange turn of events pairs him on the road with Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a small time outlaw on the run, who becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), a kind nursing home employee charged with Zak’s return, to join them on their journey..

The Peanut Butter Falcon - Movie Review

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