Tyler: What's rule number one? Zak: Party. 3.5 Stars

Zak (Zack Gottsagen) is a young man with down syndrome who has no caregiver and is stuck by the state in an old age home to get the supervision he needs. Zak is enormously bored by the dull life in the home, where he only has elderly folks to interact with, including his roommate Carl (Bruce Dern). Zak plans multiple jail break escapes and finally succeeds. On the road to find his hero “The Salt Water Redneck” (Thomas Haden Church) Zak encounters Tyler (Shia LaBoeuf). While initially reticent to help Zak because he is trying to escape troubles of his own, Tyler agrees to help him get to the Salt Water Redneck’s compound as he makes his way to Jupiter Florida to start a new life. Meanwhile, Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), a staffer from the old age home and the only person who really cares about Zak, is trying to hunt him down before he hurts himself or gets lost in the wilds.

The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)
Released: 23 Aug 2019
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 97 min
Director: Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Sport
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen, John Hawkes
Writer(s): Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz
Plot: Zak runs away from his care home to make his dream of becoming a wrestler come true.
IMDB rating: 7.9
MetaScore: 70

Disc Information
Studio: Lionsgate
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 97 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: Keep Case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 11/12/2019
MSRP: $24.99

The Production: 3.5/5

Started as a response to its star’s inquiry: “Why has nobody made any movies starring people like me who have Down Syndrome”, The Peanut Butter Falcon is a showcase for the ingenuity and charisma that Zack brings to the table. He can really act, and he convincingly portrays Zak with heart and humanity. His costars are all in too, with LaBoeuf proving again (see Fury) that he’s grounded and empathetic, a long ways from Transformers days. Church’s Redneck echoes The Wrestler, with an athlete long past his prime but still able to exhibit what he loved about his profession, even if it’s to a much smaller audience. Saying Johnson is a long ways from 50 shades territory is an understatement as well.

In many ways TPBF is a modern take on Huck Finn, two fish out of water doing what they can to escape the troubles that keep following them. They encounter rapscallions and enter grace at the hands of a blind country preacher. They get drunk on moonshine and dance around primordial fires. Zak attains his dream of learning to wrestle, and does so in front of an audience. Tyler learns he doesn’t have to be alone in the world. Eleanor learns just how much Zak means to her and what she would do to protect him.

All in all it’s pretty sweet, if a bit straight forward.

Video: 4/5

3D Rating: NA

As an indy production TPBF shows above its weight on screen. Scenes are sharp and sun drenched, just like the characters. Colors are a bit muted despite the light, showcasing the lower end of the income that all of the characters are in, from Zak’s empty pockets to Tyler’s fish-monger outfits. Despite its provenance there’s no artifacts, undue grain, or ringing. It looks great for its presumed budget.

Audio: 3/5

Mostly front heavy dialogue and music with a few shotgun blasts and a few pistol shots ringing out in the surrounds.

It’s not designed to be a sonic experience but a character driven one, and for that it does fine. There is one scene in the rain where dialogue gets a bit muddy.

Special Features: 3/5

The Making of The Peanut Butter Falcon (HD 6:00) – Worthy but entirely too short. Lots of raves for Zack’s performance but not a lot of actual details about the real challenges that he and the rest of cast and crew had to deal with to get it right.

Photo Gallery

Theatrical Trailer

Overall: 3.5/5

Overall I found The Peanut Butter Falcon to be charming and uplifting, with just the right amount of drama caused by the hornets nest Zak and Tyler stirred up tracking them down. The whole point was to give a voice to a section of the population that so far has not had a chance to see one of their own as a hero, and TPBF does just that all the way.

B07Y9BGNSP

Published by

Sam Posten

editor,member

Neil Middlemiss

Premium
Reviewer
Joined
Nov 15, 2001
Messages
4,598
Real Name
Neil Middlemiss
Thanks for the review, Sam. The utter lack of representation of people with Down syndrome in film, television and children’s books is frustrating (our son, Ryan, has Down syndrome as you know). This movie is one I have wanted to see since I heard about it earlier this year and can’t wait to soak it up. We own another movie from a few years ago, Where Hope Grows, featuring a main cast member with Down syndrome. I hope we see more representation, and more of Zach, soon.
 

Jake Lipson

Premium
Joined
Dec 21, 2002
Messages
11,790
Real Name
Jake Lipson
Thank you, Sam! I loved this movie and am glad to have the disc in my collection. Hopefully it finds an even larger audience in its home release than the theatrical run did.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sam Posten

Mike Frezon

Moderator
Premium
Joined
Oct 9, 2001
Messages
54,045
Location
Rensselaer, NY
Yes, thanks Sam!

Peg and I are very much looking forward to checking this out...whenever Amazon can figure out how to get me a copy. Even though I pre-ordered for it's November 5th release, Amazon is giving me a window of November 25-December 5. :rolleyes:

This is a blind buy for us.
 

Robert Crawford

Crawdaddy
Moderator
Patron
Joined
Dec 9, 1998
Messages
49,427
Location
Michigan
Real Name
Robert
Yes, thanks Sam!

Peg and I are very much looking forward to checking this out...whenever Amazon can figure out how to get me a copy. Even though I pre-ordered for it's November 5th release, Amazon is giving me a window of November 25-December 5. :rolleyes:

This is a blind buy for us.
Hey Mike, my new delivery date is November 27th so I can have it before Thanksgiving.;)
 

Mike Frezon

Moderator
Premium
Joined
Oct 9, 2001
Messages
54,045
Location
Rensselaer, NY
Peg and watched tonight.

We both thought the film was "ok." It wasn't great, for sure. It was close (a neat idea), but no cigar.

The relationship between Zak and Tyler was nice. Eleanor was a rather superfluous character. She wasn't well developed and I was left scratching my head that she would leave with them on their journey. The flashback set-up explaining Tyler's history weren't really all that effective either.

Frankly, I would have liked much more conflict between Tyler and Eleanor as we watched an affectionate relationship between them start to take shape. More of that and less of the wrestling sequence at the end...especially the rather cheap trope in which:

Tyler gets smacked on the head with a tire iron--leaving us to supposedly believe he might've been killed by his enemies. Even to the point where we see a conversation between Eleanor and a doctor in which she appears visibly upset and clasp her hand over her mouth.

Like I said, a really neat idea. The actor who played Zak was terrific. And there were lots of nice scenes throughout the film. But I just didn't feel like the "whole" came together for me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sam Posten

Colin Jacobson

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2000
Messages
10,107
Peg and watched tonight.

We both thought the film was "ok." It wasn't great, for sure. It was close (a neat idea), but no cigar.

The relationship between Zak and Tyler was nice. Eleanor was a rather superfluous character. She wasn't well developed and I was left scratching my head that she would leave with them on their journey. The flashback set-up explaining Tyler's history weren't really all that effective either.

Frankly, I would have liked much more conflict between Tyler and Eleanor as we watched an affectionate relationship between them start to take shape. More of that and less of the wrestling sequence at the end...especially the rather cheap trope in which:

Tyler gets smacked on the head with a tire iron--leaving us to supposedly believe he might've been killed by his enemies. Even to the point where we see a conversation between Eleanor and a doctor in which she appears visibly upset and clasp her hand over her mouth.

Like I said, a really neat idea. The actor who played Zak was terrific. And there were lots of nice scenes throughout the film. But I just didn't feel like the "whole" came together for me.
I don't think there's any question that
Tyler gets killed!
 

Sam Posten

Moderator
Premium
HW Reviewer
Joined
Oct 30, 1997
Messages
28,825
Location
Aberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ
Real Name
Sam Posten
We both thought the film was "ok." It wasn't great, for sure.

Like I said, a really neat idea. The actor who played Zak was terrific. And there were lots of nice scenes throughout the film. But I just didn't feel like the "whole" came together for me.
I support this 100%. As you see I gave it a 3.5 which to me is in the 'has good to great qualities but isn't overall a triumph'.

I didn't focus on any of the negative points in my review but they are there and you outlined them well.

It's an indy production with a very specific, well calling it a 'gimmick' isn't right but it has a unique origin. And that has pros and cons. Zak's acting overcomes any doubts as to whether people with down syndrome can act and be entertaining. They can and he is. But that doesn't absolve some of the film's other issues.
 

Mike Frezon

Moderator
Premium
Joined
Oct 9, 2001
Messages
54,045
Location
Rensselaer, NY


Colin: Maybe I need to go back and watch the ending again, but I sure would be interested in hearing more about your spoilerized comment above. :laugh: Like I said, I'm not always very good at these things.
 

Colin Jacobson

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2000
Messages
10,107
But there he was...in the back seat...as they crossed the state line into Florida!

But I'm a pretty linear/literal thinker when it comes to these things. :D
He was???

Um...

Err...

I need to watch it again. Either I viewed that shot as not intended to be real... or I'm just a dope who missed it somehow!

Probably the latter! :D
 

Colin Jacobson

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2000
Messages
10,107
Okay, I rewatched the movie's finale.

I still think
Tyler is dead. The reactions we see from Eleanor and Clint aren't the reactions you'd expect from people who expect Tyler to survive.

Also, note that after we see those reactions, Zak blows out birthday candles and presumably makes a wish.

I think it's highly likely the final shots represent his fantasy, not reality...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sam Posten

Mike Frezon

Moderator
Premium
Joined
Oct 9, 2001
Messages
54,045
Location
Rensselaer, NY
He was???

Um...

Err...
:laugh:

Anyway...I dunno. Personally, I think that's a lot of supposition on your part. It all seemed pretty matter-of-fact to me.
Zak touched Tyler to wake him up and make him aware of their whereabouts and we see Tyler put his hand (familiarly) on Eleanor. If he wasn't really there, they might've been a bit more vague about things
 

Colin Jacobson

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2000
Messages
10,107
:laugh:

Anyway...I dunno. Personally, I think that's a lot of supposition on your part. It all seemed pretty matter-of-fact to me.
Zak touched Tyler to wake him up and make him aware of their whereabouts and we see Tyler put his hand (familiarly) on Eleanor. If he wasn't really there, they might've been a bit more vague about things
Did you read my update above?

I don't claim Tyler wasn't there as Z and E drove to FL.

I claim none of that happened. The drive to FL was all Z's fantasy.

C'mon - you think the shot of Z as he blows out candles and presumably makes a wish was an accident?

And does E's reaction to the doctor's news look like the reaction of someone who was told her friend would recover?

And why show a glum-looking Clint if T is gonna be A-OK?