If you haven’t seen it already then I think you’re in for a treat. In an age where overhype is apparently the only viable form of cultural currency, all that we usually get in exchange is disappointment, and that leaves us cynical, disillusioned and worst of all with lower standards. Praise be then, to ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’, a glorious treat of a film; a genuine nugget of movie making, glinting with promise in a generally muddied cinematic creek. Equally if you’ve never heard of it then, well, that’s OK but I’m telling you about it now and it’s free if you subscribe to Netflix and who doesn’t have Netflix these days? Surely you’re not still reading this. GO! Go now and watch ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ and then have the nerve to tell me you didn’t like it.
A simple story – a man with Down’s Syndrome and a dream of being a wrestler escapes from his care home and by accident hooks up with an edgy, resourceful, but out of luck chap (Shia LaBeouf) who is in trouble with a couple of local hillbillies (or is it rednecks, I think they explained it on ‘Ozark’ once, but I’ve forgotten). The two bond as they drift along, tracked by a care worker and them good ‘ol boys. Adventure ensues. It is poignant, sad, funny, tragic, deeply, deeply warming and possibly the most delicious film I’ve watched this year. I knew I would cry at some point but the tears came by stealth and ran a gamut of emotions that you don’t get too often in a film.
‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ seems to me to be a perfect kind of film. It lasts exactly the right length, has a very fine and fitting soundtrack and is cast without fault – some people don’t take to LaBeouf but I think that when he fits a role he is as good an actor as any other of his generation. At the weekend we watched ‘Flash Gordon’ at the cinema and that too, while packed with all kinds of camp howlers, is also a perfect kind of film precisely because it makes you feel a certain way; a way that only a certain type of film can make you feel. It is a quality you can see in ‘The Princess Bride’ and ‘Stardust’ (yes, I am, beneath my gruff, lumberjack exterior a proper softy) but not in some films people will tell you are masterpieces. Reassuringly none of the films I’ve mentioned got anywhere near an Oscar, and all the better for it.
I’ve watched quite a lot of films in my time. Whether I’ve seen more or fewer than you isn’t something that particularly concerns me. Cinema, like all the arts (though ballet is pretty much all a bit shit) will always be impishly divisive and subjective and that is what makes it so fabulous. There is not a soul on earth that will ever be able to convince me that, just as examples, ‘Forrest Gump’ is worth watching again or that ‘Hostel’ is worth watching at all, and that suit me down to the ground. Regardless, can we make a deal and say that I won’t bore you with an annotated list of my favourite films (right now at least) and in return you give ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ a go. I’d be surprised if you didn’t like it and delighted if you loved it, and if you loved it then at least we’d be able to agree on something for once.
G B Hewitt. 17.08.2020