Bonus Watching: Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) and Knives Out (2019)
List Progress: 11/12 (+6)
November and December have apparently been big movie months for me! I haven’t finished off my list yet, but here are a couple quick reviews of additional films I’ve caught.
Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) is an interesting little indie film about a young man with Downs Syndrome (played by Zack Gottsagen) who runs away from the retirement home where he lives to try and become a professional wrestler. He runs into fisherman Tyler, played by Shia Labeouf, who is on the run from some competitors that he started a fight with, and goes on a road trip journey with him, all while being sought out by a woman from the retirement home.
This film was developed in conversation with Gottsagen and is largely inspired by his own journey to become a professional actor. It is a really charming exploration of the life his character leads and how people view him, and his friendship with Tyler is very warm and natural; his relationship with the woman from the retirement home is similarly caring and loving, while still threaded through with frustration at his situation. Where the film comes down in my eyes is when it tries to create a third leg in that triangle with a romance between Tyler and the woman. It felt very tropey and forced, in sharp contrast to the relaxed feel of the other relationships. A very sweet movie occasionally derailed by Mandatory Romance Subplot.
Would I Recommend It: Yes.
I saw Knives Out in theaters after hearing great responses from lots of people, including my fiancee. A big, silly murder mystery, Knives Out is a deliberate call-back to classics like Agatha Christie and Ira Levin, with larger than life characters and twists around every corner. The main victim is even named after an obscure Choose Your Own Adventure novel from the 80’s, The Murder of Harlowe Thrombey, which gives the strong impression that the people making this movie were a delightful batch of nerds.
My only major criticism is that in this big star-studded ensemble, the characters are not given an even amount of focus. The victim’s large family is introduced in quite succession in the beginning to establish their motives, but the film soon narrows to focus on a few key players, to the exclusion of the others. But if my worst criticism of a film is that I didn’t get to spend enough time with its very fun characters, that’s a good sign. This movie is fun, tropey in the best possible ways, and just a really good time to see in theaters.
Would I Recommend It: Definitely.