Watching the new Peter Farrelly movie, The biggest beer race in history, and knowing little about what happened, I kept thinking this would be a totally absurd story, beyond belief if it’s not one that actually happened. In the end I saw that it is 100% true, proving that life can sometimes be stranger than fiction. As such, it turns out to be one of the most memorable and certainly moving movies of this year, as well as a Vietnam War film that couldn’t be further from The deer hunter, platoon, Y apocalypse now, but a character-driven drama that defies logic but makes you believe once again in the power of the human spirit. This is the rare Vietnam movie seen from a civilian’s point of view, a key reason it works as well as it does.
This is Farrelly’s first film since winning the Oscar for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay in 2018. Green Book, and whether it’s your lucky day or not, it just had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival at the same time and day of the week as Green Book premiered at TIFF. That movie won the often predictive Oscar TIFF People’s Choice Award. Can lightning strike twice? It doesn’t really matter because this is a movie that marches defiantly with its own drummer. It also gives Zac Efron one of the best roles of his career and Russell Crowe his second supporting role this year.
Efron plays John “Chickie” Donohue, a regular guy who spends much of his time with his friends at Doc Fiddler’s bar in Inwood, New York. It is 1967 and the Vietnam War is in full swing. Protests against him are also gathering steam, but Chickie and her Friends, along with bartender Doc aka “The Colonel” (Bill Murray in a brief, toned-down supporting role) come up with a crazy idea to support their fellow neighborhood members. whose number appeared. and they are serving in the war. The idea is simple, but it sounds a bit far-fetched to pull off: what if you could bring a little bit of home to the front lines by sharing a good can of traditional beer with the soldiers?
Chickie may not be serving in the war, but he’s a merchant seaman and very familiar with transport ships, which is key to getting to Saigon, so he volunteers, packing a duffel bag full of dozens of cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (a product placement bonanza) and gets a job in the boiler room of a ship bound for Saigon. Incredibly, he finds himself there in the heart of an increasingly controversial war, ready to hand out his beer cans and use intelligence to track down neighborhood kids wherever they are on the battlefields. Casually dressed like he does in New York, the officers initially wonder if the guy is some kind of CIA agent with an agenda. Soon, however, his mind goes out of his mind, as he must escape danger with old friends caught up in something that’s definitely not a game, like his friend Tommy Collins (Archie Renaux). There’s also a trip to a bar where he meets journalists covering the war, including Arthur Coates (Crowe), a grizzled war photographer who at first dismisses the strange Chickie, but soon finds himself intrigued by her crazy stated mission, one that makes a lot of noise. logistically easier than it turns out to be. Chickie forms a kind of instant camaraderie and partnership with Arthur, finding herself dodging bullets, bombs, and some terrifying encounters on the battlefield while doing what she came there to do, and actually meeting many of the friends who are alternately shocked. , funny. and he is horrified to see it, especially when he offers his gift of beer with the explanation that it is the only reason he has come to Vietnam. Chickie will discover, like many of us, that this war isn’t all that it’s supposed to be and she’ll get a quick education on what’s really going on, thanks in no small part to Arthur, the friends who are from hell on earth. , and witnessing barbaric acts where he least expected to find them.
As things escalate dramatically for him, the stakes are raised in terms of returning home safe and sound, but this is an experience that will change this young man forever. Based on a book by Donohue and JT Molloy, Farrelly, Brian Currie (Green Book), and Pete Jones have written a script that captures the somewhat innocent, but can-do spirit of this unique individual who has kindness in his heart and just wants to do something for the boys who suddenly find themselves on the front lines of a war that he was becoming enormously unpopular. You can also call it an awakening for Chickie himself. Yeah, it all sounds crazy, but the real Donohue had served four years in the Navy and had been to Vietnam three times before as a merchant marine, plus he had the proper security clearances to pull this off and work on a transport ship. which normally brings ammunition and supplies, but this time with Chickie back on board, beer. Now living back home and traveling in circles with a huge support for the war, well except for her own sister Christine (Ruby Ashbourne Serkis) who sees things differently, Chickie thinks she’s doing the right thing and she is, But what he discovers on his beer-drinking travels across the country, what he witnesses with his own eyes, will change him. It’s quite an adventure, to say the least.
Efron has an ideal cast, although he’s a guy with military training and knowledge, it’s his enthusiastic basic humanity and concern for his friends that makes him so appealing. He is almost an innocent as strange as he seems, until it is not The character is very eye-opening, and this is a very interesting story to show a side of the war that we haven’t seen in the movies yet. In fact, Farrelly was initially drawn to a 2015 You Tube 12-minute documentary on the “you have to see it to believe it” story, as well as the best-selling book, “The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A True Story.” . of friendship stronger than war. He immediately knew there was a movie somewhere. He was correct. The cast is important here, too, and Crowe is an excellent choice as the war-torn chronicler with a camera. After a richly fun turn this summer in Thor: love and thunder this secondary twist is again proof that this is an actor who can do just about anything. Jake Picking, Kyle Allen, Will Ropp and Will Hochman are among the other young men featured in the story.
An Apple Original Movie in association with Skydance, The biggest beer race in history it also features excellent cinematography by Sean Porter, and was produced by David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Andrew Muscato (who also did that 12-minute documentary on YouTube), and Jake Myers. It will screen in theaters before it begins streaming on September 30.