I had the amazing opportunity to see an advance screening of The Peanut Butter Falcon with a Q&A with the directors (Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz) after the movie. To prepare for the Q&A, I went through their IMDB and watched everything I could find. This is their first feature-length movie, but they have made a few short films and commercials in the past. To prepare for the Q&A, I went through their IMDB and watched everything I could find. The standouts were some commercials starring the Free Solo guy before he was the Free Solo guy, and their short film: The Moped Diaries. The Moped Diaries is a tribute to rural childhood’s best and worst moments. It has a lot of great ideas, but the inexperienced cast and confinement to a short film’s structure hold it back from greatness. Five years after The Moped Diaries, they have achieved greatness with The Peanut Butter Falcon.
Going into the movie, I had two major fears:
1: It would be unbearably and unrealistically positive and feel like a bad religious movie.
2: It wouldn’t treat their star with down syndrome with respect.
Both of those fears washed away within the first five minutes. The Peanut Butter Falcon is the sweetest movie I have ever seen, but it doesn’t feel disingenuous. It doesn’t pretend that people like Zach (our lead) don’t go through awful shit, and because the movie is brave enough to show that, it makes the friendship between Zach and Shia Lebouef’s character stand out much more. The movie’s script is so tight and so charming, and it also has a lot of interesting things to say. (A speech that Shia’s character gives to Dakota Johnson’s character is especially profound.) On top of the amazing script is three fantastic performances and some amazing directing that showcases the beauty of the south.
(Also, I got to talk to the directors for thirty minutes afterwards and it was amazing.)