This review of the Apple TV+ movie The Greatest Beer Run Ever contains no spoilers.
It’s hard not to get carried away by the narrative dynamics of Pierre Farrellyit is The greatest beer race of all time. There is a physical emotional road movie / journey element reminiscent of his previous film green papernot to mention his broader comedic work on the likes of Stupid and even dumberbut where his latest film controversially became the 2019 Best Picture Oscar winner, it’s no surprise he once again chose to helm a follow-up designed to appeal to both voters and to the general public while exploring the most delicate elements of America’s past.
As green book, there are so many big ideas and big themes running through it that it has the aura of wanting to be an “important movie”, but it also falls into the trap of being somewhat simplistic with the way it frames these ideas and these themes. If Farrelly’s previous movie was basically, ‘oh boy, racism is bad’, then The greatest beer race of all time can be summed up as ‘oh boy, the Vietnam War was really bad’.
You can feel where the film is going from the first moments. As soon as Zac Efron’The character of John ‘Chickie’ Donohue and his friends express their horror at the way the media portrays the Vietnam conflict in less patriotic terms and fights with anti-war protesters, it doesn’t take a degree in storytelling to tell this trip by Chickie to the war-ravaged country to deliver beer to her friends will see her change her mind.
One might cynically poke fun at the idea that everyone needs a can of beer to make a warzone sustainable, but as green book, there’s a heartwarming and safe mainstream sensibility to it all that, you can imagine, will make the film’s darker realities a little more bearable, even if it deals with them head-on.
It never shies away from the horrors of conflict, but it also filters them through a Zac Efron character who just wants to deliver a few cans of lager for “the boys” and whose political outlook changes when he sees the darkest the infrastructure of American foreign policy unfolds before his eyes.
There’s sweet humor, hard truths, and an emotional journey for our main character as he learns he has to do something with his life. It’s not about capturing the conflict in the visceral way that filmmakers such as Oliver Stone and Stanley Kubrick have managed, Farrelly instead framing the conflict in broad strokes that shift from humor to horror. There are times when it feels like it’s aiming for a vibe that wants to be both politically scary and also deeply observational, but it never quite matches the way other filmmakers have it. done in the past. Farrelly may not want to be a respectable award-winning caliber director, but he’s not quite in that ballpark.
That doesn’t mean it’s a terrible movie. At just over two hours it has a surprising sense of pacing and benefits from Farrelly’s ability to capture the most emotional moments quite well, also aided by an excellent performance from Efron and great support from Russell Crowe as that photographer that Chickie develops a friendship with in the later stages of the story.
In the end, however, despite the themes and ideas here and how easily one can enjoy them, The greatest beer race of all time ends up saying nothing more profound other than “oh boy, the Vietnam War was really bad”.
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You can watch this movie with an Apple TV+ subscription.
The ending explained for The greatest beer race of all time
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