James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.
James Clay // Film Critic
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON checks off every indie cinematic trope you can imagine. It’s a film deeply rooted in unabashed emotional sentimentality it’s impossible to resist. Usually, this is a kiss of death for scrappy little films who are able to get a movie star to star alongside a group of unknowns, but this is not the case.
Directors Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz created a film that works as a fable straight from the pen of Mark Twain. Where a lonely man drifting through life encounters another type of wayward soul (Zach Gottsagen), who has been treated as an outcast but on his way to forge a new path at a wrestling school owned by his childhood hero (Thomas Haden Church). Dakota Johnson and Bruce Dern star alongside.
Here is an excerpt from our theatrical review out of SXSW:
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON isn’t exactly a dark drama, despite its themes; however, it’s not exactly a comedy either. It appears that Nilson and Schwartz found a slice of life to depict on screen, one that opens us up to a person we never would have known otherwise. Gottsagen isn’t used as the film’s mascot but as the leader of a project that could not exist without his abilities. Both Zac and Tyler struggle with finding their place in life. This may come off as surface-level indie fodder, but with the unbridled joy the filmmakers and actors put into this project, it sings with profound existentialism.
As we go on this journey, it’s easy to settle into the dangerous yet relaxing vibes of the deep south. At the end of the tunnel is a romanticism for life, to drink it all in with a smile on your face and to expect the impossible.
Special Features: A photo gallery and a making-of featurette.
When describing the Seth Rogen produced comedy GOOD BOYS, it will always be prefaced with the asterisk, “the one with the foul-mouthed sixth graders.” With heart and the right casting and humor, the Gene Stupnitski comedy goes a bit beyond the sensationalized premise, and the formula proved to be a big hit for the pint-sized stars (Jacob Tremblay, Kenneth L. Williams, Brady Noon). This film seriously stuck around for weeks upon weeks as the dog days of summer wained on through August and into Labor Day weekend.
It’s fitting that a movie that relies so heavily on a turn of phrase stuck around so long through word of mouth. Despite the target audience not being able to purchase a ticket, people flocked to see this comedy, which is rare these days. GOOD BOYS is a ton of fun, and surely now that it’s hitting Blu-ray and digital middle-school students will be sneaking this one into their next sleepover.
Here’s an excerpt from our theatrical review of GOOD BOYS:
In spite of having more a progressive outlook on adolescence, GOOD BOYS owes a debt of gratitude to Rogen’s seminal film SUPERBAD. Both films are about a similar topic. Ironically, GOOD BOYS, in many ways, is more mature.
There’s a version of this film that would fall flat and be a cringeworthy mess ripe with inappropriate jokes keen on exploiting its cast. While imperfect, GOOD BOYS captures the authenticity of what it feels like to discover cuss words and start becoming hormonal. Directing his first feature, Stupnitsky mines solid performances from all three of his actors, who seem to be entirely at ease on camera. It could be a testament to his natural ability to find humor in human moments or the talent of his actors. Either way, GOOD BOYS is far more successful than many studio comedies this year.
Special Features: Feature Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Ending, Gag Reel and a slew of featurettes including Bad Girls, A Fine Line, Guest Stars and Ask Your Parents.
Feature Commentary: Not screened yet, but shout out to Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg for keeping these things alive.
Deleted Scenes: Totaling 11 minutes in length all of these snippets are funny, but either don’t add much to the story or come across a bit mean spirited, which isn’t the vibe or style of humor these filmmakers are looking to achieve. For example, the boys barf in a ball pit only to have a bunch of younger kids jump in after, or the boys peeking a woman breastfeeding in the mall. The highlight comes in a scene following a kiss during a spin the bottle game. The comedic timing from these kiddos is perfect.
Featurettes: These are mainly 2-4 minute anecdotal set visits that talk about what the kids can and can’t say at home, the famous faces who make cameos in the film and chronicling the young women who are chasing the boys down in search of getting their drugs back. The highlight is seeing the pure joy in these kids’ faces as they break rules and discover the funnier side to life.
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON and GOOD BOYS are now available on Blu-ray and digital.