7/10 Following the multi-Oscar winning “Green Book”, Peter Farrelly pivots from green books to green jungles with another fascinating true story in the form of “The Greatest Beer Run Ever” which tells the story of Chickie Donohue (Zac Efron) who decided to deliver some beers to his buddies in Vietnam to boost their morale and show support for them. While not nearly as strong as his previous Best Picture winning film, “The Greatest Beer Run Ever” is still worth your time. Before I get into why this is a noble effort from Farrelly, I will get the negatives out of the way first. While many films can find that delicate balance between drama and comedy (dramedies), this film does have some tonal issues that can often feel clunky. For example, we will get a solid joke but then the camera pans to see the flag draped coffins of dead US service members ready to head back to the States. The joke followed directly by a sombering moment doesn’t jive at all and you need a lot more breathing room between the two moments for them to work. Also, while this true story has never been told onscreen before, there are many similar anti-war Vietnam films that cover the same moral message in better films. Everything from “Born on the Fourth of July” to “Full Metal Jacket” to “Coming Home” are able to convey the lost innocence and horror that war inevitably brings about with some stronger emotions and overall better results. While telling an original story, the overall messaging feels recycled, like an empty can of beer. That being said, this well intentioned film does have a lot going for it. Efron gives one of his best performances yet and almost makes me forgive him for his God awful “Firestarter” remake from earlier this year. His transformation from naieve slacker and blind patriot to becoming red pilled and changing perspectives, along with the guilt he carries is really a sight to behold and one scene with him and a friend’s mother near the end of the film had me in tears. The supporting cast of people like Russell Crowe and Bill Murray do the best with their limited screen time but this is Efron’s film from start to finish. As someone who served in the Marine Cops for five years, I can attest to the fact that a lot of the military moments feel extremely genuine and accurate. Despite some of those tonal issues, the comedic aspects (most of which come in the first half of the film) do provide some hilarious moments, which makes sense considering the vast majority of Farrelly’s career has been in comedy. Even though the film’s themes are nothing new, it is always a great reminder to be shown how horrible war is, how governments and media lie and distort the truth, how authority should always be questioned and how sometimes the best way to be patriotic in supporting your country is to defy your government (what a relevant time to get that message across). Despite its two hour running time, the pacing works well and the production and costumes designs do a fantastic job of re-creating the late 1960s era. The score may not be the most memorable but it gets the job done and the soundtrack has some fantastic songs without repeating the songs from The Doors and Creedence Clearwater Revival that have been overused in other Vietnam set films. In the end, this isn’t a perfect film by any means but it is still a fascinating, true story of a young man’s awakening and coming to terms with loving your country but knowing the atrocities that your government partakes in. This may not be the greatest movie ever but it does live up to the title of being the greatest beer run ever.
#FromCCRToPBR / #MakeItYourBudsFight / #KillerMyLife / #HoChiModelo / #MichelobUltraViolence / #Da5Brews

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