War shouldn’t be so bland: The Greatest Beer Run Ever review

The biggest beer race of all time: important information

– Available now on Apple TV Plus
– Based on the true story of John “Chickie” Donohue, who traveled to Vietnam to hand-deliver a beer to all his friends who served in the war
– Written and directed by Green Book Oscar winner Peter Farrelly
– Stars Zac Efron as Chickie
– Russell Crowe and Bill Murray have supporting roles

Vietnam changed the way Hollywood handled the war. While WWII movies predominantly celebrated Allied soldiers (aka the good guys) overcoming the forces of evil, the long-running conflict in the Far East was not so easy to classify. Many of Vietnam’s best films (Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, Platoon) were made about a decade after the end of the war, when it was still raw and part of the public consciousness. As a result, the filmmakers weren’t just exploring the horrors of war, but the social consequences and political motivations of battles fought halfway around the world.

You’d think a few more decades of contemplation would provide a whole new perspective on a war that ended nearly five decades ago – like the one Spike Lee brought to 2020’s emotional, visceral and highly political Da 5 Bloods (available on Netflix). Unfortunately, The Greatest Beer Run Ever’s ambitions aren’t that great, because for most of its runtime, war is a mild inconvenience, a backdrop for a reckless trip with occasional fireworks displays. And while the film walks with its classic Vietnam iconography — the helicopters, the napalm, a 1960s iTunes playlist — it also has very little to say. War is hell, the old saying goes, but it has rarely been so shallow.

Chickie didn’t read the part that mentioned the dress code. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Based on a true story?

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