- Run time: 2 hours 6 minutes
- Studio: Living Films
- Director: Peter Farrelly
- Where to Watch: Apple TV+
John “Chickie” Donohue is a former marine and current merchant sailor who lives with is family in the neighborhood of Inwood, New York City. He sleeps all day, drinks all night, and is gone for long stretches of time at work while Vietnam is in full swing. After learning that one of his friends is MIA and that several others have been killed, Chickie decides he’s had enough. In a drunken burst of confidence, Chickie declares he’s going to go to Vietnam and deliver beer to all the Inwood kid’s currently deployed in the war. While Chickie is in Vietnam, he begins to understand what he’s seeing – the carnage and needless violence that looks to be accomplishing nothing.
Starring Zac Efron, The Greatest Beer Run Ever is an Apple TV+ original production based on a novel of the same name. The novel is written by the real life John “Chick” Donohue and it is a true story. The movie does borrow major plot points from the novel and splices in a few social commentary moments and as well as a few new characters that don’t exist in the original story. It is ultimately a compelling enough story, but not so compelling or neatly presented that I was able to keep my eyes on the screen the entire time. My attention frequently found its way over to Twitter or some other application.
Efron’s performance is “mid” as the kids would say. There’s nothing exceptional here from the High School Musical star and even though he’s expanded his repertoire the past few years, drama isn’t really his thing yet. Maybe another couple tries and he might have a really good performance, but I’ve yet to personally see anything or hear any buzz regarding anything truly exceptional from him. There is one shot where Efron sits and contemplates some horrible thing he just saw and it looks like he’s just bored in a waiting room. Laughable at best. The other major stars in this movie are Russel Crowe, who portrays a fictional journalist named Arthur Coates, and Bill Murray, who plays a bartender named “Colonel”. Both Crowe and Murray are about what you’d expect in a movie like this. Crowe is a hardass with a few “profound” lines and Murray is comedic relief that reminds you of that one grandparent or uncle that is a little stuck in their ways and always brings up politics.
The writing that moves the cinematic version of Chickie through the story is sub par at best. The phrase “Truth is stranger than fiction” only applies to the real life events that were lifted straight out of the novel. Certain aspects that were added in to crank up the drama came off as overly preachy about a conflict that most people under the age of 30 would agree was a total disaster for everyone involved. Similarly, the dialogue was sub par at best. Basically every single person Chickie met in Vietnam said “Chickie? you gotta get outta here!” at least three times and it got old quick. There wasn’t anything beyond that. This could have been a much shorter movie, but instead it’s overly drawn out with poor character interactions.
The camerawork in The Greatest Beer Run Ever is decent, but again, there’s nothing special to really call out. It looked like a normal action comedy, with plenty of needless explosion shots and over the shoulder dialogue cuts. The landscape looked gorgeous, even though it was Thailand and not really Vietnam. The soundtrack was alright, with just a couple recognizable songs for this millennial. This is definitely not a movie to watch if you’re expecting anything visually stunning or some majestic sound track. I’m honestly surprised that Apple TV even picked this one up, it just doesn’t have any amount of polish or “wow” factor that one would expect.
The Greatest Beer Run Ever is a 2022 Apple TV+ original directed by Peter Farrelly. Starring Zac Efron as Chickie Donohue, this is the story of a man who wanted to bring a few beers to his buddies deployed to Vietnam. With Russel Crowe and Bill Murray joining the supporting cast, this mis-adventurous tale is packed with plenty of commentary about Vietnam but not much else. There is no killer scene or must see moment that would justify having an Apple TV+ subscription AND THEN clicking on this movie. It is an extremely mediocre movie, great for background noise during work or writing reviews for other movies.