The Greatest Beer Run Ever
The worst beer run ever.
While there are a number of problems with this film, the most disappointing was wasting the talents of Russell Crowe and Bill Murray. They added little to a film that foolishly tried to add some dignity to our country’s disastrous role in the Vietnam War.
Despite the fact that the film is based on a true story, I found it insulting from the beginning to end. Zac Efron is miscast as Chickie Donohue, a New Yorker who spends most of his time getting drunk in a bar with friends. It’s 1967 and the boys are irritated by war protestors marching in the street.
Chickie decides to travel to Vietnam with luggage filled with beer to show support for the soldiers, some of whom he knows. He stupidly didn’t realize the dangers he would be facing, leaving him confronting his support of America’s war effort.
There are a number of minor roles that add little meaning to the film. Murray and Crowe, playing a New York bartender and a reporter in Vietnam, are little more than a distraction. The only memorable performances are provided by Ruby Ashbourne Serkis and Kaye Tran.
Ruby plays Chickie’s sister Christine, a smart young woman opposed to the war. Mr. Tran appears as Oklahoma, a Vietnam police officer who befriends Chickie. Both find a way to provide some meaning to a meaningless film.
Having graduated from college in 1969, this film touched a nerve that I will always remember. Like many, I was protesting the war as I watch nightly news reports on the thousands of American soldiers being killed.
With my college draft deferment ending after graduating, I was classified as “1-A” despite being partially blind in one eye. Had I not won an appeal and received a “4-F” standing, I know that my name would be on the War Memorial in Washington, that honors soldiers killed in combat.
This war was a gigantic mistake and over 50,000 American boys were buried by shocked parents. It was appalling to watch Efron and his young friends support this war and it took great effort to watch this 2-hour insulting movie. It reminded me of a protest chant we frequently used:
“Hell no, we won’t go!”