Friday, September 30, 2022

Two more TIFF movies compete: A recent 'Beer Run' and an older 'House'

Having covered the venerable, 47-year-old Toronto International Film Festival for more than three decades, I often have repeated that, no matter where or when I see a TIFF film in person, it's almost certain to show up somewhere to watch again.

Such is the case with a world premiere I attended there just about a year ago, but let's begin with another debut from the latest TIFF in mid-September. That would be "The Greatest Beer Run Ever," a film whose title actually may be among the worst ever.

Fortunately, get past the frat-boy sound of it all and there's some depth in this based-on-truth story from director Peter Farrelly, whose last reality tale, "Green Book," also premiered at TIFF (in 2018), collected the coveted "People's Choice Award," then won the Best Picture Oscar. 

No awards will be handed out for this one, but as that title promises, there is plenty of lager -- particularly Pabst Blue Ribbon -- to be passed around from merchant mariner "Chickie" Donohue (a likable lug personified by Zac Efron) to New York neighborhood buddies serving in the ever-controversial Vietnam War, circa 1967. 

Donohue's idea comes at the local beer joint (where else?) during a bull session presided over by a patriotic bar keep (who else but Bill Murray?), and the rest results in a legendary stunt filled with equal parts risk, history, and heart. The requisite photos during the end credits tie it all into a nice bow, too.

Rated "R" by MPAA: language and some war violence; 2:07; $ $ $ out of $5

("The Greatest Beer Run Ever" opens today in a few theaters AND starts streaming on AppleTV+.)

Now to that aforementioned film from last year's Toronto fest. It's called "The Good House," nicely geared to take advantage of the lead character's name, Hildy Good, and profession, a realtor. (Narrator Hildy also tells us, "I need a good year," and perhaps she's not simply talking about selling more homes.) 

Most importantly and certainly the best thing about "Good" is the woman who plays her, Sigourney Weaver. Always a wise performer, Weaver gets the most out of Hildy's particular flaws, memories, and distinct connections to a community with the "best damn views on the north shore of Boston." 

Why her grand performance took so long to earn release is anyone's guess, but we'll try to provide one: As based on a novel by Ann Leary, the decidedly grown-up telling from mature co-directors Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky overflows with real life, while even including an easy-listening soundtrack and equally easy-going support from Kevin Kline. If you're a genuine adult who's been avoiding going out to the movies like, uh . . . well the plague, then you might want to look for it now only in theaters.

Rated "R" by MPAA: brief sexuality and language; 1:43; $ $ $ out of $5

(Also new in theaters today is Bros, still another TIFF world premiere but one that I somehow actually missed; Devil's Workshop, which is also available On Demand, and Smile. New streamers include "Hocus Pocus 2" on Disney+ and "My Best Friend's Exorcism" on Prime Video).

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