Food: Down in the Lower East Side is a bar called The Flower Shop, which has a cool curtain that you must walk through upon entry, and a basement stocked with a pool table, photo-booth, and lounge seats. They have a delectable food menu as well. When my friend held a 70s theme dress up birthday party there, including dinner to start, I got the cheeseburger and added avocado to it, with the side salad. It was a decent burger and to top it off, I enjoyed (one too) many “Pirate’s Rose” cocktails which I highly recommend.
Film: “The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a story co-written and co-directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, about a man with Down Syndrome, Zak, who is forced to live in a nursing home because the state has deemed that, due to lack of family, it is the only place that he can receive proper care.
Zak is played wonderfully by Zack Gottsagen in a breakout performance. In the home, he has a few friends – notably, a young woman who works at the facility, Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), and his roommate, an old man, Carl, played by the iconic Bruce Dern. Seeing Zak’s desperation to find adventure, live on his own, and eventually become a wrestler (like his hero Salt Water Redneck played by Thomas Haden Church), Carl helps him escape, running out into the world with only a pair of underwear to his name.
Simultaneously, we meet Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), who has just had an altercation with some local bullies, and is forced on the run. Tyler takes off in his rugged boat, and finds Zak snoozing in the back. Eleanor is searching for Zak, and Tyler is hiding from his enemies, so together the two find themselves banded together like outlaws. The two eventually develop a friendship, navigating their way through the swamp lands side by side. With masterful cinematography by Nigel Bluck, you can feel the grime and mud caked to the skin, smell the sweat and humid air, and the heat of the sun.
It is not devoid of clichés, but the chemistry and simplicity of the story allows it to work without feeling contrived. Strung together with the whimsy of Bluegrass and gospel hymns, each scene captures the magic of the human experience with simplicity and sweetness. “The Peanut Butter Falcon” will leave you feeling like you just received the most gratifying hug. A must see.