Malden Public Library Hosts Movie Night Featuring Film Peanut Butter Falcon

On March 13th, the Malden Public Library hosted a movie night screening of the film The Peanut Butter Falcon and a 15-minute preview of the film Lives Worth Living. The film Lives Worth Living is about how adults and children with disabilities get treated worse than others and are found to be “less human” than everyone else. In the preview, the film shows people with disabilities getting put into mental hospitals, and the mental hospital they are put in is described as dirty and smelly. This film brings attention to the struggles of people with disabilities and the unfairness in their treatment.

Poster showcasing movies being shown at the Malden Public Library ASHTON CALIXTE

The event organizer, Stacy Holder, hosted the movie night along with Malden Reads. Entering attendees received a pamphlet showing the book of the month, Being Heumann by Judith Heumann; the book is a memoir from a disability activist. The event was hosted in the Maccario room where light drinks and food were provided such as diet coke, water, chips, and mini cupcakes. 

“This is not the first movie night I've been to, I realized that I am seeing the same people most of the time at these events,” stated Oliver Jean Mardy, one of the attendees.

As the preview was shown, there was a short pause for questions, thoughts, or comments; after that, the movie began to play. 

At the beginning of the film, the audience is introduced to many characters, but the main three are Tyler, Zak, and Eleanor. Tyler is introduced as a character who does what he can to survive including stealing from other people's crab pots which gets him into trouble; Zak is a man with Down syndrome who lives in a home for the elderly because his family left him—but since he is 22 years old, there isn't anywhere else for him to go, so Zak gets put at flight risk when he gives an old lady his cup of pudding in exchange for her to pretend she was choking so he can escape; and Eleanor worked with Zak and became his caretaker after his attempt failed.

Zak made a final attempt to escape by squeezing through the bars of his window using soap on his body, running through the streets with just his underwear, and hiding out in Tyler's boat. After Tyler gets beat up for stealing from crab pots that did not belong to him, he decides to burn all of the gear that belonged to the owner of the crab pots and drives away on his boat with Zak still in it, and with that, the journey with Tyler and Zak begin. 

Zak's dream is to be a professional wrestler after watching a tape several times a day of a wrestler called The Salt Water Redneck, and he wants to attend his wrestling school. At first, Tyler did not want anything to do with Zak, but after realizing he would not survive without his help, he decided to let him come along on the journey. Tyler's dream was to escape the crab pot owners who were hunting him and go to Florida, and the wrestling school was along the way.

Throughout the film, Zak and Tyler grow closer from strangers to brothers. For example, whenever Zak and Tyler had a moment together, the camera would flash to a memory of Tyler's biological brother whom he lost after Tyler fell asleep while driving and the car crashed. 

One night, Tyler asks Zak what his alter ego name would be, and Zak comes up with “Falcon.” But after smearing peanut butter on his face, he comes up with the name “Peanut Butter Falcon,” which is where the film's title comes from. Eleanor caught up with Zak and Tyler and joined them on their journey to the wrestling school, knowing that Zak was finally living his life and finally had the freedom that he desired.

But when they arrived, they found out the wrestling school is closed, and Salt Water Redneck is retired so they began to leave. However, Salt Water Redneck fulfilled Zak’s dream by coming back and teaching him a few moves. Zak gets set up with his first fight, but while fighting he gets punched around until he lifts up his opponent and throws him out of the ring while the crab pot owners catch up to Tyler and beat him with a metal pipe. 

The last scene of the movie shows Eleanor and Zak arriving in Florida. Still, there is no sign of Tyler until Zak reaches in the back seat announcing they are in Florida and the camera shows a badly beat-up Tyler with bandages on his head—showing that the three of them had a happy ending. While the film ended, the big group of mixed ages that attended let out a loud round of applause.

“I found it really interesting that the movie was about someone with Down syndrome because you don't really see that in movies nowadays. This movie shows the real struggles of people with disabilities and what they go through,” stated Malden High School sophomore Raphael Sanchez. “I feel like the library does a good job promoting these events and I definitely will be going to the next movie night,” he concluded.

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