The Last Detail was one of the quintessential movies of the “New Hollywood” movement of the 1970s, a rude, brash loogie in the face of traditional storytelling and authoritarian attitudes. Much of its appeal was based on the specific moment in which it was released, the charisma of stars Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, and Otis Young, and the offhand skill of its director, the late, great Hal Ashby – so you can understand how a forty-some years later follow-up, featuring none of the original personnel, sounds somewhat less than promising.
But Richard Linklater is a director who has made many a great movie out of a risky proposition. Plus, Last Flag Flying is based on the 2005 novel by Darryl Ponicsan, who wrote the novel upon which The Last Detail was based, so its pedigree is in order (Ponicsan also collaborated with Linklater on the screenplay). And while Detail’s cast seems irreplaceable, it’s hard to look askance at a movie with the good sense to place Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, and Laurence Fishburne in its leading roles (filling the shoes of Nicholson, Quaid, and Young, respectively).
The first trailer for Last Flag Flying doesn’t mention The Last Detail explicitly, though those who’ve seen it will make the connection. This is a trailer for Joe Moviegoer, positioning the picture as a fall prestige drama (complete with mentions of the director and stars’ earlier Oscar nominations) and spotlighting its focus on service, friendship, and family. Take a look:
Last Flag Flying opens the New York Film Festival on September 28 before hitting select cities on November 3rd.