“Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.”

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Jules Asner
Staring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig , Farrah Mackenzie, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes
Release Date: August 18, 2017
IMDB

What a delightful movie! That is my first reaction. Logan Lucky is just an fucking hoot!

The Logan family is not a lucky family. Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) had a professional football career ruined by injury and we meet him as he is being let go from his job. Clyde Logan (Adam Driver) got hurt in the war and lost an arm. Neither of them have much money, but they do have their sister Mellie Logan (Riley Keough) who is just skating by trying to be an older sister and mentor to Jimmy’s daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie). The three of them need to change their fortune, and that calls for a bold plan.

Jimmy has put together a heist a speedway in North Carolina. The very same speedway that he was let go from at the start of the story. He has told his brother of his plan, and also of the set of rules that everyone in this heist must follow.

Top Ten Rules for Robbing a Bank

  1. Decide To Rob A Bank.
  2. Have A Plan.
  3. Have a Backup Plan.
  4. Establish Clear Communications.
  5. Choose Your Partners Carefully.
  6. Expect the Unexpected.
  7. Shit Happens.
  8. Don’t Get Greedy.
  9. Remember, Shit Happens.
  10. Hang Up And Know When To Walk Away.

A major step of the plan is getting the Bang family involved. Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), the explosives expert, has to be broken out of jail. Joe has some brothers who are essential to the cause, and eventually a rag-tag group of wannabe heist masters has been assembled. Logan Lucky quickly gets to the actual robbery and spends and unexpected amount of time dealing with the aftermath. It is not a bad story choice, but it is a surprising one.

Logan Lucky is hilarious. Not in the jokes, but in the quiet moments. It’s the whispering between Sam Bang (Brian Gleeson) and Fish Bang (Jack Quaid). It’s Joe Bang realizing that his chemistry was off. It’s Clyde losing his arm in the vacuum. It is the middle fingers tossed about like candy. It’s Moody Chapman (David Denman) trying to show off his cars to the always unimpressed Mellie. But throughout the movie, It’s the Game Of Thrones joke, from out of nowhere, during the prison riot. It’s Joe Bang just being being…Joe Bang.

Daniel Craig is so good in Logan Lucky. He is hilarious. If you haven’t seen Craig show his comedic chops before, then Logan Lucky is a great place to turn. His character is outrageous looking, and his mannerisms are even better. Craig is the best actor of the bunch in Logan Lucky. No one is bad in the movie, but if I were to go and revisit the 2018 Academy Awards, he would be on a short list of Supporting Actor nominee candidates.

Alright, let me look at these nominees. Sam Rockwell won for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). Willem Dafoe was nominated for The Florida Project (2017), and looking at it now, he should have won. Woody Harrelson was also nominated for Three Billboards. Richard Jenkins was called out for his effort in The Shape Of Water (2017) and the only performance I did not see was All The Money In The World (2017) and Christopher Plummer’s part. Fun fact, he was the oldest Supporting Actor nominee ever at that point.

Just looking at those nominations, I would knock out Plummer because I haven’t seen the movie. Craig was also way more memorable than Harrelson and Jenkins. Rockwell was very good, and Dafoe still deserves the reward if we are looking back in time.

Craig and Driver bringing the laughs

Adam Driver as Clyde Logan is wonderfully different than Joe Bang in the movie. Clyde is a man of few words. When he beats the shit out of Max Chilblain (Seth MacFarlane), it is done with very little pop and circumstance. He does it solely to defend his brother who was defending him. When he runs into the gas station and gets sentenced to the same prison as Joe Bang, he just takes a deep breath and BANG into the glass he goes. Love how quietly funny he is.

Jimmy Logan is the mastermind behind the heist. Channing Tatum plays the hidden genius. I think there is a connection between this character, and another project he did with Soderbergh. Magic Mike came out five years earlier in 2012, and in that movie Tatum is playing a character that is perceived one way but has a deeper furniture making side of him. He has the smarts to do something on his own and he wants to get out of the position he found himself in, but he just didn’t know how. In Logan Lucky, Tatum gets to play a character that actually takes a drastic step to change his circumstance.

Jimmy, the father and mastermind

A good heist movie needs a good payoff. It needs a conclusion that you will remember. Logan Lucky delivers in that regard. When the final moments begin unfolding, there are questions we have. Why was the money left? Where is Jimmy? What are the consequences? Why the random FBI investigators invited into the story with 20 minutes left?

Writer Jules Asner has all the answers, and they are all delivered in a wonderful way. It all comes full circle with Jimmy’s rules, and the understanding that quietly comes over all the heists participants is enough for the audience to enjoy the simple satisfaction of full closure.

I mentioned the addition of special agents near the end of the movie. It scared me. It made me very nervous. I want to give a standing ovation to Soderbergh and Asner for giving us the perfect dose of Feds. Hilary Sank comes in as Special Agent Sarah Grayson and she is trying to piece together the puzzle we saw unfold, but everyone is looking for the final piece. We get it in the shape of a shovel, but Grayson is still digging. The little footnote at the end to sew a seed of doubt is a perfect little anecdote.

Also, what if I told you that this was Asner’s only writing credit? Would you believe me?

This man just doesn’t stop making movies

This is a promise to myself. I am putting it in writing. I need to watch more Steven Soderbergh movies. The man is prolific. He churns out enjoyable movies at an astronomical level. It is honestly shocking. He has had 45 movies and I HAVE ONLY SEEN NINE. This is a crime. I am turning myself in.

For those curious (and mainly for myself), here are how I have rated the nine movies of his I have seen.

Ocean’s 11 (2001): B+ (4.0/5 Stars)
Ocean’s 12 (2004): C+ (2.5/5 Stars)
Ocean’s 13 (2007): B (3.5/5 Stars)
Contagion (2011): B+ (4.0/5 Stars)
Haywire (2012): A- (4.5/5 Stars)
Magic Mike (2012): B (3.0/5 Stars)
Logan Lucky (2017): B+ (4.0/5 Stars)
The Laundromat (2019): B+ (4.0/5 Stars)
Let Them All Talk (2020): B (3.5/5 Stars)

Soderbergh rocks. I need to watch more of him, plain and simple.

STANKO RATING: B+ (4.0/5 Stars)


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