When people in the entertainment industry make a production about how they’re retiring, I just roll my eyes. It all started in the early ‘90s when I was a DJ at a rock station and Ozzy Osbourne went on his “No More Tours” tour. That lasted a few years, before he started his annual Ozz-fest tours and reunited Black Sabbath a number of times.
The Who has done a number of “farewell” tours.
The most recent Hollywood talent to claim they’re retiring is Daniel Day-Lewis.
A few years ago it was Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh who said he was retiring. I didn’t really sweat that. I figured he’d be back, and frankly, he’s highly overrated. Now, I loved Side Effects and Out of Sight. The HBO movie Behind the Candelabra was okay. The first Ocean’s Eleven was okay. The others were lame. Magic Mike sucked, as did Contagion and The Girlfriend Experience. The Informant and Bubble were okay. Traffic might be the most overrated movie ever. Not a single character in that acted anything like a real life people do or would.
The film Haywire got all this critic praise, and had absolutely no plot. It was a well-choreographed series of fight scenes.
The title Logan Lucky made me think of Magic Mike, and the premise made me think of an Ocean’s film. A group of guys decide to rob a big NASCAR race. The brains behind this is Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum). He’s fired from his construction job when the foreman sees him limping from an old football injury.
The Logan family had never been that lucky. The injury cut short what would’ve been an NFL career, but maybe his luck is changing. At the construction site they were working under the race track in North Carolina, and this leads him to believe he knows all the ways to pull off the ultimate heist.
As he drives his old truck, he plays John Denver (didn’t we just see them play Denver in Free Fire? Okay Hollywood, let’s give the cheesy Denver songs a rest.). But hey…maybe it works because his family is living in West Virgina, mountain mama, take me home…oops, sorry. Anyway, his ex-wife (my wife had to point out that it was Katie Holmes; I didn’t recognize her) has custody of their daughter (the adorable Farrah Mackenzie). She’s planning to move farther away. So he goes to his brother Clyde (Adam Driver), who is missing an arm, but can sling drinks at a bar like he’s in the movie Cocktail. He’s game to attempt the heist, as is their hairstylist sister Mellie (Riley Keough), which doesn’t make a lot of sense, as she seems to be doing okay for herself.
A bunch of hillbillies are brought in to fill out the crew. It seems crazy that you would need a couple of brothers (Jack Quaid, Brian Gleeson) that entertain themselves by playing horseshoes with broken toilet seats; but they have to use those brothers because they have a smart brother (Joe Bang) that can help them out. He’s a bomb and chemistry expert, but the problem with using him is that he retired from a life of crime. Oh, and he’s in the clinker. That means the guys will have to first break him out of jail to get this up and running. Yeah, there are lots of points in the movie where you realize how unrealistic all of this is, but…you still have fun rolling with it. The way they get him out of the jail is inspired. It’s also an all-star cast. Which reminds me, the first few scenes I didn’t realize who Joe Bang was. I leaned in and said to my wife, “That guy looks like a combination of Steve McQueen and Daniel Craig.”
She replied, “Uh, that’s because it is Daniel Craig.”
His hick American accent, and buzz cut, dyed blonde hair, tattooed arms…made him almost unrecognizable.
The third actor I didn’t recognize (until the closing credits), was Seth MacFarlane. He wore a wig that would put Rick James to shame, as well as a huge mustache, and a British accent. He’s a race car/energy drink mogul that’s obnoxious to everyone he comes across. It was a fun role, but needed to be taken down a notch. Another thing that could’ve been scaled back a bit were the country bumpkin jokes that don’t work.
Dwight Yoakam, who’s always welcome on screen, plays a shady Warden.
For some reason, the characters’ personalities made this all a bit lackluster at times. For a heist movie, the rhythm didn’t feel quite right. You feel like you’ve seen this all before, too. Hilary Swank is perfectly cast as a Fed investigating the heist, but sometimes it feels like she’s in a different movie.
The movie may have dropped the ball with John Denver songs and being the 100th movie to use CCR’s “Fortunate Son,” but it gets credit for using Bo Diddley’s “Roadrunner” and Dr. John’s “Storm Warning.” The original score was done by David Holmes and it’s good.
The movie is a bit of a mess, but you’ll have fun watching it. Isn’t that what going to the movies is all about?
3 stars out of 5.