Three reasons LOGAN LUCKY is like watching Nascar
If Ocean’s Eleven had a charming cousin from North Carolina, it’d be Steven Soderbergh’s latest heist comedy Logan Lucky.
That certain cousin says some outlandishly funny things in his southern drawl, mostly waxing on about his love for Dale Earnhardt and Coors Light, but he’s a little long in the tooth. Watching Logan Lucky is like chatting up that cousin and watching Nascar on a Sunday afternoon. Here are three reasons why:
1. Logan Lucky is brimming with charismatic characters.
Like many Nascar drivers, Channing Tatum has strung together some early wins in his career, and although the losses have accumulated of late, his fanbase remains loyal. Logan Lucky is that elusive victory for Tatum. He plays Jimmy Logan, one half of the ‘unlucky’ Logan brothers. Jimmy just lost his job running heavy equipment at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and his daughter and ex-wife are skipping town soon. Tatum sports a limp and subtle twang, and he plays the lead well. Adam Driver is the other Logan half, Clyde. He lost his arm in the war and now serves drinks in the local tavern. He’s glum and loyal. The brothers desire to change their luck and plan a heist of the iconic Charlotte speedway. They’ll need the help of local bad guy Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) though. All three actors couldn’t be more likable in their respective roles. They’re backed by wonderful performances from Farrah Mackenzie as Jimmy’s daughter, Riley Keough as the Logan sister, Katie Holmes as Jimmy’s ex-wife, and Seth MacFarlane as an offensive Nascar sponsor.
2. Logan Lucky is a modern American tall tale.
You remember that story your uncle tells about the big fish that nearly sank his boat? Tall tales are a fundamental component of American literature featuring ordinary men and women accomplishing extraordinary feats. The Logan brothers are some good old boys down on their luck, the archetypal American working class heroes. Their heist is risky and the involved players are undoubtedly unqualified. Key elements of the heist hinge on cockroaches and gummy bears. Where Ocean’s Eleven was sexy and concise, Logan Lucky is dirty and loose. Soderbergh, who directed both, is clearly in his element and understands the material.
3. Logan Lucky feels like race day.
Nascar racing is the family sporting event that continues to grow in popularity in the United States. The excitement of the race is dictated by the pace. Like drivers falling into the ideal racing line and knocking out miles, Lucky lulls for long stretches as it lays its groundwork for the finale. I just wanted to get up, grab a beer and tend the grill at times. It felt like Sunday. There are moments of witty dialogue exchanges, but mostly the movie is on cruise control until Soderbergh steps on the gas, tightens the gaps and gives us an exciting finish. You can skip a few chapters, head straight for the heist and be perfectly satisfied.
Logan Lucky marks Steven Soderbergh’s return to making movies after a self-imposed retirement. The Ocean’s and Magic Mike director has never been my personal cup of tea, but he has created a really good independent film. How’s that you say? Logan Lucky bucks traditional Hollywood distribution, putting marketing and control into the hands of Soderbergh and distribution through the Bleecker Street indie label, all in the name of putting more profits into the hands of the creatives. Like the motivations of his Logan characters, Soderbergh is finally sticking it to the man. We’ll see if the risk pays off August 18th.