On the last Livestream, Drunken Yoda said something I have been hearing a lot lately. He mentioned he had been watching more and more older films. Lots of people I know are completely sick and tired of the lack of quality in modern film. A lot of movie fans are looking to the past for quality movies, and to fill the every deepening void in their souls left by a general lack of really, truly good flicks. Flicks like The Last Detail.
I sympathize with that, and I would like to try to help introduce you to some stuff you may not have seen. Not my usual selection of seedy, degrading trash and exploitation films. No, something even the big brains in places like the New York Times would clap like seals for. So let’s take a look.
The Last Detail is a 1973 comedy drama and it is is superb. The film stars Jack Nicholson, Otis Young and Randy Quaid. Yes… I know, but he is great in this.
The Last Detail is about two navy lifers who are assigned a temporary detail while waiting for their permanent assignment. They have to serve as shore patrol and escort young Quaid to a military prison in Maine from Virginia. Quaid stole $40 from a fund raiser that was run by some upper echelon officer’s wife and as a result he had the book thrown at him. He is looking at eight years followed by a dishonorable discharge.
Jack and Otis aren’t too keen on this shit detail, but they have no choice. They start out on this journey not liking Quaid, but once they get to know him they start to feel sorry for the kid. They know a stint in a military prison is pretty much life ruining for an 18-year-old kid.
Having a week, and travel money, it doesn’t take long for the two lifers to decide to show the kid a good time and see the sights in the major cities on the Eastern seaboard before he goes away for eight years. cities while showing the kid a good time before he starts his 8 year sentence.
The adventures, and misadventures, they get into on the way make some compelling viewing. Moments are really poignant and melancholic. You get to know all three of these guys, their lives and dreams. It’s considered a comedy and there is comedy in there, but its a lot more than that. It is one hell of a good film. As the kids would say these days, it’s kino.
The Last Detail is a great movie made during that time Hollywood was making high quality films that spoke to the human condition. If you have never seen it, do yourself a favor and watch this one.