Richard Linklater has been on a role of sorts recently. In fact, arguably his worst film in seven years was Bernie, and that’s still an absolutely charming, enjoyable film. Since then, he’s given us the near-perfect Before Midnight, the groundbreaking Boyhood, and Everybody Wants Some!!, one of my All-Time Favorite films. His newest film, Last Flag Flying, is going to be especially odd, because it is the sequel to a 1973 New Hollywood classic, The Last Detail. Whether or not it will live up to his previous films is unknown at the moment, but it must have some level of promise, because the New York Film Festival has selected it for its Opening Night premiere.
While the original film followed three young sailors played by Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, and Otis Young (and earned Oscar nominations for the two former actors), Last Flag Flying will follow the three men now that they’re well into their 50s. Larry Meadows (Quaid, now Steve Carell) has lost his son in Iraq, and is reeling. To help him cope, his former Navy shipmates (Nicholson’s role played by Bryan Cranston and Young’s role played by Laurence Fishburne) take him on a road trip up the Eastern seaboard as they reflect on trying to find a place in modern history.
In all fairness, the opening films of the New York Film Festival are often hit and miss. Sometimes they’re great, like last year’s 13th. Sometimes they’re terrible, like The Walk. And sometimes they’re very polarizing, yet well received, like Captain Phillips and Life of Pi. However, I’m a die-hard Linklater fan, and I’ve recently started studying the days of New Hollywood, so I could not be more excited for this project. The NYFF runs from September 28th to October 15th, and I will have updates for you all on how the film fares. It will be released November 17th by Amazon Studios.