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Last Flag Flying (2017)

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Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry "Doc" Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War.

Director:

Richard Linklater

Writers:

Richard Linklater (screenplay by), Darryl Ponicsan (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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4,219 ( 309)
2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bryan Cranston ... Sal Nealon
Laurence Fishburne ... Reverend Richard Mueller
Steve Carell ... Larry 'Doc' Shepherd
J. Quinton Johnson ... Washington
Deanna Reed-Foster ... Ruth
Yul Vazquez ... Colonel Wilits
Graham Wolfe ... John Redman
Jeff Monahan ... O'Toole
Dontez James Dontez James ... DAFB Guard
Tammy Tsai ... Mother (Irene)
Richard Barlow ... Angry Father
Cathy O'Dell ... Grieving Mother
Jane Mowder Jane Mowder ... Rental Truck Employee
Richard Robichaux ... Anorak
Jerry Lee Tucker ... Raincoat
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Storyline

In 2003, 30 years after they served together in the Vietnam War, former Navy Hospital Corpsman Larry "Doc" Shepherd re-unites with ex-Marines Sal and Mueller on a different type of mission: to bury Doc's son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War. Doc decides to forgo burial at Arlington Cemetery and, with the help of his old buddies, takes the casket on a bittersweet trip up the East Coast to his home in suburban New Hampshire. Written by Dave

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Their Last Mission Wasn't On The Battlefield

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 November 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Last Flag Flying See more »

Filming Locations:

Pittsburgh ,Pennsylvania, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$40,558, 5 November 2017

Gross USA:

$965,481

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,869,037
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steve Carell consulted with his father, a WWII veteran, to prepare for his role. See more »

Goofs

Colonel Wilits is wearing silver jump wings with a star above it. Only the army wears this badge, the Marines wear basic silver jump wings if they have fewer than 10 jumps or no combat jumps. Otherwise, they have gold wings. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sal Nealon: If you could just see yourself right now. You look like you just had a lobotomy. What's wrong with you?
O'Toole: [sitting on his barstool] This is reality.
Sal Nealon: Reality? My ass. It's all made-up. Let me ask you this, huh, how many times on this show have you seen the cops arrest, you know, killers and-and rapists or something like that? How many times did they slap the cuffs on some crooked CEO fuck?
See more »


Soundtracks

Not Dark Yet
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by Bob Dylan
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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User Reviews

 
no need for the Shore Patrol
8 November 2017 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Apprehension and trepidation are the emotions that strike whenever anyone compares a movie to the classic 1973 Hal Ashby/ Jack Nicholson film THE LAST DETAIL. That holds true even if the novel the film is based on was written by the same author (Darryl Ponicson) who wrote "The Last Detail" (1970), and even if the new film is directed by one of the finest directors working today – Richard Linklater. This latest doesn't play like a true sequel, but the reuniting of three men who served together in Vietnam does hammer home a couple of interesting statements while also delivering the type of dramedy that 2017 audiences tend to connect with.

Larry "Doc" Shepherd (Steve Carell), a former Navy medic, has had the type of year that no one deserves. It's 2003 and he has just been notified that his Marine son was killed in action while on duty in the war in Iraq. This comes only a few months after Doc lost his beloved wife to breast cancer. It's too much for him to handle on his own, so he embarks on a mission to ask his Vietnam buddies from three decades prior to accompany him to claim his son's body at Arlington National Cemetery.

His two buddies are former Marines Sal Nealon (Bryan Cranston) and Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishbourne). Sal is a washed out dive bar owner and Mueller is now the Reverend at a small church. The three men share the burden of a war secret that each has tried to forget, and they begin what's basically a road trip movie of middle aged men bonding during what is the absolute low point in life for one of them. Simultaneously, it also seems like an opportunity for all three to rejoin the living.

Lost idealism is the shared trait now among the three men, though their levels of cynicism vary. Edwin Starr sang it, and the characters in this movie openly question: War … What is it good for? Doc, Sal and Mueller have separated themselves from memories of war in three distinct ways – family, booze, and God. It's only by reconnecting with each other that they begin the long overdue process of reflection. TV's are tuned to the capture of Saddam Hussein from the spider-hole, and the similarities of the Vietnam and Iraq wars are contemplated. These are patriotic men who once trusted the government, but are now so disenchanted they ask "what's the point?"

Mr. Cranston has the showiest role, but it's Mr. Carell who shines as the still-in-shock father. J Quinton Johnson also excels as the young Marine charged with accompanying the gentlemen, and the best scene of the film features Cicely Tyson as the mother of a long ago fallen soldier who crossed paths with the three leads. As you might expect in a Linklater movie, the musical choices are unusual and spot on. Bob Dylan ("Not Dark Yet"), Neil Young ("Old Man"), Eminem ("Without Me"), and Levon Helm ("Wide River to Cross") are all included.

The film is certainly an unusual blend of comedy, tragic drama, and contemporary political commentary. Unfortunately, the contrivances are too many and too frequent to allow the film and characters to breathe and achieve the greatness of a true message movie. It teases us with flashes us brilliance and then pokes us in the ribs with another goofy sidebar as if to say "just kidding". It seems this would have been better served as an intimate portrayal of these three aging men who were willing to die for their country than as a giant political anti-war statement and an accusation of how evil the government is. The ultimate message Linklater drills home: be a good friend, and be a good person. We can never have enough of those.


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