Richard Linklater Lays a Soldier to Rest with First ‘Last Flag Flying’ Trailer
Ugh, when will Hollywood get some new ideas? It seems like everything these days is just sequel, reboot, remake, sequel, spin-off, sequel, in an endless feedback loop of creative deadness. And now we’ve got Richard Linklater going back to the 1973 film The Last Detail in search of a subject, as his new project Last Flag Flying rejoins the main characters a few decades out from their military service. It’s like, hello? Get some fresh material, Linklater! Everybody’s doing stone-faced Hal Ashby homage these days!
But yes, in what looks like the least sequelly sequel of the year, Linklater shows former privates Larry Meadows, Mule Mulhall, and Badass Buddusky as they reach late-middle age. (For the record, Jack Nicholson grew into Bryan Cranston, Otis Young became Laurence Fishburne, and Randy Quaid matured into Steve Carell.) Larry gets his old gang back together for some reminiscing over the old days, but he's got an ulterior motive. His son was killed in combat just days earlier, and he’s looking for a little companionship for what he knows will be a difficult funeral. But a sudden change of heart sends the trio on a winding road trip to give the young man a more intimate, fitting burial than a filing-away in the giant cabinet that is Arlington National Cemetery.
If the Neil Young needle-drop didn’t give it away, this is a film about old men coming to grips with their regrets and missed opportunities. It looks substantially more downbeat than Linklater’s good-time hangout Everybody Wants Some!!, but maybe that’s just the title. Let me try something: Last Flag Flying!! No, now it just looks like the title of an anime. Never mind.
Last Flag Flying hits theaters November 3 after opening the New York Film Festival next month.