Lightning Review: Logan Lucky

Logan Lucky movie posterSynopsis
When Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) gets let go from his job, he convinces his siblings, Clyde (Adam Driver) and Mellie (Riley Keough), to help him rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Logan and Clyde recruit experienced bank robber Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) to help them get into the vault. But first, they have to figure out a way to get Joe Bang out of jail.

Part way through Logan Lucky, I thought “Wow, this is a hillbilly Ocean’s Eleven,” which felt much more original until the movie made almost the same joke and I saw that it was directed by Steven Soderbergh (the director of Ocean’s Eleven) in the credits. In any case, it had many of the elements from Ocean’s Eleven that I enjoyed in that film. Like Ocean’s Eleven, it is a fairly slow burn for the first two-thirds of the film. Most of the run time is spent on the Logans concocting the plan / setting up all the pieces. However, also like Ocean’s Eleven, the fun characters, well-written dialogue, and great chemistry between the actors make this time enjoyable and entertaining. Once the heist actually happens, the payoff is well worth it. Keeping the film close to a formula that has worked well before and twisting it slightly was a brilliant move by Soderbergh. It keeps the film familiar yet still manages to keep it feeling new and fresh.

Having a great cast too doesn’t hurt the film either. Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as the Logan brothers are absolutely a blast to watch. On the surface, they seem like they might be a pair of dim-witted rednecks but you soon realize that’s not necessarily the case. Add in a Southern-accented Daniel Craig as Joe Bang and you know you’re going to have a good time. To my surprise, Joe Bang’s two brothers, played by Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson, were two of my favorite characters in the film. Several of their lines had me cracking up the most. I would love to see a sequel if only to see those two characters on screen again.

I thought Logan Lucky was GOOD 🙂 There is nothing original story-wise in this film but it uses what has been tried and true before and makes it work again in an unconventional way. The vibrant cast is clearly having fun, giving a fun Ocean’s Eleven vibe and keeping my attention despite not really picking up until the end. There are many better heist films out there but few of them are as whimsical or playful as Logan Lucky.


Cast & Crew
Steven Soderbergh – Director
Rebecca Blunt – Writer
David Holmes – Composer

Channing Tatum – Jimmy Logan
Adam Driver – Clyde Logan
Riley Keough – Mellie Logan
Daniel Craig – Joe Bang
Jack Quaid – Fish Bang
Brian Gleeson – Sam Bang
Farrah Mackenzie – Sadie Logan
Katie Holmes – Bobbie Jo Chapman
David Denman – Moody Chapman
Seth MacFarlane – Max Chilblain
Sebastian Stan – Dayton White
Jim O’Heir – Cal
Rebecca Koon – Purple Lady
Katherine Waterston – Slyvia Harrison
Hilary Swank – Special Agent Sarah Grayson
Macon Blair – Special Agent Brad Noonan

Ocean’s Eleven Review

Ocean' s Eleven movie posterSynopsis
Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) put together a team of con-artists to rob three of the largest casinos on the Las Vegas strip simultaneously.

Do you have one of those movies that you can watch over and over again and enjoy it your hundredth time just as much as your first time? Ocean’s Eleven is one of those movies for me. My best friend and I would watch this movie all the time. We could even quote the whole movie. I have seen this so many times that if I fall asleep while watching it, I can tell you the exact moment I fell asleep. I can’t say that about too many movies.

What really makes this movie click is George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Their chemistry is superb. Seriously, every time they are on screen together, you are in for a treat. Their conversations flow like old friends together again, which is what their characters are. These fun exchanges extend to more than just the two leads. The entire team bounces back and forth off each other throughout the entire movie.

As the title suggests, the cast is fairly large. Ensembles can be difficult to balance each character’s screen time. Danny gets the most focus, which makes sense since his name is in the title, but the film does a great job of balancing everyone. I felt that each character got at least one scene with every other character, leading to some of the great exchanges like I mentioned above.

I’ve said before that the main reason I enjoy heist movies is for the setup. About seventy-five percent of the movie is spent on the titular eleven working together to prepare for the heist. Again it all comes down to these characters interacting with each other. No matter who is in the scene, they will do or say something that will make you smile. There are as many visual gags as there are verbal. As always, seeing the heist pulled off is the biggest payout. There were times when the camera would zoom or focus on an item that didn’t make sense in the moment but would be focused on again in the end and it would become clear why that item was important. Small things like that bring the film together for me.

I’ve been talking a lot about the eleven that I haven’t even brought up the rest of the cast. Andy Garcia is intimidating as Terry Benedict, the victim of Danny Ocean’s plan. He is mentioned several times before he is actually seen on screen. The film gives you an idea of the kind of person he is before he even shows up. Then you see his cunning and ruthlessness for yourself. Julia Roberts as Tess was good, too. The only characters she talked to was Terry, Rusty, and Danny so she didn’t have as many scenes as the rest.

Ocean’s Eleven is so enjoyable simply because of the cast. The heist may not be the most exciting of movie heists, but the planning and interactions between all the characters is so enjoyable. If the chemistry wasn’t there, this movie would fall flat. Thankfully the chemistry is top notch, making it rise above so many similar films


For the rest of the Ocean’s Trilogy, read my reviews for Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen.

Favorite Moment


Cast & Crew
Steven Soderbergh – Director
Ted Griffin – Screenplay
David Holmes – Composer

George Clooney – Danny Ocean
Brad Pitt – Rusty Ryan
Andy Garcia – Terry Benedict
Julia Roberts – Tess Ocean
Bernie Mac – Frank Catton
Elliott Gould – Reuben Tishkoff
Casey Affleck – Virgil Malloy
Scott Caan – Turk Malloy
Eddie Jemison – Livingston Dell
Shaobo Qin – Yen
Carl Reiner – Saul Bloom
Matt Damon – Linus Caldwell
Don Cheadle – Basher Tarr
Michale DeLano – Casino Manager (“Walsh”)