Rating: PG-13, Time: 1hr 59min, Director: Stephen Soderbach, Cast on IMDb
How did you think of the casting?
At first I was a bit sceptical, but it seemed like the best bet of the week to go and review. Since I grew up partially in Indiana and my brother has lived there decades, I have an intimate feel of the country mentality, so just hoping they didn't screw it up with big time actors, directors and stereotypes. Using Adam Driver as Clyde Logan was good just as a sounding base on rural Indiana lifestyle, love of Nascar, big sports and the general feel. Adam served in the Marines briefly, so gives authenticity as ex-military with an injury to the plot. Another great score was Channing Tatum as Jimmy Logan because he grew up in rural Alabama, which I think is key to nailing small town America culture correctly in the film. Additionally, he was a football star in high school and got a scholarship to study in West Virginia, where the film takes place. Katie Holms as Bobby Jo grew up in Ohio and was initially a model doing modelling competition to her character being a mother of a beauty pageant girl of Sadie Logan played by Farrah MacKenzie. The one character I had doubts about being correct was Daniel Craig as . He obviously is great theatre and James Bond actor, but I was worried he wouldn't pick up the American rural accent well, but you can't really tell in the movie. He grew up in Liverpool, which has its own gritty blue collar feel. Although the characters gel, the brothers really don't look like brothers, but having the background is more important than looks.
What about the director?
Well, honestly I had no idea going in who was the director, which is obviously the most important ingredient for story and editing. Steven had directly Oceans 11, 12 and 13, so that is classic heist material from a movie standpoint with excellent character buildup. I didn't know if he would nail the small town feel well, but that comes sailing through the movie.
How well do they capture the sense of family?
I think here is where the story shines. You see the father Jimmy Logan as this broken man, whose lost his wife to the local successful lame car dealer and lost his shine from his football days in high school. His daughter is in child beauty pageants, which kind of has that distainful taste in your mouth; should kids be allowed to dress like adults rather than play? Is it right to objectify little girls in this way? It does show the desparation of the country lifestyle in the essence that most people will get stuck in the country and not really rise far in life. This background story really resonates and shows the inspiration to hold the heist. Most people realize robbing a bank is a terrible idea, but when you have nothing else and lost your job, it does have a certain appeal to recapture the glory days.
Were there any surprises in the film?
Well, it does show the crooks as being average, but somehow come up with an elaborate plot to work the heist. Similar to the Ocean's 11 type of plot, but all behind the scenes so the audience doesn't get the plan until shown, which is the perfect way to show a great heist. Another great add to the film is the two Nascar racers and the drama between them: one is totally obnoxious and over confident, while his younger upstart is overly focused and carefully planning to win the race. Seth MacFarlance plays the obnoxious Max Chillbain and Jeff Gordan, who actually was in Nascar. The two capture the spirit of good ole' boys let's race vs. the professional driver.
How did you relate to the film?
Well, I definitely have relatives with multiple marriages and grew up in divorce, so I am well versed in the background story of the broken characters. My parents were both from farmer families: one middle class, the other trailer park trash. Plus I grew up in rural Indiana for about 6 years as a kid and later as a BA student going to Indiana University East and later main campus. I can relate to the love for racing since Indy 500 is smack dab in the middle of the state. I just got back from going back home, where we tried to race these gocarts that go up to 50 MPH at Newcastle Motor Sports Park, which is wildly crazy, but apparently where people train worldwide to race professionally in gocarts. Sadly, we couldn't figure out which days they are open as they sporadically open to the public and mostly do private races. When we were 13 and 10, our baby sitter decided to take us to the gocarts. So she taught us to steal calculator wrist watches at the local Target and then she had the balls to go back and return them for cash, no receipt. These fools gave her the money instead of arresting her, so we spent the day going to gocarts all day. One of the best baby sitting days I ever remembered.
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