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Film / Logan Lucky

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"You Logans must be as simple-minded as people say."

Logan Lucky is a 2017 heist comedy directed by Steven Soderbergh, based on a screenplay by Rebecca Blunt. The cast includes Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Brian Gleeson, Jack Quaid, Katie Holmes, Seth MacFarlane, Dwight Yoakam, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank, and Sebastian Stan. It's the first film directed by Soderbergh since his retirement from filmmaking in 2013, as well as the first film released through his distribution label Fingerprint Releasing.

Trying to reverse a family curse, Jimmy Logan (Tatum) sets out to execute an elaborate robbery at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, with the help of his brother Clyde (Driver) and his sister Mellie (Keough). Circumstances force them to schedule it during the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race, during Memorial Day weekend, with huge crowds attending. To pull it off, they have to break Joseph "Joe" Bang (Craig), an explosives and safe-breaking specialist, out of prison, and recruit Joe's redneck brothers, Sam (Gleeson) and Fish (Quaid).

Provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Moody is attracted to Mellie, and flirts with her whenever he can. She doesn't appreciate it, if for no other reason than he's married and is her niece's stepfather.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Daniel Craig plays Joe Bang, and the code to order his Trademark Favorite Food (boiled eggs with salt) from the vending machine is "J7". Same initials as his most famous role, and referencing the character's code number (007). Consider the two eggs as "00".
    • Adam Driver gives one of Bang's brothers a nasty look when they talk about wanting to stay on the "light side", which is fitting considering Kylo Ren's dilemma in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
  • Alliterative Title: Logan Lucky.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The Logans seem to have gotten away with their heist, but FBI Agent Grayson (Hilary Swank) has taken it as a personal mission to shadow them, looking for any slip-up she can use to nail them. Can they withstand her scrutiny long enough for her to give up? And if she does find her proof, can she actually bring the law down on them, since she's acting without the permission of her superiors?
  • An Arm and a Leg: Clyde Logan is one-handed, having lost everything under the left elbow to his time in the military.
  • Artificial Limb: Clyde lost his left hand when he was a soldier in Iraq, and wears a prosthetic. He gets a robotic hand at the end.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: It is actually possible to make a bomb out of bleach, salt substitute, and gummy bears, but it's a fairly complicated process, involving multiple steps and a fair amount of time. Joe just tosses the ingredients into a plastic bag, twists it a couple times, and the makeshift bomb works. Justified by the fact that no movie wants to teach its audience how to make bombs.
  • Backseat Changing Room: While driving away after helping Joe escape prison, Mellie says she got some clothes for him since he can't stay in his obvious prison clothes without attracting attention. He starts changing in the backseat on the spot, though not before he gives her a mocking "No Peeking!" Request.
  • Badass Driver: Mellie Logan. The Caper relies on her ability to drive at 30 miles over the speed limit without getting caught, and know the shortest route between any two places at a given time of the day.
  • Bar Brawl: One happens in Clyde's bar after one too many provocations by Max Chilblain (Seth MacFarlane) about Clyde's missing limb. Clyde calmly puts an end to it by drawing everyone outside by setting Chilblain's car on fire with a Molotov Cocktail he made with some of the bar's alcohol.
  • Batman Gambit: A lot of the plan relies on people not in on it acting precisely the way Jimmy and the others need them to.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Used at several points, usually whenever the crew needs to get in somewhere they normally wouldn't be able to go.
    • In order to find out more info on the vault (and the pneumatic tube system that leads into it), they fake a cockroach infestation by shoving several cockroaches (painted with different colors of nail polish to distinguish them) into the tubes. They then sneak in with the exterminators and confirm which color cockroaches — and, by extension, which tubes — went into the vault.
    • They send a cake to one of the employees that works in the vault beforehand, then make sure she's locked out for the day before she can remove the cake. That way, it's less suspicious when cockroaches are found in the vault — and, conveniently, the icing on the cake matches the colors of nail polish used to identify the cockroaches.
    • On The day of the heist, Clyde and Joe break out of prison by convincing the other prisoners to stage a fake prison riot, allowing them to escape in the chaos. Later on, to mask their return, the prisoners trigger the fire alarm, allowing Joe and Clyde to get back inside while disguised as firefighters.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Mocking Clyde's disability will earn you Jimmy's ire. Max Chilblain finds this out the hard way.
    • Jimmy saying "cauliflower" works as one for Clyde, given it's their code word for Jimmy's less than legal schemes and Clyde having gone to juvie as a result of one when he was 13. Messing with his prosthetic arm is also one of the few things to set him off.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Jimmy is very protective of his brother Clyde.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: According to Clyde, Mellie is the only one to escape the curse of the Logan family.
  • Born Unlucky: The Logans apparently have this curse running through their family, save for Mellie.
  • Breaking Out the Boss: Jim's plan involves breaking Joe and Clyde out of prison, using them to pull off The Heist, and then sneaking them back into prison before anyone knows they were gone.
  • Bumbling Henchmen Duo: Although they're not baddies, the younger Bang brothers otherwise fit the trope perfectly. They're never seen without each other, and are comically stupid. They nearly botch the heist on multiple occasions.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Pretty much every one of the thieves bar Mellie. They're all portrayed as stereotypical white trailer-trash rednecks, but are in actuality goddamn criminal masterminds. The film even refers to their caper as the "hillbilly heist."
    • Joe Bang can be a bit wacky (especially when Mellie is around), but he knows his stuff about explosives.
    • Dayton White is somewhat pretentious, but he is treated as a serious contender in racing, even after four years away from the track.
  • Butt-Monkey: Moody is pretty henpecked by Bobbie Jo and is treated standoffishly by Mellie, ending with her using his fancy new car to pull off the heist and coming back with it utterly filthy. All Played for Laughs, of course.
  • The Cameo: Multiple famous NASCAR drivers make cameo appearances in this movie.
    • The FOX NASCAR 2017-2019 commentator lineup of Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, and Jeff Gordon make appearances as themselves.
    • Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch appear as West Virginia state troopers.
    • Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano appear as security guards.
    • Kyle Larson is a limo driver.
    • Ryan Blaney is a delivery boy.
  • The Caper: The film's premise is about two brothers who plan a heist during a NASCAR race. It's been described as a "hillbilly heist".
  • Caper Rationalization: Played for Laughs. Joe Bang's brothers are born-again Christians who insist on having some kind of moral justification for any criminal acts. They only agree to the heist because the initial plan was to rob the racetrack during an event sponsored by a local grocery store chain, and an employee at one such store once sexually harassed Mellie.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Jimmy was a high school football star on his way to a pro career when he blew his knee out during the biggest game of his senior year: another example of the so-called 'Logan Curse'. At the start of the film, he is working as a Bobcat driver for a mining company, and still walks with a limp.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • The FBI agents investigating the robbery pretty much manage to figure out the entire plot, but they can't manage to convince anyone else of the truth. In the end, everyone involved (or, at least, the owners of the stadium) decide it's better just to put it all behind them and write off the loss, rather than try to pursue a dead end case...mostly because their accountants couldn't figure out exactly HOW MUCH money was actually stolen, yet they've already collected the insurance money on an agreed-upon amount, so finding the thieves might lead to a more exact number being found, which might reveal that they were overpaid and would have to pay the insurance company back.
    • Max Chilblain really did see Clyde walking around in the tunnels under the stadium, which would have placed him at the scene of the crime and potentially exposed the whole scheme. Unfortunately for Max, his Jerkass tendencies come back to bite him in the ass, since his team's driver, who was also there with him, decides to contradict his story out of spite.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In part because the money is left to be found outside a convenience store to ward off a manhunt the locals start calling the heist "Oceans 7-11," as Steven Soderbergh is lampooning many of the tropes he used in those films.
  • Cowboy Cop: The lead FBI agent continuing to look into the Logans at the end despite being ordered off the case by her boss, although this could work in favor of the Logans, making it less likely that she'll be able to actually bring charges against them.
  • Credits Gag:
    • "And introducing Daniel Craig as Joe Bang" instead of "And Starring...". It is neither Craig's first role, nor is he an unfamiliar actor. However, it emphasizes his Playing Against Type.
    • The very end of the credits features this disclaimer: "This film is a work of fiction. No actual persons were robbed. Except you."
  • Daddy Didn't Show: Subverted; Jimmy misses out on Sadie's rehearsal, but she doesn't seem too upset about it. And just when it looks like he'll miss her performance, he shows up right when she's about to start.
  • Daddy's Girl: Sadie adores Jimmy and spends a lot of time with him, even choosing to not sing "Umbrella" in favor of singing his favorite song, "Take Me Home, Country Roads". Note the contrast in a scene where her mother is beckoning her over with open arms and she's less enthusiastic.
  • Deep South: The film takes place in West Virginia and North Carolina, complete with local accents and slang, redneck games, and a NASCAR race.
  • Delayed Reaction:
    • Just before the action kicks off, Joe's brothers read through his instructions and barely figure out "4) RUN" in time to escape the blast radius.
    • Joe puts his homemade explosive into one of the money pneumatic pipes and runs away. It takes about two seconds before Jimmy and Clyde figure out why he did and start doing the same.
    • Clyde tells Joe to "roll, not hesitate" right before pushing him down a garbage chute that has Joe land in a dumpster. Joe spends a few seconds processing what just happened before he hears Clyde coming down the chute, realizes what he meant, and rolls out of the way so that Clyde doesn't land on top of him.
  • Demolitions Expert: Joe Bang knows how to engineer explosive chemical reactions with simple, unnoticeable ingredients.
  • Double Entendre: Moody's "I love stick! I'm a big fan of stick!"
  • Dramatic Irony: Considering his paranoia about the family curse and how often "bad luck" screws the Logans over right when it seems everything's going their way, Clyde smiling and seeming rather taken by the pretty new patron to his bar at the end counts since she's the FBI agent who suspects his and his brother's role in the heist and is going to be "staying awhile" in hopes of catching someone slip up so she can prove it.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Mellie has no qualms driving 30 miles over the speed limit. Part of the heist even has to involve distracting the few police officers on duty so that she can speed back.
  • Easily Forgiven: After his prison break, Joe Bang doesn't even address Fish about the money from previous heists that he buried in his garden. Fish's tongue slipped while Joe was in prison, and Fish's wife Misty dug up the money and fled with it a result. Joe learned of this while in prison thanks to the Logan brothers visiting him, and one would expect him to be a little upset when meeting his brother again during the heist. To be fair, Joe would have no time to lose on such matters since the heist has to be pulled off as quickly as possible.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: One of the Bang brothers has "Dangerus" tattooed on his upper arm.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Jimmy gets fired from his construction worker job at Charlotte Motor Speedway. According to his foreman, it's "for liability reasons involving insurance", i.e. Jimmy forgot to mention that he has a limp.
  • Get into Jail Free: Clyde drives his car through the window of a gas station in order to get sent to jail for 90 days so he can liaise with their Demolitions Expert Joe Bang, who is currently incarcerated.
  • Great Escape: The prison break of Joe and Clyde is unusual in that they have to go back to prison as part of the plan once the heist is done in order to avoid any suspicion, then wait for their prison sentence to end. To do so, the other inmates stage a fake Prison Riot, which lasts long enough for Joe and Clyde to come back disguised as firemen.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Jimmy and Bobbie Jo. It didn't work out in the long run.
  • Hollywood Provincialism: In Mellie's first scene, she gives an extended description of her commute in which she repeatedly refers to highways as "the [highway number]", something peculiar to Southern California and not West Virginia. The actress is from Southern California, incidentally.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Jimmy makes sure everyone involved in his heist in some way gets a share of the stolen money, including innocent people like Gleema.
  • Humble Hero: Hero is pushing it as most of the cast are professional thieves, but most of them live very humble, "home-cooked" lives, especially Jimmy.
  • I Call Her "Vera": Joe names his makeshift bomb after himself, "the Joe Bang".
  • Inside Job: Jimmy worked on the construction of tunnels beneath Charlotte Motor Speedway before he was fired, and uses his knowledge of the place to plan the heist.
  • Insistent Terminology: Clyde lost a hand in Iraq, not his arm.
  • Inspector Javert: With shades of Cowboy Cop in FBI Agent Grayson — she has been ordered by her higher-ups to just shelve the investigation, but she is so sure that the Logans are behind it that she decides to stay in town and start the typical "I know you did it, you know I know you did it, and I will hound you until you give me something I can use as solid evidence to arrest you even if it takes the rest of our lives" Friendly Enemies relationship with them.
  • Institutional Apparel: The convicts in the prison where Joe Bang, and later Clyde, are incarcerated wear old-fashioned 'horizontal stripe' style uniforms. Daniel Craig is shown in the pants and white T-shirt on the poster.
  • Jerkass: Max Chilblain's Establishing Character Moment involves insulting and disrespecting Clyde; he's also indirectly responsible for Dayton crashing in the race, leading the latter to lie to the FBI when they come to corroborate Max's story about seeing Clyde and Joe in the tunnel.
  • Locked Out of the Loop:
    • There are aspects of the plan the Bang brothers aren't aware of, because the Logans simply don't trust the moronic Sam and Fish not to screw everything up.
    • For his part, Joe doesn't tell the Logans how he plans to build a bomb using items he can slip through a security checkpoint, which ultimately forces him to chart out the chemical reaction in the middle of the heist when they don't believe him.
  • Ludd Was Right: By not having cellular service, staying off all social media, and driving an old truck, Jimmy is completely off the grid, so it's practically impossible for the feds to track his actions.
  • Ma'am Shock: The nurse in the prison infirmary gets offended when Joe calls her "ma'am":
    Ma'am?! A minute ago I was "miss"!
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Logan family is supposedly cursed, with fate screwing them over the second they achieve any kind of success. Clyde is the only one who will admit to believing in the curse (he seems obsessed with it as a matter of fact), but the movie itself is ambiguous as to whether it is real or not.
  • Meaningful Name:
  • Molotov Cocktail: Clyde uses a bottle of high-proof booze and his bartender's rag (borrowing a light from a customer) to torch Max Chilblain's car in the parking lot of the bar.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Mellie is frequently seen in skimpy outfits.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Rich Jerk Max Chilblain's Establishing Character Moment is him entering the bar where Clyde works and immediately mocking Clyde for his disability. His patronizing attitude to those he considers to be subservient later comes back to bite him.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Jimmy learning that construction is finishing early, meaning the heist has to be moved forward — from the slowest day of the racing season to the busiest.
    • Joe's makeshift bomb is sent back from the vault through the pneumatic pipes... right into Clyde's arms. Fortunately, it doesn't explode, and the second attempt to make it explode in the vault works.
  • Once More, with Clarity: At the end of the film, we see that, during the heist, Mellie snuck in to fill extra bags; Jimmy made sure no fingerprints were left and indeed retrieved Clyde's prosthetic hand, the gate initially not opening was part of Jimmy's plan to distract Joe and his brothers; and Jimmy saved extra bags of money and only returned part of the score, dividing the rest between him, his associates, and friends, with some even doled out to the innocent bank secretary he had to exploit during the heist and Sylvia.
  • Overly-Long Gag: The warden's explanation to the rioting inmates for why he can't get them a copy of The Winds of Winter just keeps going and going as the warden goes into ever increasing detail about George R. R. Martin 's invokedSchedule Slip for the book series.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Sadie wears a decent amount of pink shirts across the movie.
  • Prison Riot: One is staged to cover the absence of Joe Bang and Clyde Logan from prison during the heist.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: When Jimmy and Clyde visit Joe Bang in prison to tell him about their plan:
    Joe: I am in-car-cer-ra-ted!
  • Reformed Criminal: According to Clyde, "his life of crime is over". Until he gets dragged into One Last Job by his brother, that is.
  • Revenge: Part of the reasons why Jimmy Logan decides to rob the vault of the Charlotte Motor Speedway is that he was fired while working on the site.
  • Running Gag: The warden repeatedly saying (despite all evidence to the contrary), "We don't have a ____ problem."
  • Safecracking: Joe Bang is an expert at blowing vaults open.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Sylvia only shows up in a couple of scenes, all involving Jimmy.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Jimmy's daughter is upset that she came in second in a go-kart race, referencing this trope (which she apparently learned from her mother). Jimmy encourages her not to look at things that way.
  • Serious Business: A prison riot hinges on the invokedpublishing schedule of A Song of Ice and Fire. Played for Laughs, because the leader of the hostage takers is deliberately making impossible demands to drag out negotiations as long as possible. Though his anger does seem genuine.
    Warden: The only ... only problem is that ... The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring have yet to be published, so those aren't available! Well, I can't do anything about what I can't ... control.
    Prisoner: That is total bullshit! George R. R. Martin was supposed to deliver The Winds of Winter to his publisher over two years ago!
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: When Moody claims that the Chevy Nova flopped in Mexico because "no va" means "doesn't go" in Spanish, Mellie flatly tells him, "That didn't happen." She's right. This is an oft-repeated urban legend.
  • Smarter Than You Look: The heist relies heavily on people consistently underestimating the would-be robbers, due to their background and Deep South mannerisms. And it works.
  • Southern-Fried Genius: It's a pretty sophisticated heist, after all, pulled off by an unemployed construction worker, a one-handed bartender, a hairdresser, a con, and the latter's very redneck brothers. And Jimmy gets to show it all over again when turning in some of the money to throw off law enforcement while saving a secret share.
  • Spoonerism: Sam Bang has this as a Verbal Tic.
    Sam: That's a vagrant fliolation!
  • Spy Speak: Joe Bang uses this in the prison visitation when discussing plans for the heist with his brothers, asking them to go and visit "the bear in the woods" to collect the "bag" he's holding for Joe. It's a subversion, of course; Sam and Fish go into the woods, they meet a man in a bear costume, and he gives them a bag.
  • Take That!: Oddly enough, to George R. R. Martin and his failure to finish A Song of Ice and Fire in a timely manner.
  • The Stoic: Clyde barely expresses any emotion. One of the only noticeable moments where he loses his composure is when his prosthetic hand gets sucked away as Jimmy reverses the aspiration system of the machine they're using for the heist.
  • Tattooed Crook: All of the Bang brothers sport tattoos. Joe's include a ticking bomb, a mermaid, a Christian cross, and Knuckle Tattoos.
  • Thicker Than Water: Joe Bang insists on involving his brothers in the heist, in spite of the fact that they are morons and their loose tongues already cost Joe himself his personal nest egg from previous heists.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Clyde Logan loves fried bacon for breakfast. Jimmy cooks him some, burning it just the way he likes, and that nice bit of attention puts Clyde in a better mood to listen to the plan for the heist.
    • Joe Bang sure loves hard-boiled eggs with real salt.
  • Trash Landing: Clyde and Joe get into the tunnels under the speedway by sliding down a trash chute into a dumpster full of soft bags. Joe is not told about this part of the plan, and is shoved down the chute by Clyde before he can question what the chute is for.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Clyde deliberately rams his car into a gas station's shop, which sends him into the same prison as Joe Bang so he can help him break out of it.
  • Underside Ride: The way Clyde and Joe escape from prison, using man-sized boxes they crafted at the prison's workshop and painted to match the undercarriage of the truck which is leaving the prison.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The unnamed racetrack employee who reported Jimmy's limp to HR, getting him fired and thus setting in motion the plot that got the track robbed of millions of dollars.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Jimmy is divorced from Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes) and visits Sadie sometimes, the daughter who was born of their marriage. Bobbie Jo has full custody of her.
  • Visual Pun: When Chilblain tells his cohorts to film his burning car, one holds his phone in front of his mouth, the other holds his phone in front of his eyes, and Chilblain makes a call with his hand over his ear. In other words, "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil".
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Joe Bang pukes multiple times, including at the warden's feet, after he deliberately drinks contaminated water to poison himself and get taken to the infirmary.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Perhaps not exactly evil, but the warden of Munroe Prison is petty, vicious, and spiteful, even knocking Joe's food to the floor, then kicking him when he is on the floor picking it up. He also insists that "there is nothing wrong going on" inside of the jail (as in having to report that there is a riot with multiple hostages taken) until he can't really keep it under wraps (as in there's a possible fire going on).
  • Watching the Reflection Undress: After Joe escapes from prison, he changes out of his Institutional Apparel in the back of the car. He tells Mellie that he is going to change and not to look. She sneaks a peek in the rearview mirror.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Max Chilblain is supposed to have a British accent, but Seth MacFarlane bounces it around so much that it settles as some sort of amalgamation between a southern and mockney accent, even wandering into Australian at times.
  • Wrench Wench:
    • Mellie Logan. Not only is she the Caper Crew's Badass Driver, she knows her ways around the mechanics of vehicles as well. When Joe questions the dimensions of canopies she designed to fit under the van for their Underside Ride, her brother Clyde replies simply, "Mellie knows her trucks".
    • Jimmy's preteen daughter Sadie, who is competing a beauty pageant contest, also helps him fix a car, and is familiar with what wrenches to hand him when he asks for them.
  • Yes-Man: Chilblain's cohorts, who are credited as "Max's Nontourage", seem to be there solely to agree to everything he says.