The Last Detail (1974)

Ehh, kind of disapointing

Officers Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and Mulhall (Otis Young) must escort a young sailor (Randy Quaid) to a New England military prison, where the 18-year-old is about to serve eight years for a trivial offense. Determined to cram all the living they can into one lost weekend, the boys booze, brawl and fornicate their way to their ultimate destination.

The film has a simple premise and with the direction from Hal Ashby how could you not have a winner here. Well………

First of all, the film starts out very slow, and with an occasional fast jumps in between the story, never fully gets off the ground. I mean it would have been fine that it was slow, if the characters were more developed, but they weren’t. I felt like it was just a movie where you watch a bunch of guys hang out but never change.

That is where the film takes its one problem cause the ending happens, and then your just left with this feeling, of “OK then, where’s One Flew?”. In ways that statement is terrible, but also in ways it can be true. I just think the fact that the ending is a little depressing, even though there is a little Nicholson freak-out, it never fully gets you touched enough.

But the movie had its good things especially with the combination of the direction from Ashby, and the screenplay written by Robert Towne. I mean the film wasn’t as funny as I was expecting it to be, but there are some good funny moments, and the dialogue does feel real and it does reflect well on life, and how these guys look at theirs. Ashby also directs this the way you would want it, three dudes + one trip = bro fest. I mean it was cool to hang out with these guys cause it did look like they had some good times, and some incredibly depressing times.

The main reason to see this film is the performances from the trio of leads. Nicholson, as usual, is very good cause not only does he show that charm he had early in his career, but also the crazy attitude of a ruthless S.O.B. Also, Quaid is really good here as the most effective character in the film, who you really feel bad for, cause he is such a stupid kid, but at the same time, hes unpredictable. Also, it was good to see Otis Young at work, playing that black man with soul, what he’s best at.

Consensus: The Last Detail is kind of disappointment because of the way it treats its characters and the surprisingly sad moments, but has a fun direction mixed with great screenplay, and very good performances, mostly from Jackie.



  1. Aside from Nicholson, I couldn’t find much positive to come up with about this film either.

    Although does anyone else think that Shipwreck from the cartoon G.I.Joe was inspired by Buddusky?

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