The Last Detail (1973)

“Heineken? Why it’s the finest beer in the world! President Kennedy used to drink it!” Jack Nicholson stars as Billy “Bad Ass” Buddusky, a Navy “lifer” who, along with Richard “Mule” Mulhall (Otis Young), is placed in charge of taking a young dumb kid, Meadows (Randy Quaid) to the brig (Portsmouth Naval Prison). Bad Ass and Mule decide to show the kid a good time along the way before he starts serving his eight-year sentence (he stole $40 from a charity collection box). Carol Kane portrays a young whore. The cast includes Clifton James, Nancy Allen, Gilda Radner and Michael Moriarty. A frequently hilarious (and ultimately depressing) road movie, The Last Detail was directed by Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude) with a screenplay from Robert Towne adapted from Darryl Ponicsan’s 1971 novel of the same name. My favorite scene is when Buddusky slams the bartender for not serving the underage Meadows a beer: “I am the motherfuckin’ shore patrol, motherfucker! I am the motherfuckin’ shore patrol! Give this man a beer!” The best part is that Meadows doesn’t even really want the beer. Bud Cort and John Travolta were both reportedly considered for the role of Meadows. Nicholson deservedly received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his incredible performance (which includes some creative profanity!) but, believe it or not, lost out to Jack Lemmon (Save the Tiger).

Leave a Reply

Close Menu