The movie opens on "Doc" (Steve Carell) going to Sal's Bar. There it takes Sal (Bryan Cranston) a couple minutes and a bit of encouragement to realize that the two of them were in the Marines together. Doc shortly drags Sal out to a church, where they find their formerly hell-raising Marine companion "Mueller the Mauler" (Laurence Fishburne) is now a pastor. The next big surprise is a bit of a spoiler, but it happens 10 minutes in and it's in the trailer: Doc's son has just died, in the Marines, and he's asking his two buddies to help him bring his son home.
This is the best movie I've seen in six months. This is partly because I've spent the last three months watching mediocre TV shows, but also partly because it's really well done. The writing is very good (it's mostly about the stories we tell, the truths and the lies, and when to tell each), but the acting is what makes this one of those rare beasts, a great movie. Carrell and Fishburne are very good, but Cranston is an absolutely magnetic asshole - a brilliant performance. The three of them together are just a joy to watch, and the movie brilliantly balances humour and pathos, never letting you forget either.