Combustible Celluloid
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With: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt, Beth Grant, James Darren, Barry Shabaka Henley, Yvonne Huff, Hugo Armstrong, Bertila Damas, Ana Mercedes, Sarah Cook, Amy Claire, Ulysses Olmedo
Written by: Logan Sparks, Drago Sumonja
Directed by: John Carroll Lynch
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 88
Date: 09/29/2017

Lucky (2017)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Come Back to the Five and Dime, Harry Dean

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I don't think I've ever seen quite as perfect and as beautiful a farewell to an actor as Lucky. It was released just weeks after its star, Harry Dean Stanton, passed away at age 91, and it's all about life and death and fear and love and family and saying goodbye. Directed by John Carroll Lynch, it handles these things in a sweet, level-headed, open-hearted way; the film is neither too brutal, nor too goopy.

Stanton plays the title character, a sharp, largely healthy nonagenarian who does yoga in the morning, smokes cigarettes, and plays harmonica. He walks to the local cafe, drinks coffee with milk and does his crossword puzzles. He goes to the bar at night, drinks bloody marys, and talks about things like "realism."

Aside from his routines, this plotless film mainly follows Lucky through various encounters. His friend Howard (director David Lynch) has lost his turtle, President Roosevelt. Lucky takes a fall and goes to the doctor (Ed Begley Jr.), who is exasperated at Lucky's good health, despite his smoking. He argues with an insurance agent (Ron Livingston). He meets an ex-Marine (Tom Skerritt) in the cafe and they talk about their military days. A convenience store clerk invites him to her son's birthday party, where he begins singing (in a beautiful voice) along with the mariachi band.

Then, I don't think I'll ever forget the ending, as lovely and sad as anything I've ever seen. Lynch and Stanton previously worked together many times, but Lucky especially reminded me of Lynch's great The Straight Story. Surely the two films could be brothers.

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