Lucky is the name given to character portrayeed by the late, great Harry Dean Stanton, who clearly must have earned it because how does he manage to get such a clean shave from an electric shaver? Or perhaps there’s another explanation?
He’s a crotchety old loner, although he does state that while he’s alone, there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. However, he does appear to have his life all figured out, as he does his morning yoga exercises, heads down to the cafe to do his crossword, sit and drink coffee – which together with his milk and cigarettes supplements his three major daily food groups, and then heads back home to watch his afternoon TV shows. He also thinks nothing of watching TV while sat at home on his own in his vest and underpants. Hey, a vest? Why even get so dressed up?
There’s a lot of talk about the potential of death, and as his doctor (Ed Begley Jr) tells him, since he’s got to the age of 90, “It seems the older you get, the longer you’re gonna live”, plus a few bittersweet elements of comedy in there, such as how he loves gameshows, but won’t accept the barman explaining Deal Or No Deal to him.
We’re treated to director David Lynch as an elderly man who’s making “end of life” plans while his lifelong pet tortoise has gone missing, and there’s a great cameo as he chats to fellow World War II veteran (Alien co-star Tom Skerritt), who pops in for one scene.
Alas, Stanton doesn’t look particularly well, with his speech slurring on occasion to the point where the dialogue isn’t clear enough to hear, so I do need to see this again with subtitles as they weren’t available on the version I saw. Having shot this in 2016, sadly, he passed away in 2017.
This is his final lead role, but he has one more movie still to be released – Frank and Ava, where he plays Sheriff Lloyd, while the film also stars Rico Simonini as Frank Sinatra, and Emily Elicia Low as Ava Gardner.
Lucky is largely worth a watch simply to see one last lead swansong from an actor you grew up watching in one of the biggest films of the time. It’s a shame I couldn’t say the same for the late Burt Reynolds’ recent release, The Last Movie Star. Both also feature the leads giving a fourth wall-breaking glance to the camera very close to the end, but it has far more effect in Lucky than it does in Burt’s movie.
It’s also welcome to see certain elements of the plot come full circle from time to time, even in the closing frames.
Running time: 88 minutes
Studio: Eureka Entertainment Ltd
Format: 2.35:1 (Anamorphc Panavision, ARRIRAW (2.8K))
Released: September 14th 2018
Director: John Carroll Lynch
Producers: Ira Steven Behr, Danielle Renfrew, Greg Gilreath, Adam Hendricks, Richard Kahan, John H Lang, Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja
Screenplay: Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja
Music: Elvis Kuehn
Lucky: Harry Dean Stanton
Howard: David Lynch
Bobby Lawrence: Ron Livingston
Dr. Christian Kneedler: Ed Begley Jr
Fred: Tom Skerritt
Joe: Barry Shabaka Henley
Paulie: James Darren
Elaine: Beth Grant
Loretta: Yvonne Huff Lee
Vincent: Hugo Armstrong
Bibi: Bertila Damas
Pam: Pamela Sparks
Juan Wayne: Ulysses Olmedo
Victoria: Ana Mercedes
Debbie: Sarah Cook
Frances: Amy Claire
Otti: Otti Feder
Fiona (Dog): Fiona
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.