Film Review: ‘Lucky’, Harry Dean Stanton’s swan song

One of the first moments of Harry Dean Stanton’s new (and as it turns out, last) movie, ‘Lucky’, settles on his first cigarette of the day, and that’s when you know you’re home.  Fans of Harry Dean’s long and storied career should not miss this – a film to which he obviously gave his all, as was his wont.

Lucky is a thoughtful atheist living in a small desert town, alone but not lonely, a friendly grump who’s honest to a fault and doesn’t suffer fools – it’s immediately clear  that screenwriters and Stanton friends Drago Sumonja and Logan Sparks wrote the character for Harry Dean (for insight into the history, read my interview with Drago here).

He smokes, does calisthenics daily, walks everywhere on his daily routine (including the local bar, of course), and becomes reflective of life’s meaning and his own mortality when he seemingly inexplicably passes out while waiting for his morning coffee to brew.  Friends and people he meets – David Lynch, Tom Skerritt, Ed Begley, Jr., James Darren, and Barry Shabaka Henley, among others – are all wonderful participants in his musings.  Watching the film is very emotional coming as it does so soon after his death, and the scene where he serenades a lovely grandmother with a heartfelt rendition of ‘Volver, Volver’ backed by mariachi trio is worth the price of admission itself.  But of course if you are a fan, you’ll want to see it just to experience Harry Dean’s pull one last time.

The movie is in theaters now.


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