Harry Dean Stanton plays the character of LUCKY of the film title in a film that audiences recognize could be the real Harry Dean Stanton. LUCKY is the nickname the ex-navy man earned after being designated the cook in the Navy while others were sent to fight and die during the War. Lucky is 90, bitter, alone (but not lonely as he has a routine of chores to do each day), cynical, sickness free, and smokes a lot.
The audience sees Lucky doing the same things daily – visiting the grocery store with the Mexican cashier to get his cigarettes; having some drinks at the bar; having coffee at his dual diner; and watching his favourite quiz show – but with different reactions. The soundtrack replays the tune of “Old River Valley’ on a harmonica.
The film contains a lot of musings like what realism (as explained by Lucky as real for one person but not necessarily in another occurs to another) is or even the friendship between man an animal as the latter discussion (it is apparently essential to the soul) starts. Lucky’s friend, Howard (David Lynch) at the bar walk in to sadly announce the loss of President Roosevelt, his pet tortoise. (Lucky does not believe this….. not the statement but the existence of a soul.) Though the latter statement seems inconsequential dialogue in the script, it is important in the way Lucky looks at life if he does not believe in the existence of a soul.
The film is directed by actor John Carroll base on the script by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja. The film pays more attention to the character than to plotting. The film is also wonderfully acted by Stanton. Director David Lynch delivers a surprisingly moving speech defending his case of leaving his inheritance to his tortoise that has apparently escaped as does James Darren how a nothing person like him transformed to one who now has everything.
LUCKY the film can be best described as a cynical coming-of age movie of a 90-year old man who has almost given up on life. It is quite an idea for a film which is likely the story got made. It is a film about an old fart that is not the typical Hollywood old fart film like the fantasies of old people reminiscing on their youth or having sex one more time. Lucky confesses in one scene that he can hardly get it up any more. Here, Lucky says in the film’s most intimate scene where he reveals his deep secret to his friend, Loretta (Yvonne Huff): “I’m scared.” It all happens when he falls down out of feeling faint, though doctor (Ed Begley Jr.) tells him that nothing major is wrong with him.
Harry Dean Stanton passed away this year (2017). LUCKY is a worthy swan song of an actor that has surprised audiences many a time with his wide range of performances.