When many think of Harry Dean Stanton there are many things and many films people point to. Some immediately shout Alien! because we love horror. Some shout Pretty In Pink because we love John Hughes films. Some shout Avengers because he had that random scene. Some shout Paris, Texas, because he’s just enough for us to love most anything. The one universal truth is no matter how large or small a part Harry Dean Staton found ways to stand out.
Lucky is the film that feels like a warm hug that we want to give all of our beloved character actors. We know we love them, we want to see more of them and at the same time we’re almost happy with the limited time that we’ve gotten to spend time with them.
Lucky is its characters and nothing else. Lucky, played by Stanton, lives in a small town. He gets up in the morning, exercises, has his coffee, walks to the diner to do his crossword and banter with Joe, then proceeds to the corner store and practice his spanish before meeting up with his good friend Howard, played by auteur David Lynch, at the bar and then do it all over again the next day. It’s a film where these things that fill the mundanity of our regular lives is used as the testing ground for a slew of characters all just existing for effect. As we watch Lucky go to the store we don’t care that he’s at the store or why he’s there. However, we do care watching him have his encounter with the Latin-American cashier and them discussing her son “Juan Wayne” which is fun and endearing. As Lucky goes to the diner and says hi to all the employees. The food and the crossword fades away but Lucky cracking wise with the waitresses about Joe remains in our mind.
This film is the true nature of memory and empathy. We barely ever remember if we locked the door to our car on the way from the parking lot or if we actually did brush our teeth that day; but we will recall those fun moments we had along the way. The mundanity is the window dressing to the more memorable moments. Mix in a good sprinkling of Harry Dean Stanton and David Lynch discussing his missing tortoise and you have a film that makes you feel effervescently warm inside from end to end even when it discusses the elderly coming to terms with their own mortality.