Directed by John Carroll Lynch
Follows the journey of a 90-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off-the-map desert town. He finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self-exploration.
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★★★½ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd
A wise and wistful love letter from one remarkable character actor to another, John Carroll Lynch’s “Lucky” returns 90-year-old Harry Dean Stanton to the dusty desert environs he shuffled through in 1984’s “Paris, Texas,” and offers the rawboned legend one of the best roles he’s had since. Beginning as a broad comedy before blossoming into a wry meditation on death and all the things we leave behind (a transition that kicks into gear when one of Stanton’s old friends shows up and steals the show), Lynch’s directorial debut is a wisp of a movie, blowing across the screen like a tumbleweed, but it’s also the rare portrait of mortality that’s both fun and full of life.
★★★★ review by Brian Tallerico on Letterboxd
A fantastic showcase for Harry Dean Stanton with echoes of Paterson. David Lynch tells multiple stories about his tortoise named President Roosevelt. Of course you want to see that.
★★★★ review by Major McKeithen on Letterboxd
*The name cactus' origin is derived from ancient greek philosopher Theophrastus, Aristotle's successor, as a name he used for a spiny plant whose identity is not certain.*
When we are introduced to Lucky we have already seen his daily routine. Beginning with house shoes, cigarettes, the radio, glass of milk, and the same six yoga exercises to keep his 90 year old self going. He goes to the same convenience store, same coffee shop with the same paper, and the same bar to end his day. You can immediately feel you are entering a world, and a routine that has been repeated for decades by this man.
The first words spoken in the movie are by Lucky himself. He tells his friend that owns the coffee shop, "you're nothing", and this is where it's hard to separate Harry Dean Stanton from Lucky. Harry Dean Stanton is 90 years old. He, like Lucky, believes there is no soul, no god in the traditional sense, and is in equally healthy shape despite the incessant smoking he's done that "if you stop now, it might actually do more harm than good" the doctor tells him.
*The spines of cacti are often useful in identification, since they vary greatly in number, color, size, shape and hardness.
In addition to normal-length spines, they can also have relatively short spines that are barbed along their length and easily shed. These enter the skin and are difficult to remove, causing long-lasting irritation.*
One day, Lucky falls and it's hard to tell if it's because he's old, or because he knows just how old he is. Like he has finally seen the end of the line, not that he's about to die, but that he knows he's on borrowed time. As director John Carroll Lynch put it, "It's kind of like the extra period in a soccer game. The player knows that whistle is coming soon, but just has to keep playing."
It's a daunting feeling to live long enough to see so much and know it's coming to an end. All your regrets, and mistakes shine brighter. The blinking red light of a clock reading "12:00" might represent you're fear for death. Letting it rapidly fire in stasis so you never have to see anything new or different. It's always the same. It's safer and comfortable. As soon as you set it to our understanding of numbered time, it's almost a timer to the eventual second you will pass away. But, if you never set the clock, you will never have any time to fear.
*You are like a cactus. You are beautiful but your thorns seem to me, to be saying that you don’t want me to walk closer to you. You are untouchable.*
Lucky is a natural spiritual partner with last year's Paterson, Jim Jarmusch's equally as poetic meditative film on the tedium of life & death. It is abstractly about the emptiness of life when it really comes down to it. But, ultimately it teaches that just because there is nothing, means there is really everything in everything. The simplest pleasures, relationships, or thoughts can be what life is about. Love, joy, and kindness know no bounds in a life well lived. But, if there is so much misery, ugliness and sadness what are we to do with it all?
You are to smile.
Just smile, and look around. There's more to you, and to life than you realize.
★★★★½ review by Adolfo Acosta on Letterboxd
Harry Dean Stanton deserves an Oscar for this performance.
★★★★ review by Major McKeithen on Letterboxd
What do you do with a movie like Lucky?
You just smile.
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