90 Years


29 September 2017| No Comments on Lucky     by Sean Chavel


Harry Dean Stanton, humble character actor for more than five decades, gets a fitting swan song – a final movie about an old man facing death, while Stanton himself died two weeks before the film’s release. Stanton is the titular Lucky, a 90-year old World War II veteran, forever single but likes women, living in the smallest of Arizona towns, and sticking to a daily routine of yoga, morning diner, walk, cursing, television watching, a mysterious phone call and being a night owl at a bar. The movie is mostly for longtime Stanton fans that get his folksy and eccentric humor, that take delight in his trademark crabbiness which was one of his special traits. The movie is not terribly exciting if judging by conventional standards, but it is often times touching, has insight, has pathos, and if anything else, is a proper and reverent elegy for one of the great character actors.

Lucky has no reason to question his routine until one morning, in front of the coffee maker, he passes out. He goes to see a doctor. That doctor is played by Ed Begley Jr. who gets his marvelous one scene about how equally amazed and perplexed at how good Lucky’s health really is. Lucky still feels the end is imminent. There are touching asides with a diner waitress, a mini-mart cashier, a pet shop owner. There’s a lot of colorful conversation at the bar, on topics ranging from moralism to realism, and Lucky challenges a smarmy lawyer to a fight outside (that lawyer is played by Ron Livingston, who takes a smarmy character and tries to convince others he is not smarmy). David Lynch is in the movie too as an old codger who is faithful to a tortoise he has lost.

I’m not sure what the movie’s final scene, in front of a tall spiky cactus, was supposed to symbolize, except to say the scene is simply about itself. A man at 90-years looks up at a cactus and wonders, what if this is the last day I ever really, really look at a cactus? I could easily watch “Lucky” because it had a number of simple but beautiful shots, and that Stanton is a treasure. “Paris, Texas” (1984) was easily the best film Stanton ever made and this is no equal, but it’s easy to look up at admire him one last time here.

Directed by John Carroll Lynch, himself a character actor (“Fargo,” “Zodiac”).

88 Minutes. Unrated.


Film Cousins: “Wild Strawberries” (1959, Sweden); “Paris, Texas” (1984); “The Straight Story” (1999); “Poetry” (2011, South Korea).

Lucky_2017_ Harry_Dean_Stanton_ Final Movie

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


There are No Comments about this post

Add Yours!

You must be logged in to post a comment.