DVD Review: Lucky



We live in a world of conspiracy where somehow people are able to claim that history and science is a giant fraud. They faked the moon landing. The Earth is flat. Joanie didn’t love Cha-Chi. Mostly I scoff off these theories and people. But I deny that Harry Dean Stanton died last September. I believe he went back to roaming the desert like in Paris, Texas or cruising the streets as in Repo Man. He can’t be gone. And he was far from gone as Lucky proves.

Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton) is growing older in his small Southwestern town. He’s a man of his routine of waking up, lighting a smoke, working out, making the rounds of the town, getting home to watch his shows, fills out the crossword puzzle and hits his favorite watering hole for a night cap before bed and starting the day the next day. He’s a nice enough guy. One morning his routine comes crashing down as he passes out while waiting on the coffee machine. His doctor (Ed Begley Jr.) isn’t sure what happened since Lucky is in his 90s. He’s old enough that the doctor doesn’t give him the stop smoking speech. Lucky learns that he’s hit an age where you’ve lived long enough. This new rattles him that he’s not going to live forever. He gets even more knocked off kilter when he bumps into his pal Howard (Eraserhead‘s David Lynch) making his own end of life plans. Lucky doesn’t want to make any plans since he’s got no cares when he dies. He has no wife or kids or living family. He does have plans for beating up the lawyer (Office Space‘s Ron Livingston) helping Howard.

One night when I was working customer service for a cable company, I got a call from a woman looking for a college football game. I could hear in the background a man shouting what channel he needed. The wife said to forgive her 100 year old husband. But I completely understood his impatience. The guy could have died of natural causes before I found out the number. Luckily he lived to see kickoff and beyond.

There’s little autobiographical elements in the film for Harry Dean. At the start of the film we see him working out in the morning. Nearby is a framed photo of him in the Navy from World War II. But the biggest element is the mortality. What’s interesting is that this film comes at the same time that Harry Dean Stanton was in Twin Peaks: The Return. Both Lucky and the tv show dealt with aging. In today’s cinema where the focus is immortal mutant superheroes, it’s a change up to feel the fragility of humanity on the screen.

Director John Carroll Lynch’s name might not mean much to you, but his face is extremely familiar. He was Drew’s brother on The Drew Carey Show. He’s been on dozens of TV shows and movies. But his most eye popping role is Twisty the Clown on American Horror Story. His time in front of the camera translates so well to behind the lens. He allows Harry Dean Stanton to move at his own pace. He let director of photography Tim Suhrstedt (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) capture the best of their star. He was also able to get a lot of great talent to join Harry Dean including Tom Skerritt (his old captain from Alien, Beth Grant, James Darren (T.J. Hooker), Barry Shabaka Henley (Miami Vice) and Yvonne Huff. When Harry Dean accidentally teamed up with Win Wenders for Paris, Texas, he told the director, “I wanted to play something of some beauty or sensitivity.” John Carroll Lynch and his collaborators have given Harry one last final work of beauty and sensitivity.

Lucky shows how Harry Dean’s spirit and talent was still there. He still had song inside him. It’s hard to think that he’s gone. I’m just believe that he’s being extra picky about his material like Daniel Day Lewis.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the beauty of the desert community as Lucky roams around. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. Things sound so fine when Harry Dean breaks into song. The subtitles are in English and Spanish.

A Few Words From Harry Dean Stanton (1:53) is an interview where Harry admits he’s worn out and loved the project.

Behind the Scenes: Harry Dean Stanton’s Final Film Take (2:20) has him take a final smoke on camera.

Interview with Director John Carroll Lynch (13:52) has him talk about how he was originally cast in the film before the producers/writers asked him to be the director.

Interview with writers/producers Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja (27:25) features how their time with Harry Dean Stanton at a bar led to them wanting to make this project for their pal. They did a fine job.

Theatrical Trailer (1:58) sets it up with Lucky understanding realism.

Magnolia Home Entertainment presents Lucky. Directed by: John Carroll Lynch. Written by: Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja. Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt, Beth Grant and James Darren. Running time: 88 minutes. Rated: Unrated. Blu-ray Release: January 2, 2018.

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