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Lucky

Year: 2017
Production Co: Superlative Film
Director: John Carroll Lynch
Writer: Logan Sparks/Drago Sumonja
Cast: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr, Tom Skerritt

I only became interested in this movie after hearing a clip in which Howard (David Lynch) a friend of Lucky's (Harry Dean Stanton), waxes lyrically and sadly about how his beloved pet tortoise has escaped from its pen and wandered off. The dialogue was so uniquely Lynchian – as sad as it was funny and as avant garde as it was mundane – I hoped more of the movie might be like it.

Unfortunately Lynch is only in two scenes, and the rest of it – while well staged, shot, designed and acted – doesn't have a very rich story.

Lucky is an elderly man who lives alone in a trailer outside a ramchackle desert town somewhere in California. He wakes up, goes through his morning self care routine (with Stanton, 91 at the time and in the final year of his life, game to show how frail and shopworn he was at his age), puts on his battered straw cowboy hat and goes about his day.

We see various parts of his routine play out several times, and those details make it feel like director John Carroll Lynch was more interested in painting a picture of a man's life and his facing down of mortality than regaling us with a thrilling yarn.

He makes coffee in the morning and stares at the time blinking on its digital clock, never having bothered to set it. He goes to the town diner for breakfast and does his crossword, goes to the local dive bar at night for a few Bloody Marys and to talk and argue with his friends.

On his daily walk around town he stops at a peculiarly-shaped doorway, turns and yells 'cunts' angrily into it, an act we won't understand until much later when his story develops more thanks to conversations with his barfly friends. Late at night, he sometimes calls an unnamed friend to ask esoteric questions about life and his crossword puzzle.

Everything else from there consists merely of episodes that fill up Lucky's life but don't really add up to an overall narrative thrust. He meets a man in the diner (Tom Skerritt), another World War II vet like himself, who tells him the story of an operation in Japan. Howard ends up talking to a lawyer to draw up a will and Lucky, taking against the idea, creates an ugly scene in the bar about it.

On a seeming whim, he attends a birthday party thrown by the kindly Hispanic lady who runs the convenience store for her son, breaking into spontaneous song and kind of bringing the mood down.

It's not exactly sound and fury adding up to nothing, it's actually very little adding up to nothing, and although it was a fitting swan song for Stanton's storied career, I spent most of the time wondering what the script by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja and the direction by Carroll Lynch was trying to say.

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