First Hit: Some insightful views of life from someone who’s over 90 years old.
Having a mom who is over 94 and going strong, bless her, I was interested in how Harry Dean Stanton who is 91 would play Lucky.
Additionally, it would be interesting to see how this 90+ year old character would be portrayed. Like her, there were behavior traits that reminded me of her; like his doing exercises in his living room and taking long walks. Both of those things keep my mom going as it did Lucky.
Lucky has smoked all his life, is an atheist and has developed a philosophy of holding his own, even if out matched. Like getting into an argument with a lawyer 50 years his junior and squaring off to get into some fisticuffs with him.
Getting up each morning, Lucky turns on the radio to a Spanish/Mexican station that plays mariachi music, lights a cigarette, washes himself in the sink, exercises (hybrid yoga positions), drinks a large glass of milk, and makes coffee.
His day is getting dressed, walking to town, going to a diner where he gets coffee talks with the owner Joe (Barry Shabaka Henley) and waitress Loretta (Yvonne Huff) and works on a crossword puzzle. Leaving he walks around town, stops in-front of a building (we don’t see the sign until near the end of the film) and yells “cunts”, walks into the local store to buy milk and cigarettes and heads back home to watch “his programs” on TV.
Occasionally he calls an unidentified friend on the phone and asks him for help on a crossword hint or to tell him some small story about a remembrance. In the evening, he walks to a local bar where he gets a Bloody Mary drink and waits for his friend Howard (David Lynch) to come in. Noticing that Howard is down, Lucky reaches out and discovers that Howard’s tortoise (President Roosevelt) has escaped.
One morning while making coffee, he falls. Visiting Dr. Christian Kneedler (Ed Begley Jr.), they cannot figure out why he fell, but most in the audience has an idea, he stared at the blinking "12:00” on his coffee maker and probably had a mild seizure. This was my guess because, I had a larger grand mal seizure in 1996 and didn’t recall the reason. My only recollection was the sunlight flashing (like the blinking of the light on the coffee machine) in my eyes through the leaves caused my brain to seize up. Anyway, the talk Lucky has with the doctor is hilarious. Filled with philosophical beliefs and reasons for living or not.
During the days and evenings where we watch his life unfold we get glimpses of his belief structure like; we are born alone and die alone. There is no God. What we’ve got is now and there is no future.
There are truly touching moments in the film. One was all of a sudden he begins singing at a young boy's birthday party. Or, Howard's thoughts on how President Roosevelt escaped from the yard: “He must have been planning it for a long time to figure out how to time getting out of the gate at a particular moment.” And when you see the sign on the building and figure out why he yells out “cunts” every morning.
Although the film has a slow pace, it works really well, and is wonderfully acted.
Stanton, at 91, is perfect for the part. Having been a character actor in over 100 films, he’s just perfect as this guy named Lucky. His smile at the camera, at the end of the film, is spot on. Lynch is wonderful as Howard the grieving owner of President Roosevelt. His touching story about how Roosevelt carries his coffin on his back for his whole life, is deeply touching. Ron Livingston as lawyer Bobby Lawrence is wonderful. I liked how he eventually tells his story of fear. Begley Jr. is wonderful as the doctor. Tom Skerritt as Fred a strange Lucky has a conversation is great. Nothing like two guys talking about a shared experience. Henley is fantastic as the café owner. His thoughtfulness and reminders that Lucky cannot smoke in his café were funny. Huff was fantastic as the waitress who cared enough to stop by Lucky’s home to find out if he was OK. When she stayed to watch a TV show with him, it was sweet. Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja wrote an expressive and real life script. John Carroll Lynch did a great job of directing this screenplay and story. It felt very real.
Overall: I really enjoyed this slice of real life.