swan song

IN THEATERS (SF) – “Lucky”

Lucky (2017; Dir.: John Carroll Lynch)

GRADE: B-

By Daniel Barnes

*Opens Friday, October 6, at the Landmark Embarcadero in San Francisco and the Landmark Shattuck in Berkeley.

Harry Dean Stanton headlines this tailor-made swan song, playing a nonagenarian coming to terms with his impending death in an oddball-filled desert town.  Despite clinging to his chain-smoking, hard-drinking, grease-ingesting ways, the unattached Lucky (Stanton) remains surprisingly spry and healthy, until an unexplained fall sends him on an atheistic spiritual journey.  Fellow three-named character actor Lynch makes his directorial debut, delivering a slight but sensitive character study, while also calling back to Stanton’s signature role in Paris, Texas.  This is Stanton’s show – he and Lucky overlap in so many ways that their personalities become indistinguishable, and Lynch indulges his star to mostly positive ends (although I could have done without the beaming faces while an unprovoked Lucky sings a Mexican corrido at a child’s birthday party).  Old pals like David Lynch and Tom Skerritt lend their talents in supporting roles, giving the film the feeling of a going-away party for Stanton, who passed away last month at the age of 91.  It was sad to see him go, but most actors don’t get the opportunity to dictate their cinematic epitaph, and Lucky makes for a lively wake.