The American actor John Carroll Lynch made his acting debut in Grumpy Old Men. Lynch’s directorial debut Lucky is about one grumpy old man.

Lucky stars Harry Dean Stanton in his final role. Released a few months before Stanton’s death in 2017 at the age of 91, the movie is a profound tribute to an acting legend by an accomplished actor. Lucky can be streamed on a pay-per-view basis on Apple TV+, YouTube Movies and GooglePlay.

Stanton’s Lucky appears to be as old as the hills and cacti that surround him. A man of fixed routine and a mildly cynical temperament, Lucky is perfectly at home in his Californian town, the kind of place where everybody knows everybody else well enough to indulge their eccentricities.

The finely attuned screenplay by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja shuffles along with Lucky, patiently following him on his daily trudges to the local diner, the grocery store and the bar. This aging Marlboro Man, who has survived war and sustained nicotine consumption, is forced to confront the inevitable when a friend’s tortoise goes missing.

Howard is gutted by the disappearance of “President Roosevelt”. Lucky gets other reminders of his mortality, which he faces with grim grace and a devil-may-care attitude.

John Carroll Lynch’s affection for Stanton as well as the rest of the cast is evident from his directing choices. By letting scenes play out in a leisurely fashion, Lynch ensures that the cast makes their presence felt – no mean feat when all eyes are on Stanton, who is magnificent in the lead role. There are memorable cameos by director David Lynch as Howard, Barry Shabaka Henley as the diner’s owner, and Bertila Damas as the woman who invites Lucky to a party and has the privilege of hearing him sing (Stanton was also a professional singer).

Very few people get to where you are, a doctor tells Lucky – a statement that is surely about Stanton too. The breaking of the fourth wall, which sees Stanton smile at his viewers, is one of the finest ways for an actor to transit from one stage of life into the next.

Lucky (2017).

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