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Here is the heartrending almost-final movie performance from the then 90-year-old Harry Dean Stanton. (He actually had one more film in him after this before he died, playing a sheriff in the yet to be released Frank and Ava, about Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner; and he was also in David Lynch’s new Twin Peaks on television.) Melancholy and faintly surreal, it’s very nearly a kind of filmic one-man-show.
He plays a wizened old guy, perhaps a spin on his character from Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas – cantankerous and ornery, living all on his own, but doggedly doing his exercises every morning in his longjohns, hanging out grumpily in a local coffee shop during the day, and watching soaps at home, smoking a pack of American Spirits a day. His name is Lucky (the opening credits punningly announce: “Harry Dean Stanton is Lucky”), and it would have been interesting to see him play the character of that name in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
After collapsing with a dizzy spell, Lucky goes to his mystified doctor who says that despite his heavy smoking, he is in very good shape. He has evaded the heart disease and cancer that would have carried off other people by now. So Lucky must concentrate on something vouchsafed to only a very few: the agonising existential purity of very-old-ness and not-yet-dead-ness.
This he does with a certain stoic blankness, showing up in the local bar and chatting with the regulars, including David Lynch as a man who has lost his tortoise and James Darren as the Christopher Walken soundalike smoothie who is stepping out with the proprietor, Elaine (Beth Grant).
Bertila Damas plays a local woman who invites lonely Lucky to her 10-year-old son’s birthday party, and Stanton’s most glorious moment is the song in Spanish he sings there. A sad, sweet movie.
Source: The Guardian
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