Recent movies about aging tend to introduce a new love interest, a bucket list, or a ticking-clock element in the form of an illness. The recent The Hero, starring Sam Elliott, was hamstrung by two of these, while the thuddingly maudlin Max Rose with Jerry Lewis could have used a bit more plot. John Carroll Lynch’s lovely Lucky has exactly as much story as it needs, and it doesn’t need much considering that it’s the final leading role for Harry Dean Stanton, who recently passed away at 91.
Lucky (Stanton) lives alone in a desert town smoking cigarettes, doing crosswords, and patronizing the local businesses. He often debates the nature of reality with the locals — it surely isn’t a coincidence that the first major conversation about the subjective nature of reality is followed by the introduction of a friend of Lucky’s played by David Lynch, famous eschewer of the concept of objective reality — while wrestling with his fear of the eternal darkness awaiting him. He hasn’t been diagnosed with cancer or any other illness — he’s just 90, and really, that’s enough. Lucky is a hangout movie with one of the late greats, and Stanton even gets a Bond-style opening credit: “Harry Dean Stanton is Lucky.” Perhaps, but we were even luckier to have him.
Opens Friday at the Embarcadero Center Cinema.