Wherever You Are, There You Are…”Lucky”

Serendipity led me to see Lucky, meaning even though I had already done my self-psychoanalysis, talking myself down from the proverbial roof (hit a wall after working 50+ hours a week, became ill and also became very aware of poor working conditions of impoverished folks directly in front of me, combined with the self-imposed high anxiety of doing stand up comedy), the film helped add the necessary cement to my rediscovered zen. Picture my aforementioned realization, hitting myself in the head: I live in Sarasota and AM LUCKY, so curb the neuroses for Pete’s sakes.

Included in my muchos gracias to the cosmos is a thank you to my friend Pedro, another deep soul in the universe, for going with me.

Lucky is John Carrol Lynch’s directorial debut, but you’d recognize his face from many acting roles, most famously Fargo (Frances’s husband), but recently in a performance as LBJ in Jackie. Here’s where my amoxicillin infused whining kicks in in that I’m tired of people with three names and I’m also weary of the ridiculous number of television aka internet series there are (of which JCL stars in several-see IMDB if you care).

The screenplay was co-written by Logan Sparks (sounds like a fake name but at least it’s just two words) and Drago Sumonja, both of whom are new to big fame, but according to their filmography have put in their time as assistants.

Enough of the rabbit holes you say, what about the movie? The story is crucial considering our aging population’s need for story lines with which they can relate. I say this on behalf of the best Grandma on the planet, Florence Baker, 94, still kicking intellectual and physical buttocks in spite of her advanced age. Grandma doesn’t want to see Surburbicon or Thor, so thank you!

Henry Dean Stanton (ok we’ll let hm have three names God rest his soul, in fact anyone over 80 can have their three names) was a wonder and pretty much revealed on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast that this plays pretty close to his own life. Three quick commonalities are: was in the Navy, sang in a band, lived a solitary life.

HDS (aka Lucky the character) was an interesting dichotomy of melancholy and zen of which I can totally relate. My only wish for the film and my English speaking population is that there had been subtitles during the beautiful mariachi song he sang three quarters into the film. Trust me, I’m going to research and find out, but it would have added to the poignancy to see the words (though I can see the opposite argument and possible reasoning for subtitles distracting).

Minor characters were beautiful in both composition and story. Of note were: Yvonne Huff as a caring 420 friendly waitress, Tom Skerritt as a fellow armed services vet, and dear to my heart, Ed Begley Jr as Lucky’s wise cracking doctor.

Here’s where I call out the worst: David Lynch, my man, you can’t act. James Darren, you’d have been better stopping after Gidget (though you’re well preserved) and Beth Grant, you might be good, but your big mouth wise ass bar owner character was a turn off.

Overall though, great film, with an important message that since we don’t have proof of an afterlife, we better best enjoy we we have right now. Carpe Diem.

Hail Hail Cusack’s Back and Dano’s Better Than Ever

John Cusak

I was blown away by Love and Mercy and I never liked the Beach Boys. But now I do! An engaging screenplay, co-written by Oren Moverman, who also wrote The Messenger and I’m Not There is the deepest I’ve seen in trying to capture the long term effects of child abuse.

The director, Bill Pohlad, is most known for his big budget productions (12 years a Slave, Into the Wild).

And thank the good Lord that John Cusack got a decent script. Let’s kick his Abe Lincoln Vampire Slayer days to the curb, shall we, and add Hot Tub Time Machine as well. Even he had the good sense to say no to Hot Tub round two. Cusack’s phenomenal nuanced performance of depressed and uber eccentric older Brian Wilson is award worthy. Paul Dano’s terrific portrayal shows the mad genius behind every great songwriter.

I admit that I was skeptical going in about how Paul Dano and John Cusak were going to play the younger and older versions of Wilson when they don’t look too much alike. But alas, I never even thought twice about it.

And Paul Giamatti, not only was I on a high from his knock out performance as the angriest juror in Amy Schumer’s take off on Twelve Angry Men, but then he shows up in Love and Mercy as the creepiest sadist I’ve seen in some time.

Absolutely, go see this film.

Reese’s Pieces, “Wild”, Ode to My Mother

Laura Dern

I’ll reiterate a statement I’ve made in the past, that the best movies change you on such a deep level that you feel differently not only when you leave the theater, but days afterward. “Wild” directed by Jean-Marc Valee is one of those touching movies, especially for a woman of a certain age like me (proud 51).

Like Reese’s character’s mom Bobbi, my mom made sacrifices for my brother and me. In the film, Bobbi is portrayed by the wonderfully playful actress Laura Dern. Dern’s performance as a woman who realizes her self-sacrifice while insistently putting on the happy face, compelled to live in the present and cherish her sometimes grouchy, oft times impatient children. This aspect of the movie was so poignantly portrayed that I still feel reverberations.

All parents make sacrifices, but I’d make the case that moms of the 60’s and 70’s self-immolated the most, having grown up in a world that only wanted them to be homemakers, wives and mothers.

While I wouldn’t vote for Reese for a Golden Globe due to the stoic and therefore, small range of Cheryl Strayed’s character, I do wholeheartedly recommend the film ‘Wild’, since we would all be better for giving penance for our own mother’s love. The love she paid with the price of self-denial.

To all the mothers in the world and especially to mine, Reba of Bradenton, Fla., may I say I am humbled by your dedication and support. Merry Christmas.