For nearly seven years, a partnership between the Grand County Public Library and the Salt Lake City-based Utah Film Center has brought movies and documentaries to Moab that are typically only found in big cities.
Coming up on Thursday, July 19, is the movie “Lucky,” an award-winning film that takes place in the Arizona desert.
The main character, Lucky, is a 90-year-old World War II veteran, played by the late Harry Dean Stanton, who died just weeks before the film’s commercial release.
Directed by John Carroll Lynch, the film follows Lucky’s routine of visiting the local coffee shop and bar in a small town, where he talks and argues with the owners and his neighbors about philosophy, religion, morality and game shows.
“I came across this film while looking for recent film festival favorites and was delighted by Harry Dean Stanton’s portrayal of this curmudgeonly old man living in a small desert town wrestling with existential questions,” said Jessie Magleby, a library assistant. “I think this character will resonate with Moab locals.”
“Lucky” will be the 86th movie to be shown as part of the film series. The screenings, held at Star Hall, 159 E. Center St., are always free.
“Though we normally play documentaries, ‘Lucky’ seemed like the perfect film for the Moab monthly film series,” David Eyer Davis said, Utah Film Center program coordinator. “It’s a film you’d never see in a megaplex, but it’s got more life in it than every summer action movie combined.”
The film follows the spiritual journey of the elderly veteran — he’s an atheist, who is often brusque and impatient with his friends.
In one of the film’s defining moments, Magleby said, Lucky looks up the definition of realism — “the attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.” Or it can also mean, “the quality or fact of representing a person, thing, or situation accurately or in a way that is true to life.”
But, as Lucky notes throughout the film, everyone sees life differently, and says, “What you see is not what I get.”
“A great cast, colorful characters, quirky small-town life, a 100-year old tortoise named President Roosevelt, and superb acting by the late, great Harry Dean Stanton make ‘Lucky’ a little sweet, a little spicy, with plenty of food for thought,” Magleby said.
Written by Drago Sumonja and Logan Sparks, the film has performed well at several film festivals, where it has garnered Best Actor and Best Director awards, as well as Best Screenplay and Best Feature Film. The soundtrack includes a song by Johnny Cash, “I See a Darkness.”
“We love when films surprise us, and this one certainly did,” Davis said. “Out of the dust of the Arizona desert, Harry Dean Stanton’s final role comes as a funny, earnest and honest rumination on the meaning of life.”
The late, great Harry Dean Stanton stars in film
When: Thursday, July 19, at 7 p.m.
Where: Star Hall, 159 E. Center St.
Information: Call 435-259-1111
“A great cast, colorful characters, quirky small-town life, a 100-year old tortoise named President Roosevelt and superb acting by the late, great Harry Dean Stanton make ‘Lucky’ a little sweet, a little spicy, with plenty of food for thought.”