Thursday, October 19, 2017

Lucky and Marshall

                                         Truths and/or Consequences

                                                      Reviews by Ken Burke

                                                 Lucky (John Carroll Lynch)

“Executive Summary” (no spoilers): Lucky’s a very old man living in a small Arizona desert town with a daily routine that suits him just fine no matter what anybody else thinks about anything he does; he’s quick to offer his opinions as well, such as his anger at a lawyer whom he thinks is taking advantage of a friend of his, a man aggrieved by the loss of his long-time-pet, a giant tortoise.  While there’s not much going on here that would be ruined by any further “revelations” about this atheist confronting his own mortality, I’ll be true to my “no spoilers” premise by just saying that Lucky’s played by Harry Dean Stanton in what’s likely his penultimate role prior to his recent death, a fitting finale to a long, remarkable career of indelible-on-screen-performances.

Here’s the trailer:  (Use the full screen button in the image’s lower right to enlarge it; activate that same button on the full screen’s lower right or your “esc” keyboard key to return to normal size.)

If you can abide plot spoilers read on, but as this blog’s intended for those who’ve seen the film—or want to save some bucks—to help any of you who’d like to learn more details yet avoid important plot-reveals I’ll identify such give-away sentences/sentence-clusters like this: The first and last words will be noted with arrows and red.  OK, continue on if you like.
What Happens: Ornery old Lucky* (Harry Dean Stanton) lives in a small town somewhere in the Arizona desert, seems to have been there for years, has a consistent daily routine (wakes up; shaves; drinks part of a glass of milk, puts the rest in the refrigerator; brushes his teeth; does some yoga; smokes the first of many cigarettes; dresses in his uniform of a plaid shirt, baggy jeans [not trendy-intentionally-baggy, just a size a bit big for his skinny frame], boots, cowboy hat; walks to Joe’s café for coffee, time to work his daily-newspaper-crossword-puzzle [resulting in Lucky’s large vocabulary] while trading amiable insults with Joe [Barry Shabaka Henley]; ambles to a small grocery store for more milk and/or smokes; walks home to watch afternoon TV game shows; walks to Elaine’s bar to banter with Elaine [Beth Grant], her husband Paulie [James Darren], and close friend Howard [David Lynch—no relation to the director, although you might know this other Lynch as a supporting actor with a long career {111 listings but outpaced by Stanton’s 199}with his first notable film role being Norm Gunderson in Fargo {Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; 1996}—speaking of extensive listings, go to the Press Kit section of the official site {1st under Related Links for Lucky far below} to get the fullest string of credits you’ll ever see for this film {even more than IMDb’s, as it includes the full list of “Wish To Thank …” honorees}] while drinking Bloody Marias [a Bloody Mary made with tequila rather than vodka]).  On day 2 of this story, though, he suddenly falls over in the morning (off-camera, we hear his grumbling response) so he’s soon seeing Dr. Kneedler (Ed Begley Jr.) who finds nothing wrong with him, says he’s such in reasonable-enough-shape for a man of 90 there’s not even any point in him giving up smoking; frankly, he’s just old (a point atheist Lucky knows well, although the thought of fading into the abyss of nothingness has begun to trouble him).

*An ongoing-nickname he acquired in the Navy during WW II assignment to the Philippines because as a cook he didn’t have to be directly involved in combat (unless the ship was attacked, of course).

 Really, not much else happens during the duration of Lucky, except for a cluster of finely-written-scenes (by Logan Sparks, Drago Sumonja) that include Howard in the bar lamenting his giant tortoise, President Roosevelt (as in Teddy), wandering off when he left the gate open (Lynch gives a grand speech about the significance of this animal—“He affected me”—as it drags its future coffin around throughout its extended life; refer to the beginning of the Bottom Line Final Comments section below to see this clip), Howard meeting with lawyer Bobby Lawrence (Ron Livingston) to draw up a will leaving everything to the reptile with Lucky lambasting Lawrence for taking financial advantage of his friend, even challenging the lawyer to a fight in the parking lot; waitress Loretta (Yvonne Huff) visiting Lucky in concern for his earlier fall (he confesses his fears to her; they watch old footage of Liberace on TV, sharing a joint); Lucky having a bit of a reconciliation conversation with Lawrence after first refusing to talk to him, as the lawyer tries to convince Lucky to draw up his own will for peace of mind only to have our grizzled protagonist shoot him down with the remark that a will doesn’t prevent death; Lucky having another café conversation, this time with WWII vet Fred (Tom Skerritt) who also served in the Philippines; Lucky being invited by grocery-clerk Bibi (Bertila Damas) to her son’s birthday fiesta which he attends, then surprises the Hispanic celebrants with an a cappella rendition of “Volver, Volver”* in Spanish (a sad song—especially for a 10-year-old’s party—in which the singer speaks of lost love, longing for reconciliation [“You were very right I listen to my heart And I’m dying for going back {…} I know how to lose I want to go back, go back, go back”], but it’s enthusiastically-received by the celebrants); Lucky bantering with Elaine about not being able to smoke in her bar, then boldly, briefly lighting up one night just before leaving.⇐ 

*I don’t have a clip of Lucky singing it but I can offer one by Vincente Fernández, who seemingly is the author; if you’re as monolingual as I am you might benefit from this English translation at a site that also has a link to the original Spanish lyrics as well as another video performance of the song by Freddie Fender, Flaco Jimenez, and Willie Nelson (with terrible-quality-video but the audio’s fine).

 Within its relatively-brief-88-min.-running-time this subtly-elegant-film contains some very poignant moments such as Lucky telling Loretta not only about his fear of death (with his visions of empty blackness, something’s that haunted him since he was 13) but also about the guilt he continues to carry over an incident when he was about 8 shooting an unreliable-aim-BB gun intended to just scare a mockingbird but ending up killing it.  (A sin against a beautiful voice of nature as we should know from lawyer Atticus Finch explaining such to his children Scout and Jem in either the original Harper Lee novel of To Kill a Mockingbird [1960] or the exquisite film adapted from it [Robert Mulligan, 1962] with Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, and Phillip Alford in those Finch family roles—in the press notes director Lynch offers another connection to … Mockingbird in characterizing Lucky: “He walks around town every day and everyone has feelings about him. Even though he has little or no feelings about them. Like Boo Radley in a way,” speaking of the book/film’s reclusive character who performs a heroic—although violentact at the end.)  Another such pause for reflection comes during Lucky’s talk with former-Marine Fred who shares his still-disturbing-memories of how defeated Japanese in the Philippines committed suicide because they feared torture from their American captors, based on how they were trained in their own succeed-or-die-culture.  All of this somber reflection’s lightened throughout, though, by some very humorous interchanges—based on Lucky’s sardonic nature—along with a somewhat-obvious-yet-effective-ending as Lucky’s walking along through his cactus-strewn-landscape, then smiles directly into the camera before walking away (everyone involved assumed this would be Stanton’s finale [or close to it], so it was written to reflect aspects of his life—including Navy service, no marriages or children, the “You’re nothing” greeting exchanged every morning between Joe and Lucky), at which point President Roosevelt finally appears, slowly wandering across the frame as Lucky's already receded into the background.

So What? If you’re aware of my previous reviews (or wish to see what I like as catalogued in the summary of Two Guys reviews link to be found in the Related Links section far below), I rarely go above 4 stars because, much as I might respond to a specific cinematic experience, I try to reserve my topmost numbers for films that have either proven their value as recognized classics or clearly have the potential to become such in future years.  Thus, I’ve previously awarded 5 stars only 5 times (only 1 recent release—Fences [Denzel Washington, 2016]—with the others being re-released past triumphs), along with only 4 in the 4½ range (by chance, almost 1 per year since this blog’s inception skipping over just 2014), which now gets its 5th member with Lucky, not as part of a sentimental tribute to Stanton (who died recently, September 15, 2017) but in recognition of how this seemingly-simple-film carries so much sweetness, beauty, and sorrow in its brief on-screen-existence.  For those who’d question why I’d find this sparse, laconic story to be in the same league as the much more complex, intense inclusions in my restricted 4½-star-group, let me answer by showing you something else that succeeds with powerful-brevity, a 3-min., 2-projector slides-and-soundtrack-show, Intersection, about the 1963 JFK assassination, made many years ago by Todd Gipstein, a marvelous photographer/media producer/scriptwriter for National Geographic (this link offers a small version of this video  transfer but it still carries the power of the conception/execution, or you can zoom in to enlarge your screen display if you prefer)—in fact, if I were reviewing Intersection, I’d give it 5 stars, just as it won a crystal “Ami” award (the top prize level) at the Association for Multi-Image International’s worldwide competition in 1985.  (Full disclosure, I was the Head Judge of that festival from 1980-1996, but it was a team of other judges who chose this award for Todd, one of many he received from this group, but I totally concur with their decision.)

*Intersection’s in QuickTime download format on the American Places Films section of Gipstein's website (this homepage gives you a link at the bottom for acquiring QuickTime if you need it).  You might also be interested in his X 100: 1 Mile, 1 Year, 1 Lens project demonstrating his intense skill as a photographer, even working under restrictive conditions.  (More disclosure: Todd’s my old friend/respected colleague, but if you decide to buy anything from him I benefit not at all excepting for having connected you to a superb talent, exemplified by his fabulously-meditative X 100 show.)

 However, in addition to Lucky’s subtle commentary on deeper issues of existence, unobtrusive cinematic approach, and collection of compelling characters, the film also benefits from inclusion of autobiographical aspects of Stanton’s life and career, with Lucky almost an extension of his acclaimed Travis Henderson character from Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984) who wandered out of the desert of west Texas seeking to reunite with his young son, Hunter (Hunter Carson), and wife, Jane (Nastassja Kinski), but in a heartwarming-yet-melancholy-ending the mother and child are brought back together while Travis simply drives away;  Lucky seems an avatar of Travis, back in the desert again but with no family (like Stanton himself, despite many romantic entanglements over the years, as well as time spent in the Navy).  Further, he also has connections with fellow-actor Lynch—more well-known as a director—having appeared in a few of his films as well as the recent Showtime revival of a famous early 1990s TV series with Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) where Stanton had a role in several episodes as trailer park manager Carl Rodd (with the additional link of Rodd playing/singing "Red River Valley" [1:09, episode 10], corresponding to Stanton playing that tune on his harmonica as part of Lucky; Rodd’s also in Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me [1992] film, an after-the-fact-prequel to the original Twin Peaks' blunt challenge to traditional network TV programming).*  It’s very clear in that final shot where Lucky finally gives us a quick smile before shuffling off (this mortal coil, as it turns out) both J.C. Lynch and Stanton saw this film as a career finale (although we’re scheduled to see Harry Dean one more time, as Sheriff Lloyd in Frank and Ava [Michael Oblowitz; still in post-production, not sure of an intended release date] about the stormy relationship between movie icons Sinatra and Gardner), further adding on to its compelling impact.

*One scene in Lucky even feels like it was directed by Lynch—David, not John Carroll—when our protagonist wanders out into the alley behind Elaine’s to be confronted by the loud music from an adjacent night club with its back door open so we see its deep red walls contrasted by the green light of an EXIT sign; Lucky walks up to this entrance, bathed in the dual lights, as if to portend something otherworldly about to happen in this isolated environment, but nothing further comes of it (shown above, but when I massaged the image to bring out the detail I lost the green of the sign).

Bottom Line Final Comments: Just like Howard is troubled by the disappearance of his tortoise (2:10), so am I “affected” by the sublime power of this film, as noted in my previous comments (in honor of a structure not intruded upon by too much extraneous background music, except for some recurring harmonica which sets us up for Stanton’s rendition of “Red River Valley” later on).  But what about the rest of the critical community, even if their opinions don’t matter nearly as much as mine?  Well, those surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes give Lucky a magnificent 97% positive reviews, while the folks at Metacritic (normally expected to come in with a lower number) offer a 79% positive score (one of their higher marks for the year, based on films both they and I have reviewed), although such support hasn’t translated into much income yet for this decidedly-independent-offering with only about $362 thousand in the tank after 3 weeks in release (however, that’s based on a tiny option of 60 theaters in the domestic [U.S.-Canada] market, so it’s yet to be seen what larger coverage, increasing audience response, or possibly [?] even a posthumous Oscar nomination for Stanton might be forthcoming).  However well Lucky does financially, though, it’ll always be a hit with me, so I heartedly encourage you to see it if you can or at least track it down on video when that becomes some kind of option for you.  Rather than try to make more of it verbally when it’s all in the nuance of the steady pacing, Stanton’s weather-beaten-visage, sly humor, and the barren desert reflecting the conversations about health, loss, fear, death, I’ll just wrap this up with my choice of a Musical Metaphor speaking in its own matter to issues and elements of Lucky, although I’ll let the director set up what I’m about to play in his description of Stanton’s portrayal of aged, intriguing Lucky: “He is a loner. A lover of puzzles and games. He prides himself on his self-reliance and thinks of himself as a master of his fate. He knows he's the smartest guy in the room even when he isn't.  [...] confronted with his vulnerability, his first instinct is to rail and return to the illusion of self-sufficiency. But that comes at the price of connection. As it does for us all I think.”

 One valid choice for my closing Metaphorical song would have been “The Man in the Moonshine” (Foster Timms), directly about Stanton himself, played under the closing credits, but I can find no version of that to share with you so instead I’ll start with something I’ve used before but find to be just too appropriate here to avoid in Guy Clark’s “Desperados Waiting for a Train” (on his 1975 Old No. 1 album) at (from a 1977 PBS Austin City Limits broadcast) with it’s references to “Red River Valley,” a grandfatherly-guy beloved by the singer as “an old school man of the world [… living with the younger singer in an existence] like some old western movie” (which I’ve seen this film compared to in some other reviews, although Lucky can't mirror my Metaphor with a younger admirer of the old man), as well as a general sense of nostalgia for a life now gone by, but a film this good deserves another song so here’s something else from my long-ago-Texas-memories that’s also quite appropriate to Lucky, Steve Fromholz’s “Man With the Big Hat” (from the Frommox [a short-term-partnership with Dan McCrimmon] 1969 album From Here to There) at (written in 1968, Fromholz says when he was in Cave Creek, AZ where some of this film was shot in 2016), especially with its final verse: “Now the high-llnes chase the highways, and the fences close the range And to see a working cowboy, that’s a sight that’s mighty strange But a cowboy’s life was lonely, and his lot was not the best, But if hadn’t been for men like me, there wouldn’t be no west.”  Lucky wasn’t truly a cowboy, but I think this song sounds like just as much about him as the actual guy who inspired Steve's tribute; may they both rest in peace (along with Fromholz, who was sadly killed in a 2014 hunting accident, silencing one of the great poetic voices of my generation; if you’d like to see him in action singing "... Big Hat"—although as more up-tempo [from 1990]here he is).
                                                     Marshall (Reginald Hudlin)
A film based on history but with some swagger/humor-enhancement about the 1941 trial where future-Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, working for the NAACP, comes to Connecticut to defend a Black chauffeur against rape charges from his White employer but has to drag in unwilling-co-counsel Sam Friedman because Marshall’s not licensed in this state.

Here’s the trailer:

        Before reading any further, I’ll ask you to refer to the plot spoilers warning far above.
What Happens: Once again we’re in “Based on a True Story” territory (as several of my recent reviews have been), this time following an episode in the early career of Thurgood Marshall (who later achieves fame for successfully arguing against “separate but equal” segregation in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education trial [1954], ultimately winning 29 of 32 presentations to the U.S. Supreme Court, later becoming the first African-American appointed to that Court [1967]) back in 1941 when as a young lawyer establishing a stellar career (graduated from Howard University’s School of Law in 1934 after being denied entrance to his preferred University of Maryland [due to his situation of being intelligent while Black], later successfully sued in the Maryland Supreme Court to outlaw such law school discrimination at that university) as the only African-American lawyer working for the NAACP; Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) found himself traveling all over the country defending innocent Blacks, leaving wife Vivien “Buster” Burey (Keesha Sharp) alone in their Harlem apartment (although when home they partied with notables from later years of the Harlem Renaissance such as Langston Hughes [Jussie Smollett] and Zora Neale Hurston [Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas])The trial here involved a rape charge against Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown), a chauffeur, accused by his employer, socialite Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson).  The deck seems stacked from the beginning, not only because of racist assumptions about the “depraved” nature of “Negroes” even in supposedly-more-enlightened Greenwich and Bridgeport, CT but also because of the arrogant attitude of prosecutor Loren Willis (Dan Stevens), frequently supported by stern judge Carl Foster (James Cromwell) who refused to allow Marshall (with no law license in this state) to be certified for this trial so all of the courtroom actions had to be done by barely-willing-insurance-lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), with Marshall as his not-fully-silent-courtroom-partner.

 Despite Friedman’s hope for whatever plea bargain might be forthcoming from Willis, as well as initial hesitancy from wife Stella (Marina Squerciati) about her husband risking his reputation on such a seemingly-unwinnable-case (with plenty of prejudiced hatred already emerging in the local public), intensified by angry disagreements with Marshall over evidence gathering, courtroom tactics, and general hesitancy to push this apparently-biased-judge too far, both lawyers (with Thurgood’s argument about Aaron speaking for Moses during the Exodus as a simile for him likewise directing Sam’s public speeches) finally come to see Spell actually had consensual sex with Mrs. Strubing, then when driving her around to clear her state of guilty agitation she had him stop the car so she could so a panic-jump into a reservoir, but after he fled she swam to shore, climbed up to the highway, stopped a passing motorist, then concocted her tale of rape, kidnapping, and attempted murder.  Friedman really gets on board after a night when both he and Marshall are separately attacked by local bigots, although wiry Marshall (aided by a shotgun-toting-bartender) is able to resist his attackers better than Friedman, whose thugs run away only when a car pulls up at the scene of that attack.  ⇒Through intense courtroom testimony it becomes clear Strubing was a lonely (although wealthy) woman in an abusive marriage who welcomed the attentions of Spell (no Boy Scout himself, with a dishonorable Army discharge, some theft charges, and prior marriages including his current one, but still not guilty of the crimes he’s now charged with).  Marshall’s called away to another case in Mississippi, leaving a newly-confident Friedman with a rehearsed strategy to sow enough doubt in the jury’s mind that they return a not-guilty verdict, so all ends well for those we’re eager to support (although Buster has a personal crisis with a miscarriage, leaving Thurgood guilty for being at the trail rather than home with her), while the lying Eleanor faces a miserable future with her gruesome husband, John (Jeremy Lowell Bobb).⇐

So What? What makes Marshall work so well is its tone, which mixes fast pace, occasional humor (in the manner by which Thurgood verbally battles with all who attempt to belittle him as well as how Sam attempts to push himself away from a situation that has no upside for him, admitting he’s not a criminal lawyer but just a guy pulled into this situation by a Black former classmate who’s already made lots of arrangements—without Sam's knowledgethat are difficult to back out of especially with Thurgood insisting there’s no longer any choice), a true tag-team-effort with its male protagonists so even though this movie’s called Marshall it’s just as much about Friedman with the prejudice he faces as a Jew in a community largely run by wealthy Christians along with the subtly-alluded-to-comments about the horror for Jews in Europe as WW II’s atrocities are building, and a clear sense of connection to successful cinematic-courtroom-stories of the past, the ones that ended in victories for the innocent (12 Angry Men [Sidney Lumet,1957], Judgment at Nuremberg [Stanley Kramer, 1961], The Verdict [David Mamet, 1982]) or even those where the trial decision was wrong (Inherit the Wind [Kramer, 1960], To Kill a Mockingbird) but we’re still treated to a sense of honor in the defense attorneys, respecting what they stand for, finding nobility in their arguments even when it’s clear the juries may too easily swayed by the limits of existing community prejudices.

 Marshall also works by allowing us to experience a grand figure of history within a context where he doesn’t yet have to present himself as semi-saintly so his ego, pride, anger, passion (professional and sexual) are all on display to make him as compelling as any fictional character without yet having to be so honorable as Nelson Mandela in Invictus (Clint Eastwood, 2009; Morgan Freeman as Mandela) or Martin Luther King in Selma (Ava DuVernay, 2014; review in our January 15, 2015 posting; David Oyelowo as King).  Further, by being set early in Marshall’s career, when his activities aren’t so detailed and repeated in endless Black History Month reports, Boseman’s given more freedom to expand upon the presentation of his character rather than the constraints he faced with his excellent portrayals of Jackie Robinson in 42 (Brian Helgeland, 2013; review in our April 18, 2013 posting) or James Brown in Get On Up (Tate Taylor, 2014; review in our August 7, 2014 posting), giving this rendition of Thurgood Marshall a bit of the swagger Boseman’s now in the process of creating for a new member of Marvel’s Avengers superheroes-collective, Black Panther.

Bottom Line Final Comments: If you need some historical context to help put the highly-entertaining Marshall into perspective you can consult this article from the Smithsonian Magazine about the actual Strubing-Spell trial (which gives the sense this movie’s not all that fictionalized except in its likely enhancement of the characters’ characteristics) as well as this extensive summary of Marshall's accomplishments and this documentary (a good investment of your time, even at 43:27) about his life, all of which take a more traditional, consistently-serious approach to information about this famous lawyer/judge.  However, whether you care to be historically-well-informed or not, you probably do want to know more about how Marshall’s functioning in its own right as a movie competing for critical and popular attention during this contintious-autumn-to-winter-run-up-to-the-Oscars-timeframe; all I can say to that point (at this point) is Marshall’s coming across as more successful with some of us than with others.  My 4 stars indicate a cinematic experience worth your time and money, with this one having the further advantage beyond excellent acting by all concerned—supported by a wealth of high-gloss-technical-values—of a powerful indictment that helps reinforce how ingrained racism’s always been in our society, no matter the geographical location nor the social class of people involved.  It’s an indignity that’s forever been there, there are no justifiable excuses for it, it's been—and continues to be—an extremely repulsive, difficult stain to eradicate from our cultural fabric.  The critics surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes mostly agree with me, in that 86% of those film reviews are of a positive tone.

 However, Marshall’s not playing to universal acclaim, as evidenced by the markedly-lower average score of 66% at Metacritic, with David Ehrlich of IndieWire, for example, offering a mere 50 of 100 (or at least that’s how his comments have been interpreted by the MC scorers, although he gave it a C which could easily be understood as 75 in traditional academic context so I remain uncertain how these numbers are assigned in MC tallies except where it’s an obvious translation of, say, 4 of 5 stars which should be 80 even though they often tweak it to a bit more or less than that) who said: “…the problem with this hokey courtroom drama isn’t that it says the right thing in the wrong way, the problem is that it ultimately doesn’t say anything at all.”  He also thinks something called Marshall gives too much focus to Friedman, as if it’s the old problem of “we need a White perspective on this Black story” when Friedman’s place in this tale is historical fact plus the director’s intention seems clearly to be the inclusion of White allies in a Black struggle (especially the Whites facing their own history of violent exclusion, also still being manifested by Trump and Bannon’s “nationalists” today); he also wants more context on the Black-Jewish-relationship, another common complain about history-based-movies, that they never seem to cover enough details to satisfy all interested parties even though running times beyond 2 hours usually create problems for audiences, studios, and theaters, as evidenced by the tepid response to the near-3-hour Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve; review in our October 12, 2017 posting), with a worldwide gross of about $158 million in worldwide income after 2 weeks in release, barely enough to cover its huge production budget let alone the extra millions used in marketing any movie today.  

 Marshall’s still in a negotiating-phase with audiences, though, playing in just 821 domestic theaters in its first week, bringing in about $3 million thus far against its $12 million budget so we’ll see over the next few weeks whether it catches on and expands or slowly fades away as more heavily-promoted-filmic-fare increases our moviehouse competition with the annual-prestigeous-product-rollout occurring even as the impending MLB World Series along with new games from the NBA, ongoing ones from the NFL continue to offer other entertainment options for potential audiences.

 With all of the above under consideration, my chosen Musical Metaphor for Marshall is Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” (written by him in 1967, first recorded by The Band for their 1968 debut album Music from Big Pink, later found on various Dylan albums including Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II [1971]) at (a 1999 live performance, location unknown to me), a song which I’ve used before a couple of times (I try not to over-indulge in any particular choice so as not to bore regular readers of this blog, all 12 of you—although our ongoing monthly total’s still in the realm of tens of thousands so thanks again to all of you wonderful worldwide readers who continue to find Two Guys in the Dark in your Web searches even with so many other film critics—including grumpy ones such as David Ehrlich—to choose from; we very much appreciate your patronage [and, to emulate a Groucho Marx comment, I hope you appreciate being patronized]) but I just find its intent to be too useful to Marshall's tale of overcoming racial (or any other type of) prejudice, especially with the verse about “Standing next to me in this lonely crowd Is a man who swears he’s not to blame All day long I hear him shout so loud Crying out that he was framed [all of which could be seen as defense of people such as Joseph Spell or seen as a cynical rejection of those who falsely claim injury—with their spurious arguments of “fake news”—when they’re truly the oppressors, so at best we can all hope for eventual deliverance because] I see my light come shining From the west unto the east [whatever that cryptically means; maybe the sunset of outdated ideas illuminating the misguided past they’ve caused] Any day now, any day now I shall be released.”  As Thurgood (who, unlike Lucky, really was the smartest guy in the room most of the time) says in the film, “The only way to get through a bigot’s door is to break it down”; at its most optimistic, this song looks forward to a day when those doors have been eradicated, a clear hope even when so much that was wrong in 1941 continues to contaminate our world today.
Related Links Which You Might Find Interesting:
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*A Google software glitch causes every Two Guys posting prior to October 18, 2016 to have an inaccurate (dead) link to this Summary page; from then forward, though, this link is accurate.

Here’s more information about Lucky: (34:38 interview with actor Harry Dean Stanton from a few years back so there’s nothing here about Lucky but you can easily see how similar his character is to the actual guy, constantly smoking and all [host Harper Simon reminds me of the star-struck-interviewer formerly played by Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live, {“Do you remember when …”} especially given the laconic responses by Stanton—Clint Eastwood could easily portray him in a biopic, so, Hollywood execs, if anyone moves forward on this idea don’t forget to send me a finder’s fee]; at 27:40 he sings “Cancion mextica” [“Mextic Song”—from the soundtrack of Paris, Texas where it was sung by Stanton] and plays harmonica)

Here’s more information about Marshall: (32:08 interview with actors Chadwick Boseman and Josh Gad [begins with the same trailer as just above])

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By the way, if you’re ever at The Hotel California knock on my door—but you know what the check out policy is so be prepared to stay for awhile. Ken*

*YouTube keeps deleting links to this Eagles performance so I keep putting a newer version back in but you’ll just find dead links in our previous postings prior to October 19, 2017, so don’t be confused.

P.S.  Just to show that I haven’t fully flushed Texas out of my system here’s an alternative destination for you, Home in a Texas Bar, with Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker.  But wherever the rest of my body may be my heart’s always with my longtime-companion, lover, and wife, Nina Kindblad, so here’s our favorite shared song—Neil Young’s "Harvest Moon"
—from the performance we saw at the Desert Trip concerts in Indio, CA on October 15, 2016 (as a full moon was rising over the stadium) because “I’m still in love with you,” my dearest, a never-changing-reality even as the moon waxes and wanes over the months/years to come.
Finally, for the data-oriented among you, Google stats say over the past month (which they seem to measure from right now back 30 days) the total unique hits at this site were 20,757; below is a snapshot of where and by what means those responses have come from within the previous week:

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