Some know Harry Dean Stanton as Molly Ringwald’s dad in Pretty in Pink
. Others know him as David Lynch’s go-to guy when he needs somebody weird. And still others remember him doing coke with Emilio Estevez in Repo Man
. He’s co-starred with Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke
and Sigourney Weaver in Alien.
He’s that rare character actor, like Walter Brennan, for whom many film aficionados can actually put a name to the face. In short … he’s an American film institution. This documentary features lengthy sit-downs with Stanton in his home, hitting bars and driving around in a car. It’s a very relaxed film and a lot of fun to watch. Harry doesn’t just talk during the interviews; he sings, and sings quite beautifully, I might add. From “Blue Bayou” to “Everybody’s Talkin’” (the theme from Midnight Cowboy
), Stanton will bust out a song in the middle of answering a question. The musical interludes are quite soothing, and given the offbeat nature of Stanton, feel appropriate. Guest interviewees include Kris Kristofferson, Sam Shepard and, best of all, David Lynch, who stops by for a giant cup of Yuban coffee. When it comes to Stanton, a straight-up talking-head movie featuring none of his yearning singing voice would not do. This film is as eclectic as it should be, and a reminder that one of the greats is still with us and still wonderfully strange.