DEATH OF DICK LONG, THE
(director: Daniel Scheinert; screenwriter: Billy Chew; cinematographer: Ashley Connor; editor: Paul Rogers; music: Andy Hull, Robert McDowell; cast: Daniel Scheinert (Dick), Michael Abbott, Jr.(Zeke), Andre Hyland (Earl), Virginia Newcomb (Lydia Olsen), Sarah Baker (Officer Dudley), Jess Weixler (Jane Long), Poppy Cunningham (Cynthia Olsen), Roy Wood Jr. (Dr. Richter), Sunita Mani (Lake Travis ), Janelle Cochrane (Sheriff Spenser); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Jonathan Wang, Daniel Scheinert, Melodie Sisk; A24; 2019)
“Though it reminds one of Fargo, this is more as if it were a Coen brothers’ slumming in Birmingham film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Musical videos filmmaker, the Alabama born Daniel Scheinert (“Swiss Army Man”), in his first first solo effort without partner Daniel Kwan, directs this wacky, sicko, redneck comedy, a nasty work which is not designed for everyone’s taste but is entertaining for the right viewer in the right mood and one in the right section of the country. Billy Chew is the screenwriter of this edgy take on Southern deplorables. The madcap crime pic is clever, even a bit too clever, as it suffers for putting itself in a hole with such a disturbing narrative and relying too heavily on shock and disgust to get across its big surprising plot twist about a funny crime (if the cause of death were revealed in the review it would spoil the film).
In a small-town in Alabama things get absurd when after a night of band practice for the Pink Freud, the lovable band dolts Zeke (Michael Abbot Jr.) and Earl (Andre Hyland) find themselves dealing with a terrible accident to their third band member Dick (Daniel Scheinert) after the three get weird, get drunk, smoke weed, shoot off guns and horse around. Determined that no one find out about the freaky incident, they place the bleeding Dick in the back seat of Zeke’s station wagon and after dropping off their dying friend in the parking lot of a local hospital quickly split (but not before removing his wallet so he won’t be identified).
The ER physician (Roy Wood Jr.) exclaims the dying patient has a bad case of “rectal hemorrhaging!” When he later dies, the hospital notifies the authorities.
The next morning, after his wife Lydia (Virginia Newcomb) leaves for work, the dullard Zeke must take his daughter Cynthia (Poppy Cunningham) to school. When he notices blood all over the car, he dumps it in a pond.Then he fakes that his car was stolen.
Meanwhile word gets around town that there’s an unidentified corpse in the hospital from last night, as Dudley (Sarah Baker), the gay deputy sheriff, interviews a nervous Zeke about the car theft and without trying finds alarming holes in his story to warrant a further grilling.
The clueless regular guy idiots Zeke and Earl falter when they try to lie while covering their tracks, as they are confronted about their lies by the superior women: Lydia, Cynthia, Dick’s widow Jane (Jess Weixler), Dudley and Dudley’s boss Sheriff Spenser (Janelle Cochrane).
The lewd comedy made me laugh despite not wanting to and surprised me how emotionally complex these moronic male characters turned out.
Though it reminds one of Fargo, this is more as if it were a Coen brothers’ slumming in Birmingham film.
REVIEWED ON 9/22/2019