THE DEATH OF DICK LONG (2019)


 Greetings again from the darkness. “It’s Been Awhile” by Staind is the song we first hear from Pink Freud, a garage band formed by buddies Zeke, Earl and Dick. The music is awful, and “band practice” seems to exist solely for the purpose of getting these slackers together, hanging out, and drinking beer. Daniel Scheinert also directed SWISS ARMY MAN (2016) and this first screenplay from Billy Chew shows some real promise for twisted comedy-drama blends. Director Scheinert also plays the titular Mr. Long.

One evening, band practice takes a wrong turn, and Dick ends up dead … unceremoniously dumped in a hospital parking lot by his bandmates. If somehow we previously had any doubts as to the intelligence of Zeke and Earl, all doubt is removed as these two bumbling idiots try to cover up their involvement and what actually happened that night. The cause of death is slow to unfold, but once it does, it surely is the only one of its kind in the history of cinema. The Sheriff (Janelle Cochrane) and her deputy (the talented Sarah Baker) prove equally clueless in their attempts to solve the crime, and much of the film’s humor revolves around folks just not asking quite the right question in any situation.

If you’ve ever wondered what happens when small town Alabama adult moronic rednecks get together, the answer involves beer, pot, fireworks and firearms. None of that will likely surprise you; however, the twist and reveal, hopefully will. I first saw this at the 2019 Dallas International Film Festival, and it’s a tragicomedy that unabashedly offers a tip of the cap to the Coen Brothers.

Michael Abbott Jr plays Zeke and Andre Hyland plays Earl, and their scenes together will have you laughing and questioning human existence. Virginia Newcomb plays Lydia (Zeke’s wife), Jess Weixler is the perplexed wife of Dick, and Sunita Mani is hilarious as Earl’s friend Lake Travis (a name nearly as much of a punchline as the film’s titular character).  While the film has many funny and awkward moments, it can also be taken as a statement on testosterone-driven bad decisions and actions with consequences. If nothing else, we learn how to quickly answer when someone asks, “Y’all wanna get weird?

CAUTION: RED BAND TRAILER (not appropriate for younger viewers):

 

 

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