Director Daniel Scheinert serves up a hilarious version of redneck hell in his dramatic comedy The Death of Dick Long. The man who brought you Daniel Radcliffe’s flatulent corpse in Swiss Army Man (HIFF 2016) has set out to up his game, and he has succeeded.
Zeke Olson (Michael Abbott Jr.) and Earl Wyeth (Andre Hyland) are the methed-out Bill and Ted of rural Alabama: Confederate flag waving, PBR drinking, pickup truck driving back-country idiots. They are best friends with Dick Long until one night after “band” practice (mostly classic rock, they are terrible, and they cover Nickelback) Earl asks Zeke and Dick if they want to get weird. These boys know how to party, and they take horsing around to a professional level.
All of the cast deliver sparkling performances. Michael Abbott Jr. plays Zeke as the perfect clueless stoner who is also the worst liar on earth, but top acting kudos go to Andre Hyland as Earl. He nails the character as a constantly vaping, word salad spewing, tweaker country cousin. He’s so good it’s cringe-inducing.
Scheinert adroitly conveys both the pathos and the humor of the situation. As dumb as the main characters are, the film itself is very clever.
Bradley Gibson, Film Threat