How you feel about this film may depend partly on where you see it and where you’re from. Scheinert walks the fine line between painting the drug-addled moron twins as objects of ridicule and portraying Southern culture that way. The first is funny, the second is fighting words. If you’re a Southerner seeing the film outside the South, you’ll feel too much family business is being discussed outside the home. Southerners can make fun of the South (and do, mercilessly) but you better not. Officer Dudley (Sarah Baker) and Sheriff Spencer (Janelle Cochrane) come awfully close to crossing into offensive caricature. The fact that they are both smart and savvy (at least for their particular postal code) redeems the characters. Also, Dudley is gay, so she’s cool (it’s a nice touch, but also pandering).
“As dumb as the main characters are, the film itself is very clever…”
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.
The comedic beats in the film are offset by a balance of heavy drama. Earl and Zeke are in very deep and how bad it’s going to go for them comes to light slowly as the tale rolls out. 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.
The Death of Dick Long screened at the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival.