The Death of Dick Long (2019) – Sweet Home Alabama

In 1996, the Coen brothers bamboozled a lot of critics and audiences in “Fargo“. It’s an anti-thesis of “based on a true story” and makes fun of a crime genre. Unconsciously, the film became one of the biggest influences in filmmaking. A lot of people prefer “Scream” over this movie. Yeah, “Scream” creates its own pop culture in the horror genre. However, I would never watch “Nasty Patty”, one of the Spongebob Squarepants episodes, if there was no “Fargo”. I’ll never watch other Coen brothers’ films. I’ll never remember how I laughed upside down while watching “Burn After Reading“.

Yeah, I don’t want to say a statement like “my taste is hipper than you” or something like which. When I first heard the title of this film, I suddenly asked myself: is this real? What guy comes in A24 with this kind of title? You might wonder, why? And guess what, this is coming with the co-director of “Swiss Army Man”. You know, the A24 movie about a farting man who can do anything with his body. He also learns to masturbate for the first time. And it makes sense when you connect this common thread. “The Death of Dick Long” is another A24 thriller it blurs quality and idiocy at the same time.

“Wanna get weird?” is probably a weird question to ask the audience. The story tells about Michael Abbott Jr. as Zeke and Andre Hyland as Earl. They have normal habits like best friends who live in Alabama. Every night, they rock and roll with their band. One of their friends, Daniel Scheinert as Dick (and the director as well), invites them to get weird. And you follow a montage of them doing weird things. They smoke a vape, shot beers, peeing on the campfire, Dick do weird things to the fireworks, etc.

Suddenly, we saw them in a car ride with Dick, for no reason, unconscious in the back seat. Zeke and Earl tried to take him to the hospital. It reminds me of “Reservoir Dogs” where all the characters walk in slow-motion. Suddenly, it cuts to an unexpected scene. The montage in this movie did the same thing as the Tarantino one.

“The Death of Dick Long” is Scheinert’s first feature as a solo director. Previously, he and Daniel Kwan directed “Swiss Army Man”. Probably, it’s one of the weirdest experiences. I remember when one of my friends introduced me to this movie. However, for no apparent reason, I love this movie. It’s weird and insane. One of the unique things I love about the movie is the phenomenal soundtrack. On the other hand, this isn’t “Swiss Army Man”. But instead, this is “The Death of Dick Long”. Unlike the Kwan one, this movie takes place in a lot more sense in a small town, Alabama. On the other hand, “Swiss Army Man” is a more ambiguity world where everything didn’t make any sense.

The chemistry between Zeke and Earl never covered each other. They rarely help each other but try to get rid of this ridiculous situation as much as possible. If the police caught one of them, both of them won’t survive. There is a moment where they are self-aware of the whole situation. They call their situation the same as “Pulp Fiction“. You know, the scene when Travolta and Jackson tried to clean the blood back seat of their car. “The Death of Dick Long” takes many references from other films besides “Pulp Fiction”. It makes sense that this movie works very, very well. There are the hilarity and idiocy of the relationship between characters. There are the innocent ones and the police. Even the police character reminds me of Frances McDormand in “Fargo”.

I love this movie and probably this is the weirdest experience this year. Yeah, I mean, I haven’t watched “The Lighthouse” yet but this is just weird. But, I’d be more, more like this film if only the cinematography works well. If the direction of this movie is very strong, I love this movie. Yes, the beauty of a small town in Alabama is beautiful yet absurd in the same way. But, that’s just another way indie films often do. It’s easier for me to notice Aster’s trademark after watching “Hereditary” only. This movie doesn’t work when it comes to this aspect. I hope that the director has his style and trademark in his next film.

The movie ends up with Nickelback’s credit song “How You Remind Me”. And just don’t start with this Nickelback thing. Above all, this movie has a lot of rock music. I like it since the soundtrack portrayed very well the situation. “The Death of Dick Long” has a lot of potential from the director, one of the weird experiences in cinema. The set, the performance especially Abbott Jr., the soundtrack, and there are so many memorable scenes in fact. Above all, I can’t say how the ending doesn’t work for me. But, the twist is just the same weird as the entire of this movie.

3.5 out of 5 stars.