Time to Confess What I Thought About ‘Confless, Fletch’!

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So many confessions, so little time (CREDIT: Miramax/Paramount)

Starring: Jon Hamm, Roy Wood Jr., Lorenza Izzo, Ayden Mayeri, Marcia Gay Harden, Kyle MacLachlan, John Slattery, Annie Mumolo, John Behlmann

Director: Greg Mottola

Running Time: 98 Minutes

Rating: R for Some Gunfire and a Little Bit of Wacky Horniness

Release Date: September 16, 2022 (Theaters and On Demand)

What’s It About?: Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher is back! But did he ever really go away? Well, yeah, kind of. Chevy Chase played him in a couple of outings in the 80s, but they haven’t really left much of a lasting cultural impression on the younger generations. If you’re wondering how Jon Hamm could ever take over a part made famous by Mr. Pratfall-in-Chief, be assured that it doesn’t matter. The version of this slippery investigative reporter we meet in Confess, Fletch hardly resembles the white guy who sported an Afro wig and a Lakers jersey. He bumbles around a bit, but so would just about anyone who gets accused of murder in a case of mistaken identity. Anyway, Fletch sets out to clear his name and interacts with a bunch of wacky characters along the way. But, you may be wondering, are they wacky enough?

What Made an Impression?: There are a few early scenes in Confess, Fletch in which Hamm seems to be trying to summon his inner Chevy Chase, and I’m like, “I don’t know if that’s a good idea.” Sure, he can be funny despite his preternatural handsomeness, but it’s not of the crash-into-everything, smart aleck variety. What he can nail is the psychopath lurking underneath the pristine surface. But ultimately he’s not asked to deliver either of these personas. Instead, he’s more of the straight man reacting to all the chaos around him (in various flavors of cockamamie from the likes of Annie Mumolo, Marcia Gary Harden, and Kyle MacLachlan). Hamm can certainly provide that competently, but it’s hardly spectacular. Which pretty much describes this movie as a whole.

But one actor does shine especially bright, and that would be Ayden Mayeri, who’s having quite the breakout year, along with her turns in Spin Me Round and Apple TV+’s The Afterparty. She’s one of the two detectives (alongside Roy Wood Jr.) on Fletch’s tail, and at first it seems like she’s playing your typical flummoxed, overmatched authority figure. But she knows what she’s doing, despite her bouts of clumsiness. Sure, she may spill a milkshake all over her shirt, but her investigative instincts are sharp. She gets a big “thank you” from Fletch at the end, and I’m happy to second that sentiment.

Confess, Fletch is Recommended If You Like: Fidelity to source material that’s not super famous

Grade: 2.5 out of 5 Lakers Caps

‘The Death of Dick Long’ is Another Triumph of Bizarre Odds From ‘Swiss Army Man’ Director Daniel Scheinert

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CREDIT: A24

Starring: Michael Abbott Jr., Virginia Newcomb, Andre Hyland, Sarah Baker, Jess Weixler, Roy Wood Jr., Sunita Mani, Poppy Cunningham, Janelle Cochrane

Director: Daniel Scheinert

Running Time: 100 Minutes

Rating: R for Casual Cussing and Discussions of an Unusual Medical Accident

Release Date: September 27, 2019 (Limited)

The Death of Dick Long is a lot like director Daniel Scheinert’s last film, Swiss Army Man (which he co-directed with Daniel Kwan), which famously starred Daniel Radcliffe as a farting corpse. Dick Long is similarly interested in the prurient nature of life as a human being on Earth. But I can’t tell you any more than that. Not because the people who worked on the film or the studio reps at A24 asked me not to. They didn’t have to. What starts as a Coens-esque dark comedy about a couple of bumbling fools who have no idea how to clean up a bloody, possibly criminal mess evolves into a meditation about how everyone always deserves to be treated like a human being, no matter how abnormal their predilections are.

Dick Long is indeed dead. He’s dead almost from the get-go. That’s not the part that needs to be kept secret. The wretched state that his buddies Zeke (Michael Abbott Jr.) and Earl (Andre Hyland, who comes across like a redneck Mikey Day) leave him in at the hospital after a wild night together suggests that foul play was involved. But Zeke’s efforts to not upset anyone and Earl’s generally blasé attitude suggest that someone else, or something else, may have been responsible for Dick’s demise.

Most of the film consists of Zeke’s wife (Virginia Newcomb), Dick’s wife (Jess Weixler), and a couple of police detectives (Sarah Baker and Janelle Cochrane) doggedly attempting to suss out exactly what happened. They eventually uncover a whole lot more than any of them or any of us bargained for, and this revelation could easily lead to a hail of gross-out humor or condemnation. But instead, the whole affair concludes on a note of “People sure are inscrutable on their insides.” It’s altogether stunning how little The Death of Dick Long grossed me out and how much I found it moving. The magic of cinematic empathy extends far and low.

The Death of Dick Long is Recommended If You Like: Swiss Army Man, Fargo, Raising Arizona, Unexpectedly deep humanism

Grade: 4 out of 5 Car Seat Blood Stains