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Remembering Sling Blade and Rick Dial

Old 10-04-11, 02:48 PM
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Remembering Sling Blade and Rick Dial

When most people think about Sling Blade, they remember Billy Bob Thorton's incredible performance and transformation into the character Karl.

But I remember and appreciate Sling Blade for a different element. Authenticity. Mr. Thorton did an amazing job casting this film which is set in rural Arkansas. The characters just have such a high degree of believability that I could easily see any local around Arkansas popping up in this movie. He captured the slow pace of a small town and the helplessness that no doubt real women around here deal with when it comes to abusive boyfriends and husbands. Perhaps the most convincing character was Dwight Yokum as the abusive drunken boyfriend, Doyle Hargraves. No doubt that Mr. Thorton pulled from the fabric of his Arkansas past and knew how to bring these characters to life.

Perhaps the main reason this movie felt so authentic and real is that he cast a lot of Southern actors especially from Arkansas. Natalie Canerday is a AR native who played the mom. She also starred in October Sky. Another Arkansas native from Thorton's hometown was Rick Dial.


Rick Dial was one of my favorite character actors. In Sling Blade, you'll remember him as Mr. Cox, the owner of the repair shop that hires Karl. He has a small part, but it's quite memorable. You could stroll past any old repair shop in southern AR , and easily hear a Mr. Cox type character just shooting the shit with a buddy. Rick Dial has appeared in a number of southern based movies. He was the radio announcer dude in The Apostle, and played in Crazy Heart. He was also a feedstore owner in the movie Secondhand Lions. It didn't surprise me one bit to find out he was the announcer for the football team in Malvern.

Rick passed away this year from a heart attack. I don't recall it receiving any mainstream press which is really sad as the man just had such natural acting talent.

Another interesting note I discovered with Sling Blade. Apparently this film established a connection between a talented group of actors that continues to this day. Billy Bob Thorton has appeared in Robert Duvall films. Duvall appeared in Sling Blade. Rick Dial appeared in Duvall's The Apostle and Secondhand Lions. Lucas Black appeared in Get Low with Duvall, and now in the upcoming
Seven Days in Utopia.
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Old 10-04-11, 05:06 PM
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Re: Remembering Sling Blade and Rick Dial

Yeah, this is probably one of, if the most real, accurate southern movie I've ever seen.
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Old 10-04-11, 08:21 PM
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Re: Remembering Sling Blade and Rick Dial

Agreed. Excellent film all around. Easily in my personal top ten of all time.
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Old 10-04-11, 08:44 PM
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Re: Remembering Sling Blade and Rick Dial

Originally Posted by dvdjunkie32 View Post


Another interesting note I discovered with Sling Blade. Apparently this film established a connection between a talented group of actors that continues to this day. Billy Bob Thorton has appeared in Robert Duvall films. Duvall appeared in Sling Blade. Rick Dial appeared in Duvall's The Apostle and Secondhand Lions. Lucas Black appeared in Get Low with Duvall, and now in the upcoming
Seven Days in Utopia.
And John Ritter performed in "Bad Santa" with Billy Bob Thornton also.
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Old 10-04-11, 09:30 PM
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Re: Remembering Sling Blade and Rick Dial

Originally Posted by mickey65 View Post
And John Ritter performed in "Bad Santa" with Billy Bob Thornton also.
Well, they knew each other from Ritter's sitcom "Hearts Afire" before Sling Blade.

But yes, SB was great.
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Old 10-05-11, 07:57 AM
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Re: Remembering Sling Blade and Rick Dial

Originally Posted by mickey65 View Post
And John Ritter performed in "Bad Santa" with Billy Bob Thornton also.
Oh that's right! Didn't Ritter play a gay type character in Bad Santa as well?
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Old 10-05-11, 11:47 AM
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Re: Remembering Sling Blade and Rick Dial

Sling Blade also featured Arakansas' native son, the astounding Jim Jarmusch. He looked every bit the part of a fast food restaurant guy in a rural town.
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Old 10-17-11, 11:46 PM
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Re: Remembering Sling Blade and Rick Dial

Originally Posted by conscience View Post
Agreed. Excellent film all around. Easily in my personal top ten of all time.
Yeah, mine too. Maybe in the top half.
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