It might not be necesaary to be familiar with the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where "Escanaba in Da Moonlight" is set to enjoy the movie's offbeat charms but it couldn't hurt. For example, you don't have to have eaten a pasty before, except that you are missing something delicious.(The last one I had was a few years ago, just south of The Bridge.) But you should know at least about the fishing and hunting(plenty of the former when I was a kid but none of the latter thankfully) there.
So, you might understand the plight of Rueben Soady(Jeff Daniels, who also wrote and directed), having never shot a buck in his 43 years much to his personal and familial embarrassment. In fact, his wife, Wolf Moon Dance(Kimberly Guerrero), has always been a much better hunter but is not invited along to the annual hunting lodge. Who are invited are Rueben's dad, Albert(Harve Presnell), and brother, Remnar(Joey Albright), and a lot of whiskey. Jimmer(Wayne David Parker), who reportedly had his brain scrambled by extraterrestrials and not alcohol, makes a sudden appearance.(For some odd reason, I have no problem with the belief that the Upper Peninsula is haunted by UFO's.) In the end, lessons are learned, like if you are a buck, never get too close to an outhouse. And regardless of what species you are, never name your son Remnar.