Director(s): Richard Linklater
IMDB Rating: 6.2
In small-town Texas, the local mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when he kills her, he goes to great lengths to create the illusion that shes alive.
David Ehrlich (23 May 2013)
Bernie is poised to be a tough sell for Millennium Entertainment, its mild star power likely incapable of offsetting a garish premise and mixed reviews.
hvprasad (22 May 2013)
An amazing movie. One off movie we come across. Curiously directed withlots of direct - interview type story telling. I saw it in Singaporeand fell in love with the way the story was cinematographers. I likedit immensely. Mr.Black's acting reveals the character of Berniesplendidly. The town folk to have done a great job. Carthage has nowjoined the annals of great cinema places. Kudos to Mr.Linklater. Iwould not hesitate to get a DVD when released. The humor is soft anddirect to laugh. It is easy to despise the action of district attorney.But one has to understand that it was his job to bring to justice,those responsible for crime.
David Ferguson (20 May 2013)
Greetings again from the darkness. It's 1996 in Carthage and scandalhas hit smack dab in the middle of town square. That's rural east Texaswhere everyone knows everything about everyone. Well almost everythingand almost everyone. Two years later, Skip Hollandsworth wrote anarticle for Texas Monthly about the fascinating, too-strange-to-believestory that shook this community. Now, 16 years after the murder,Hollandsworth co-wrote a screenplay with director Richard Linklater andthey present a visual representation that allows us to wrap our headsaround the events.Linklater is always an interesting filmmaker. His resume includes Dazedand Confused, and School of Rock. Here he re-teams with Jack Black, whostars at Bernie Tiede, the nicest man in Carthage. You need not take myword for it. Linklater interviews several actual Carthage residents whoswear Bernie was the sweetest, most generous man they ever met. Someeven state they will never believe he committed the murder ... despitehis confession. Whatever you think of Mr. Black as an actor, hisperformance here is unlike any of his previous work. He is somehowsubtle and believable while playing a real life over-the-top assistantfuneral home director. His walk, speech pattern and mannerisms tell usall we need know about Bernie Tiede.The basic story is that Bernie befriends the wealthiest, wickedestwidow in town. They become very close as friends, travel partners andeven live together. Bernie gains Marjorie Nugent's trust and iseventually in charge of her finances and written in as her solebeneficiary. What makes this odd? Well, Bernie is 38. Marjorie (playedby Shirley MacLaine) is 81. Oh, and he is gay. This odd arrangementsomehow is accepted in this community for one reason ... he is just soa nice man! He truly is nice. Right up until the point where he's notso nice.This is one of those movies where the links are stronger than thechain. Black's performance is stellar and worth the price of admission.Equally entertaining are the "interviews" with the local townspeople.And adding intrigue to all of that is the best ever performance fromMatthew McConaughey as local DA, Danny Buck Davidson. Those threeelements make this oddball movie a sight to behold. There is humor tomake us laugh and oddity to raise eyebrows.The downside is that the docudrama approach actually takes away fromwhat should have been the key aspects of the story. More screen timewatching the relationship between Bernie and Marjorie could have provedenlightening. Instead, the development is reduced to snapshots ofvacations and a snippet of a couples massage. The dark elements areonly hinted at until the shock of the deed.Movies based on truth are all the more enticing when the characters arethemselves quite interesting and different. That's certainly the casewith Bernie Tiede, Danny Buck Davidson, and the locals in Carthage. Fora taste of small town East Texas living and dying, questionable morals,battles between legalities and religion, and the hypocrisy and cloudedjudgment that occurs when a nice guy gets dirty ... this is as good asit gets.
samkan (20 May 2013)
After reading Rolling Stone's account of the actual crime, framed bythe filming of this movie, I walked out of the theater disappointed.The story of Bernie and Majorie is poignant and makes a good magazineread but is not extraordinary or compelling enough for book-lengthtreatment or psychoanalytic examination. But it certainly could serveas a great topic for a black comedy sprinkled heavily with suspense andallowing the cast plenty of poetic license. In planning for such, JackBlack and Shirley MacLaine are perfect casting choices. Instead, here'swhat you get: Thirty, maybe FORTY percent of BERNIE is interviews withactual townsfolk or actors which, instead of supporting the storyline,plot, etc., actually interrupt what little movement is achieved. Ifsometimes humorous, the cuts to interview eventually become groaninducing and are so pervasive that the dramatic portions take abackseat. Its like watching an A&E documentary with short "dramaticreenactments" peppered in. As such, neither Black nor MacLaine get to"take off" and get no chance to inhabit their characters. There's naryany effort to depict how Bernie and Majorie "bonded". Comicopportunities with their road trips are wasted. In short, BERNIE shouldhave been seen as a great opportunity to entertain us with goodwriting, acting and movie making. Instead, it chooses to take veryseriously a real-life tragedy that simply does not rise to the level ofgreat stuff.
collipal-1 (18 May 2013)
School of Rock is a brilliant comedy, not only because of its excellentscreenplay, but also because of Richard Linklater's perfect directionand the conviction and energy brought by Jack Black in the leadingrole. That's why I was filled with enthusiasm when I found out the factthat Black and Linklater were going to collaborate together again in afilm called Bernie, based on a strange crime committed in a small townfrom Texas in the '90s. The final result is an excellent movie with ascreenplay which is difficult to classify but easy to enjoy.If Bernie wasn't based on a true story (which reinforces the old"reality is stranger than fiction" adagio), it would be difficult toaccept the main character's bizarre behavior, as well as the unusualreaction from the inhabitants of the town when they found out thesecret from its most admired citizen. Black brings a very goodperformance in the leading role, and his character can be interpretedunder our particular perception. Linklater stresses that ambiguity witha tragicomic atmosphere which clouds its genuine intention...Is it ablack comedy made in the Coen Brothers style? Or a cynical rural dramasuch as In Cold Blood? Nevertheless, the answer isn't very important,because some of the main reasons this is such an interesting movie areits ethical dilemmas and the contradictory opinions of the inhabitantsfrom the town in which this film is set.In fact, I have the theory that co-screenwriters Linklater and SkipHollandsworth employed the singular story just as a disguise of theauthentic purpose from Bernie: a simultaneously critical andaffectionate examination of the social dynamics from small towns, inwhich everyone knows (or believes to know) the lives of others, andwhere public opinion is more important that the objective truth (incase such thing exists). Matthew McConaughey brings a perfectperformance as the arrogant attorney who has finally found an enoughjuicy case in order to apply his sharp investigative instincts (atleast in his own opinion); and Shirley MacLaine is brilliant in herrole, being simultaneously able to bring a dominant and vulnerablepersonality to her character.In my humble opinion, the best thing about Bernie is its lack ofanswers. The screenplay might girded to true events, but behind thosefacts, there's a universe of possible interpretations whose definitionis up to us. The only thing I can say against Bernie is that a fewdetails from the screenplay could have been a bit more explored.However, I enthusiastically recommend it as a fascinating and veryentertaining experience.
itamarscomix (17 May 2013)
Richard Linklater - one of the most enigmatic directors working today,one who never makes two similar films, and one of the few whose styleand themes I can never pinpoint - completely blurs the line betweendocumentary, mockumentary and dramatization with Bernie, s gem thatwon't make any headlines but may well go down in history as one of thebest films of its year. Jack Black - in what is surely his finestdramatic performance so far - is fantastic as mortician and convictedmurderer Bernie Tiede. Black completely immerses himself into the role,and completely immerses the viewer into the film; for the first time hedoesn't play himself (as he did in films like School of Rock and KingKong), but a character who feels real and very lovable, and it's hardnot to root for Tiede even after we see what he's capable of.Linklater seamlessly merged dramatized and highly stylized scenes (theopening scene in particular is pure cinematic gold) with mockumentarystyle 'talking heads' segments and with actual interviews with peoplewho knew the real Bernie; the juxtaposition is so perfect that, if Ididn't recognize Matthew Mcconaughey, I might have mistaken him for oneof the townspeople. Linklater takes notes from Errol Morris' andHarmony Korine's portrayal of small town quirkiness, but he does sowith much more love and creates something much more watchable; Bernieworks as a black comedic drama with a lot of soul and a lot ofentertainment value as much as it works as a semi-documentary. While itleft some issues unexplored - I would have liked to see more of ShirleyMacLaine's character, as well as Bernie's relationship with thetownspeople, which we get mainly through the interview segments - it'sa great success in that it leaves you wanting more. Don't miss it.
sgphoto (13 May 2013)
I only have one question. Why didn't Jack Black get an Oscar? Black'sperformance was spot-on and he's never been better. His immersion inhis character was as close to Billy Bob Thorton in Slingblade as I'veever seen. I don't impress easy, but Jack was Bernie. His singing anddancing, walk, talk, mannerisms, and speech patterns are a tribute tohis ability to posses the role.If Jack never does another movie, he's solid gold forever with thismovie. The supporting cast from Shirley McClaine to Matthew Mcconaugheyand all the townspeople were superb, direction was unobtrusive, editingwas natural, and the styling was perfection.A tip of my hat to everyone connected to this golden masterpiece, andJack Black's star is shining in the heavens.Free Bernie! and more great scripts for Jack Black.
Rabbit-Reviews (13 May 2013)
When you see this poster with that classic JB pose and you read thatthis movie is a comedy, you would think: hey another JB comedy, Ishould check it out or hey another JB comedy, I should avoid it, butthe truth is much different... For me, ever since Pick Of Destiny, JackBlacks career has been steadily declining with that awful, awfulcrowning achievement called Gulliver's Travels. Granted there has beena couple of movies where he was decent, but not as a lead role. Well,after seeing Bernie, one thing is for sure, JB is back! He finally cameto terms with his acting and the type of roles that he plays, and usedthat to his advantage, without that forced goofing around that I reallydidn't like. Much like Based on a true story, later published in alocal newspaper, this is a movie about one of those little man, justlike you and me, but whose life took a turn and they, well, you'll see. Bernie is just one of those guys that everybody likes, with hisunconditional love, calm demeanor and desire to help everyone. He movesin a small town in Texas called Carthage, where he gets a job at alocal mortuary. He excels at it, making an art out of putting make upon dead people for their funerals. He lives his days, practicingsinging and hanging out with old ladies that no one cares about,bringing happiness to everyone. Without a wife or a girlfriend he is awell sought merchandise in this small town, but one faithful day hemeets Marjorie Nugent, an extremely wealthy widow and two of them don'thit it off. Marjorie is a real old, nagging bitch in a true sense ofthat word, who almost everyone hates and Bernie decides that she is theperson that needs his kindness, time and effort. What happens after hisdecision is up to you to find out, especially did he wanted to makeMarjorie happy or did he was just looking out for himself...Shirley MacLaine, an extraordinary actress with her phenomenalperformance as Marjorie created that link with Jack Black that madethis movie so good, not to mention other actors, of which some areactual residents of Carthage, who actually knew the real Marjorie andBernie. Very thought provoking movie, Bernie makes us question our ownlives and it shows us how can a whirlwind of events lead one person toend up in a place that it doesn't deserve, or maybe it does? Movie recommendations Rabbit-Reviews.com - Only movies worth watching
Quietb-1 (07 May 2013)
Jack Black will get award buzz, but think Golden Globe not Oscar. Herehe plays a small town assistant funeral director in the style of RodSteiger's Mr. Joyboy in "The Loved One".Colorful characters talk directly to the camera in pseudo documentarystyle. It works. Shirley Maclane deserves credit for being bad andlooking worse on the screen.Jack Black doing "The Music Man" was a fun. The movie is a tad long anddrags a bit during the courtroom scene. The photos and clips during theend credits are worth staying for. It's a small movie that is worthseeing.
shifeili (06 May 2013)
Nice movie, little different from time to time, really watchable. Alsoa great chance to think and talk about freedom, determination, guiltand our judicial system. The acting of Jack Black: Superb! The castingwas great, even the fake interviews where great and the towns peoplewere very believable. ONE BIG EXCEPTION: Matthew MacConaughey. He wasthe only one that made this whole movie a little bit of a farce andvery unreal. Casted to play a simple minded, full of himself wannabeCowboy, who knows how to get what he wants, he had to overact sometimesand the way he talked and acted just in very few moments seemedbelievable. The way the character was interpreted would have been OKfor some overacted slapstick comedy flick, but not for such a dark,slow, intelligent comedy as it was intended here. McCanaughey can playNYC-Lawyers, sharp criminals, brilliant detectives, maybe an nonlikable guy as they tried in Bernie, but not from a small Texas village- he has more the vibe of a douchy rich guy, or a totally arrogant guyfrom a big City, everything but a guy from a Small Village. I find thisproblem often in Hollywood movies that play in one-horse towns likethis. They sometimes try to make their pretty famous actors fit forthese roles, but a stupid accent, a cotton mouth, stupid behaviour andshitty clothes just don't make a transformation complete if you have aface like an angel, hair like a queen, teeth like a Hollywood star,skin like a child, a body like an adonis and the attitude andpronunciation of a Harvard graduate. It just ends in unbelievableoveracting and trying to be a redneck-sheriff type of guy just ended inoveracting and a bit of a farce here in this context, too. And becauseof being so present in the second part of the movie, for me hedestroyed the whole picture that was intended to be delivered to theviewer. Shame on you, casting crew! I feel sorry for ALL the otheractors that where so perfect in this movie!!! Without MC I'd give themovie a 7 or even an 8. With him it was a 6-. But still: watch it, itis entertaining and some scenes are just brilliant!thanks for reading.
Jodi K (05 May 2013)
Seriously, this movie "is the worst movie ever " of Jack Black'scareer. Hey directors, listen up, first off, you need a better storyline than what was started off in the beginning. It was awful. You needto get your audience captured from the very start. For example, HungerGames, captures the audience and keeps them wanting more. This moviekept dragging, and dragging, and I was bored completely out of my mindas well as the rest of my family. I was so completely dissatisfied withthis movie. Directors, you should have been fired after this movie. Iam just being honest. I was falling asleep from the start. So sad. Iwas really hoping this was going to be a better movie than how itstarted out.
nickmesafilms (04 May 2013)
Jack Black delivers probably the best performance of his entire career,as he teams up with his "School of Rock" director Richard Linklater, inthe dark comedy "Bernie", a quirky comedy-drama based on an actualmurder that occurred in 1996 Carthage, East Texas. Although this moviehas a few minor gripes, "Bernie" is one of the more better films of theyear. Jack Black plays the title character, Bernie Tiede, a funeraldirector loved by all residents of Carthage, and seems to be the nicestguy to everyone in town. Now, we are introduced to the meanest woman intown, Marjorie Nujent, a mean-spirited widower, played perfectly byShirley MaClaine. Bernie, being the nice guy that he is, decides tocomfort Marjorie by being a loyal friend, by traveling the worldtogether, and always hang out with one another. But it's years laterthat Bernie feels more like Marjorie's personal slave, instead of afriend. Marjorie starts to become overly obsessive over Bernie, forcinghim to become her servant to pick out her clothes, shoot armadillos inher yard, cut her nails, and even trim her chin hairs. As much as hewould rather attend in town gatherings, annual concerts, andbefriending the elderly, he is trapped in a world of torture with onevicious old woman. Now, watch out, here comes a big...SPOILER ALERT!Bernie has realized he's had enough of the torture, and ends upmurdering Marjorie, shooting her four times in the back. Feeling badabout the murder, Bernie must try his best to hide the fact thatMarjorie is dead, without being caught by the local district attorney,portrayed in a surprisingly excellent performance provided by MatthewMcConaughey. Half of this movie feels like a documentary where we getinterviews with the actual residents from Carthage, and the other halfis the cast re-enacting the story. For this being a movie based on anactual event, we don't usually see something like this, so I have tocongratulate this movie for being totally unique in this type ofdelivery. Director Richard Linklater has clearly made a competentmotion picture. The writing is crisp and invigorating, the directing isunique, the tone is great, and the realism of it all is told perfectly.As for the performances, Jack Black takes a break from his usualtype-casted raunchy comedies, and brings a more serious and dramaticperformance to the screen. This movie is easily the highlight of hiscareer. Shirley MaClaine is still really great in her role, but at thesame time, she didn't feel used a lot in this movie, than I thought shewould be. Although delivered some screen-time, Matthew McConaugheyfinally delivers an excellent and wise-cracking performance, where thistime, he's not type-casted as the hip ladies' man, and now he's aserious district attorney hoping to crack the case of this unusualmystery. Speaking of which, the movie hardly contains any mystery ordrama to keep up with the suspense of wondering what will happen next.Since this is based on a true event, the audience can already guess andvisualize what will happen now. Overall, "Bernie" could have beennothing but a dark comedy "gimmick", but it turns out that with it'sinteresting characters and well-told plot, "Bernie" is both anentertaining and interesting motion picture. "Bernie", in my review,"interestingly captivating entertainment, if flawed".
diado (04 May 2013)
The only thing about this movie that I can't fault is the acting. JackBlack plays a convincing character without falling back on his usualcomedy staple, and the rest of the cast aren't wooden and fit theirrespective parts very well.The main issue I have with this film is understanding why it was made.The story isn't particularly interesting, even though it's true. Thefilm feels overly long and drawn, and by the end you're hoping againsthope that the pay-off for your time spent enduring the dullness andslow pace is going to be worth it, but it most definitely isn't. You'rejust left feeling unsatisfied and wondering why whoever decided to makethe film felt it worth making, as it was very much not worth watching.The story really didn't need telling further than perhaps a shortarticle in a local newspaper.If it had been beautifully shot, directed, scripted... anything really,it might have done something to dispel the disappointment, but itwasn't. Everything about this film, other than perhaps the acting, isdecidedly average and uninspiring, with a storyline and ending tomatch.
themusgrat (03 May 2013)
This is a great film. I got to see it last week in Austin, and let metell you, there was never a better crowd to see it with. I'm sure itisn't for everyone, but I can't imagine who. As someone who has spent 6years in Texas now, let me tell you the characters are just incredible.I've never seen small town personalities captured like this everbefore. Where a lot of reviewers get mixed up in trashing the interviewclips, I love them. I can think of people by name who closely resembleall the characters.The movie tells a good story, and the actors/tresses make it into afantastic story. You don't get to see films like this very often, so goand see it. If you're expecting school of rock, stay home and watch itagain for the umpteenth time. If you want to go see a great film, goand see this one. Just great, or as Bernie would say, fabulous.
gavin6942 (03 May 2013)
In small-town Texas, the local mortician (Jack Black) strikes up afriendship with a wealthy widow (Shirley MacLaine), though when hekills her, he goes to great lengths to create the illusion that she isalive.I am generally a fan of Richard Linklater's work, despite (or perhapsbecause of) his unpredictability. When you compare a film like this to"Dazed and Confused", to "Waking Life" and then to "Slacker", it ishard to believe the same man was the visionary behind them all. I thinkno single director has brought Texas to life like Linklater has (andperhaps pushed the career of Alex Jones).Here is another Texas story, which happens to be true (or at least trueenough). And it stars Jack Black. Typically that would scare me off ofa movie. Black is a very talented musician, but his acting is notparticularly refined. That being said, this was an ideal role for him.He was able to be funny, quirky, and did not make the part absurd. Themusical parts were excellent, and it would be hard to think of anotherman who could have played this versatile part.I give the movie a strong endorsement.
Meg G (02 May 2013)
When I rented this film on Rodgers, I have to say I had no idea what Iwas about to be watching. I figured, with Jack Black, it was going tobe some kind of mockery of serial killing--Kind of like Luke Ricci'sHow to Be A Serial Killer (a really cool film, by the way). As itturned out, this southern small town tale (a true story, funnyenough)had it's elements of comedy but maintained a dramatic story linethat Black carried with surprising skill.Shirley McClain, minor role asshe was, is solid as Black's wealthy widow lady friend who also happensto be crazy and shot four times in the back by Black's character whenher "evilness" pushes him over the edge. Filmed like a mockumentray, itwas slow-paced but engaging enough to keep me curious. MatthewMcConaughey also stars as a nerdy-looking attorney with Bernie's nameon his hit list. Probably most hilarious is the assortedtownspeople--how even though Bernie shot an elderly woman four times inthe back and continued to spend her money on the community, theyrallied behind him and forgave him for the murder. Jack Black gives aperformance that both shows off his flair for inhabiting character andgiving this Jesus-loving, flamboyant mortician an offbeat portrayal.Quirky but pleasantly enjoyable, Bernie is definitely a treat forsomebody looking for a decent film to sit back on the couch with a bowlof popcorn with. B+
meeza (30 April 2013)
Bernie Baby Bernie! Texas Inferno! I thought I start this review with alittle En-Trammpsment. OK, only Disco fans got that last reference.Anyways, Writer-Director Richard Linklater's latest offering "Bernie"is based on a true story of an assistant funeral director called(hence, movie title) who was well-liked in a small Texas town calledCarthage. Bernie's story primarily focuses on his relationship withMargaret, a feisty geriatric widow and Carthage resident who Berniebefriends after her husband died; eventually Bernie gets burned out ofher obsessive demands and goes on a Margaret shooting spree. I will notspill more Texas beans on the plot of this movie, but it's one that Ido recommend. "Bernie" is not for everyone, and Linklater does helm itin a very unorthodox manner. He actually inserts commentaries from realCarthage residents who adored the real Bernie, combined with thenarrative of the story. So kudos to Tricky Dicky (Richard, that is) forhis creativity. He scribed the movie's screenplay with SkipHollandsworth, and even though it was verbally impressive, it couldhave skipped a lot of unnecessary verbiage. I literally andcinematically enjoyed the first two acts of "Bernie", but by the thirdact I was a bit burned out with the Bernie shenanigans of how so manypeople in the town adored him and defended him, even though he wascharged for murder. Jack Black's whopper of a performance as Bernieshould get some Best Actor Oscar consideration, his Black Comedy was anessential part of the success of the movie. Shirley MacLaine, who playsthe not-so-endearing Margaret, was vintage Shirley; and proves thatShirley can still be serious about her acting in her twilight time.Matthew McConaughey's performance as the District Attorney Danny Buckwas worth a million bucks, and was glad to see Matthew out of the sameol' romantic-comedy lead typecast game. I don't want to burn you outwith so many puns to cause you to be burned after reading this review,so I think I am going to lay to rest now my review about Bernie theassistant funeral director. But please don't put out the fire on"Bernie" and give it a chance. **** Good
TxMike (29 April 2013)
East Texas is an interesting part of the country, and with its rollinghills and old-growth pine forests unique among the various regions ofthe state. When you travel along highway 59 north from Houston, as Ihave done many times, you pass right through Carthage. I never gavemuch thought to this fairly ordinary East Texas town, but somethingvery interesting was going on there in 1996.Jack Black is just ideal as Bernie Tiede, chubby, happy, "light in theloafers" assistant undertaker at the local funeral home. Bernie enjoyslife and likes people, especially the little old ladies. Bernie alsoloves theater and loves to sing (Jack Black, it turns out, has a reallygood singing voice) whether it be on stage or hymns in church.Shirley MacLaine, one of my favorites over the years, is little oldlocal wealthy lady Marjorie Nugent. After her husband died Bernie didwhat he could to be nice to Marjorie, such as going to her home to giveher little gifts, bath soap and brownies, for example. Marjorie didn'thave friends, even her other family members shunned her, she had areputation for being so difficult. Some even considered her hateful.But she takes a liking to Bernie's company. Soon they are going placestogether, shopping for nicer clothes, and eventually taking trips, evenout of the country. But Marjorie started to be mean to Bernie, shedemanded he become only part-time at the funeral home, she wanted himto be with her all the time, he eventually became almost her servant.Bernie became increasingly wary of her.Then one day the local people quit seeing Marjorie. Her financialadviser asked about her. Her long-time hairdresser was disappointedthat she quit going to him. Bernie told them she had had a mild strokeand was in a hospital out of town, that she needed rest and recoverytime. But people became suspicious.One of those was Matthew McConaughey as local D.A. Danny Buck . He wasdetermined to get to the bottom of all this.Bernie, Marjorie, and Danny are real people, and all this reallyhappened in Carthage from the late 1980s through the late 1990s. JackBlack shows his versatility, he doesn't miss a beat in his role asBernie, making him funny but also real. The movie uses many localnon-actors who appear interview-style telling various (scripted)stories about Bernie and Marjorie. Many of them actually knew them.This is a somewhat quirky story, some may not like it, but for me itwas a total fun movie. Plus the extras on the DVD are in many ways asinteresting as the movie itself, and gives additional insights intoCarthage and the Bernie story.SPOILERS: After Marjorie was missing for several months the policeopened her home to search for any evidence of wrong-doing. In thegarage they found Marjorie's body in the chest-type freezer, frozenunder various food packages. She had been shot, four times, in theback. (A very brief early scene depicts it.) Bernie, a non-violentperson, had just "snapped" under her oppressive treatment. But he knewshe needed a proper burial, that is why he kept her in the freezer. Ina legal twist, the trial was moved to a different region, so that therecould be a fair trial, because Bernie was so well-liked they wereafraid no Carthage jury would convict him. Today Bernie is serving hisprison time in a Texas prison.
planktonrules (23 April 2013)
I sat down to watch this film at 2am--assuming I'd just watch a littleand then go to bed. However, I just couldn't stop watching. And, soonmy wife joined me and she, too, stayed up WAY later than she planned.Why? Because this film is fascinating from start to finish and is trulyunique. It's the true story of Bernie Tiede and his BIZARRE, andeventually fatal, relationship with Marjorie Nugent--a woman hated byjust about everyone--and eventually by Bernie as well. Now here's therub--despite Bernie having killed Marjorie, no one in the town seemedto really think this was a bad thing. After all, the folk thought thatshe WAS a horrible person and, if Bernie did do it, it couldn't havebeen THAT bad! After all, they reasoned, he's such a wonderful and niceguy.Had this been all there was to the story, it really wouldn't have beenthat entertaining (though it would have been pretty bizarre). However,the filmmaker (Richard Linklater) constructed the film in such awonderful way that the film cannot help but hook you. In a WEIRD move,he has many of the actual townsfolk interviewed and inserted throughoutthe film. A few were actually actors--most were just folks who lovedBernie and couldn't stand Marjorie and wanted to talk about it! And so,the film consists of these interviews as well as actors playing out thestory--making it a documentary...of sorts. It also helped Linklater andthe movie that the actors, particularly Jack Black, did a wonderfuljob. And, is helped that the writers (one of which was Linklaterhimself) did such a dandy job. In particular, I loved how the film gotthe sound of the Southern Bible Belt folks. I am VERY familiar withthis region and the conversations they had made me laugh because theysounded so true--such as the women in the Bible study who were debatingif Jesus turned the water into REAL ALCOHOLIC wine! I also adored theguy who described the various regions at the beginning of thefilm--priceless and VERY funny--especially when he was describingAustin! So, how truthful is the film? Well, according to an article that mywife and I read by one of Marjorie's relatives, VERY true and veryrealistic. I was surprised that they didn't complain about how horribleshe and the other family members seemed in the film! And, they, too,thought Bernie was a nice guy despite his having murdered Marjorie! By the way, if you get a chance, you can read through Bernie Tiede'sweb blog--all the way from his prison cell! Surprisingly, it seems(according to the web pages) that he has a LOT of support for hisrelease--including from Black and Linklater. Weird.Overall, a brilliantly made and highly original film. I have no idea ifthe film will be nominated for any awards, but it should. Linklater andBlack deserve some recognition for this movie.
bobbobwhite (22 April 2013)
Jack Black could not be surpassed in his spot-on perfect role as asmooth, calm, perfectly groomed and organized, sycophantic, servile,gay/asexual "assistant funeral director" in this small East TXcommunity composed mostly of country oddballs and other distinctiverural folk that were hilarious in their own right. The story was basedon real events, and real townspeople who knew the real Bernie were usedfor extras/characters, and some were so good that it was clear thatthey could have been real actors if they had chosen that directioninstead of staying in Carthage, TX and knowing the real Bernie. Theygave hilarious insights into Bernie and his story that otherwise wouldnot have been so uniquely entertaining and effective if actors wereused instead.Jack as Bernie exposed some serious singing/dancing chops too, as henot only was a meticulous funeral home star, he also starred in churchand social activities that only someone who had his great talent toplease and entertain in his heart could ever do. But, Bernie perhapsshowed his greatest talent as the only person in town who couldtolerate and even befriend Mrs. Nugent(a really old Shirley MacLaine),the town's presiding meanest old bitch. After he slowly becameirreplaceable to her by always agreeably doing her ridiculous bidding,she hired Bernie to travel the world with her on her dime and to be herpersonal manservant/slave, which sadly decomposed to a low point wherethe shocking and unbelievable event that caused Bernie's downfall wassure to happen.This hilarious mockumentary is making a serious surge to the head ofthe line for "Best Movie of 2012 So Far". Don't miss it.
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