Tuesday, June 5, 2012
MOVIE - Bernie
Limited release 4/27/12
Viewed Tuesday, 6/5/12 at El Con
RT Critics: 90 Audience: 87
cag: Liked it
Director: Richard Linklater
Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
Hey...this is basde on a real, true-life story! And all three of those main actors, as well as the many who played town residents, were TERRIFIC!
Bernie Tiede is a 39 year-old almost-genderless/somewhat effeminate undertaker. He has charisma, not a mean bone in his body, and a penchant for elderly women - at least caring for them, there seems to be no sexual innuendo at all in his compassion and relationships. He sings (beautifully), is very active in his church, cares for everyone and anyone with the same 100% compassion, and comes to befriend an affluent, sour, mean new widow named Marjorie Nugent. For some reason, although she hates everyone, she is quite taken with Bernie. He travels with her, cleans her counters, cuts her toenails, and advises her about giving her money away to charities. However, after a time, she gives him a beeper and expects him to be constantly at her beck and call. She's a really mean woman, too. Then, to his shock and surprise, she pushes him to far one day and he picks up their armidillo-shooting shotgun and shoots her in the back. Instead of turning himself in, he pretends....for nine months...that she is still alive, though failing and in and out of the hospital and nursing homes. When he is discovered, Sheriff (?) Danny Buck (McConaughey) goes after him tooth and nail.
The movie is put together like a documentary, with lots and lots of interviews of the townspeople of Carthage, Texas. They are a riot. I wonder if any of them are the REAL townspeople? It's really cleverly done and full of humor all over the place. It's surprisingly complex and though-provoking, too. Thoroughly enjoyable.
At the end of the credits you see the real people, first in photos and then a video of the real Bernie in prison - sitting across from Jack Black, the fake Bernie.