BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
NOVEMBER 18, 2013
Mixing reality with fiction, “Bernie” takes the true story of Bernie Tiede, an assistant funeral director in the small town of Carthage, Texas, and his love affair with the very much older Marjorie Nugent, whom he eventually shoots in the back and is taken to trial for, and brings in a comedic touch headed by Jack Black, who dominates this role. Likable and soft-spoken, the true story of Bernie is told through interviews with actual Carthage townspeople, also mixed with actors, telling the impossibly true story of a man an entire town loved even after the murder of Marjorie. Shirley MacLaine plays the impossible-to-love old bag, who takes Bernie in and won’t let him go, while Matthew McConaughey steps into the role of local DA Danny Buck. Strangely enough, the mockumentary style of the film works, with humor coming of the odd ducks picked to be interviewed and their candid responses filled with a Southern ignorance that rings true. On top of great performances, director Richard Linklater proves that rules can be broken for the good of entertainment. Never rising above this hick town mentality, Jack Black is still enough to sell this film and delivers one of his most memorable performances to date, bringing to light this spectacular true story.
April 27, 2012
“Midnight in the Garden of East Texas”
by Skip Hollandsworth
(for some violent images and brief strong language)