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Churchgoer: "Ms. Nugent is in a deep freezer headed for Dallas!"
The story is about Bernie Tiede was one of the town's most beloved residents. He taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, so it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent, an affluent widow who was as well known for her sour attitude as her fortune. Bernie frequently traveled with Marjorie and even managed her banking affairs. Marjorie quickly became fully dependent on Bernie and his generosity and Bernie struggled to meet her increasing demands.
2011 was the year for Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey and the director Richard Linklater, because this movie was beautifully directed and acted.
Bernie is a entertaining dark comedy with a sweet side to it. The main character of this movie (Bernie) well he has be the most interesting and most likable person of the face of earth, even the fact that he killed a mean and despicable old women, I still cared for him and I got to give respect to the writers and the director to care about a killer.
Matthew McConaughey had the biggest come back in 2011 with The Lincoln Lawyer, Killer Joe and now this movie which he was brilliant in. McConaughey always has that charm and know it all in every role in see him in today, and that what makes him a brilliant actor.
Jack Black gives a heartbreaking and spellbinding performance as the sweet killer. It's good to see Jack Black doing roles were he can poof that he is a great actor and in this movie he shines and gives it his all.
The movie does have it's slow parts and some of the short interviews of the town people can be a little bit uninteresting. But overall Bernie is a terrific and fantastic movie with brilliant writing and directing.
Funny and tragic at the same order, "Bernie" is an unusual true story
crime with charm to spare. Richard Linklater who directed and wrote the
story, providing a masterful piece of work and smartly matched crime
tragedy with dark comedy in a right path. The movie mostly managed by
documentary filming based on opinion from citizens at small town Texas
who apparently knows Bernie-Marjorie Nugent in person that would
convince us of how their behavior was and showing their unbelievable
reaction after the murder case. It's somehow revealed that Bernie and
Marjorie Nugent is a friend with benefit which has opposite
What the film was trying to prove that there's no perfect person even for Bernie who is believed as sweet and caring guy. Though it feels more like one-sided that would drag audience's sympathy to Bernie character rather than provoke them by the mistake he had done, it seems still tolerable considering the movie built on society's perspective on that case. Afterall "Bernie" isn't a movie that would make you wanna watch it couple times or even more but it's undeniably an above average crime movie which is carried by it's two satisfying central performances from Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jack Black has been known over the past few year for roles in comedies
such as Kung Fu Panda, Tropic Thunder, Nacho Libre and School of Rock.
There is a recent dramatic comedy in which Black shines brighter than
Bernie is the story of a Texan mortician who offers his friendship to a grieving widow (Shirley MacLaine). Other townspeople see Marjorie Nugent as a cold-hearted woman, but Bernie tries to look past the harsh exterior and find the kindness in the widow. Over the months they form a bond which quickly turns sour as Bernie realizes that some people are always bitter about something. That is when he sees the shot gun out of the corner of his eye.
Based on the true story of Bernie Tiede, director Richard Linklater uses a mixture of interviews with townspeople and dramatized reenactments of what took place in the town of Carthage between the mortician and the widow.
There is comedy in the script, but it is not the typical humor one would associate with Jack Black. The subtle laughs are plenty, but only for those comfortable with the dark situational humor throughout the entire film. A well written script offers honesty, heart and laughs all the way through. The pacing is done well with each character receiving just the correct amount of time to connect to the audience.
The cinematography is standard, and the music, some of which is provided by Jack Black as Bernie Tiede, fits with the movie however it is not overly memorable. The acting is the shining point in the film. Jack Black gives the best performance of his career as Tiede. The audience is drawn to the character from the very instant Black steps on screen until the time the credits roll. Shirley MacLaine is good as Nugent as well. A feeling of nausea sweeps over the viewer when she verbally abuses those around her. Even Matthew McConaughey gives a good performance as Danny Buck, the man who finds the body and fights to get Tiede behind bars.
The movie is quirky and honest. Those looking for a gut-busting comedy should skip over this film, but for those interested in a story filled with subtlety it is a definite win.
I happily recommend it. It'll stay with you for a while.
An entertaining docu-dramedy, weirdly peppered with belly laughs, it has the signature style I expect from Richard (Waking Life) Linklater. The fictionalized reenactment segments are broken up by clips of interviews with real citizens of Carthage, TX. They are arguably the best part of the movie, and without a doubt the funniest.
My favorite things about this film are 1) that it reminded me just what a talent Jack Black is you should see this movie if for no other reason than to hear Black sing gospel, even if you don't like gospel and 2) that Linklater's expert treatment of the peer interviews made me realize: I was always laughing *with* the people of Carthage; never *at* them.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a brilliantly conceived non-comedy from Richard Linklater, who
remains one of American cinema's most interesting leftfield filmmakers.
I call it a non-comedy because it doesn't have any jokes, and there's a
brutal murder case at its core, and yet it's very, very funny. It feels
like something that could have emerged in the mid-1990s, after Quentin
Tarantino and Kevin Smith (and Linklater himself) blazed a trail for a
slew of sharply scripted US indies.
The story, based on a true one, is of a morally pure mortician named Bernie Tiede (Jack Black), who has a predilection for befriending vulnerable old ladies in the local community. When he meets Marjorie Nugent (a sour-faced Shirley MacLaine), he meets his match. Her bullying pushes him to a moment of murderous madness. The film is staged like a documentary, except the talking heads exist in the same universe as the reconstructions. It works superbly.
Black, who previously worked with Linklater on the more conventional School of Rock, gives his most skillful and subtle performance to date. It's all about the lack of mugging; the lack of irony. He plays Bernie as a man bulging with goodness: 18 stone drifting angelically across the pristine paving stones of Carthage, all soft humming sun and bungalows, whose North African namesake was once the centre of the world.
The film has much to say about closed communities, namely the heightened tendency to seek to understand the moral and the kindly, and the paradoxical tendency to dehumanise and dismiss the cruel. We know everything about Bernie - he is fully rationalised by the sycophantic townsfolk - but nothing of Marjorie. The result is a telling insight into small town social politics.
Linklater somehow successfully rides the ridge between mockery and aggrandisement. It's testament to his skill as an auteur that by the end such serious subject matter can feel significantly explored without the sunny disposition of the title character being lost behind the cloud of death. It's a film about the USA's favourite pastimes, gun-killing and hero-worshipping, and it proves that when it comes to self-analysis, American filmmakers do it best.
It is not often that a comedy so intelligent and refined, such as
Bernie, that comes along. First and foremost making a comedy out of a
real life dramatic story is an accomplishment in its own right. On to
that add Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McCounaghey and you
got just about the right ingredients.
Bernie is the nicest person a small town has ever known who ends up committing a murder, thus posing the question: if the perpetrator of a crime is highly regarded and the victim is not, does this make the crime any lesser?
Superb performances by McCounaghey and Black, intelligent dialogue, and a dual format that of film documentary assures you of a good time at the cinema.
Often comedies have a tendency to be lame, which is confused as humour and Bernie was undoubtedly a breath of fresh air.
Normally seen as the hyperactive comedy performer (and lead singer of
the legendary Tenacious D), Jack Black show rare restraint in 'Bernie'
a film about small town do-gooder Bernie Tiede (Black) whose kills
Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) after she pushes him too far.
On the surface, Bernie is you average super nice guy. He's the mortician in Carthage but does so more, his seemingly limitless generosity and pure Christian value making him a town favourite. When he takes the recent widowed Mrs. Nugent under his wing, she abuses his trust and pushes poor old Bernie to breaking point.
There are a number of things to like about the film despite its perverse plot. Based on the real Mr. Tiede, the film features documentary-style interviews with the residents of Carthage. They talk about all the good Bernie did (even pushing aside rumours he was gay) and how despised Mrs. Nugent was. When Bernie is convicted by Danny Buck (Matthew McConaughey), the townspeople are in disbelief that a sweet man like Bernie could be driven to murder. Bernie is so exalted by the community that his murder trial is moved so he can be given a fair hearing.
Jack Black's performance is fantastic. He shows how good an actor he is after stripping away the histrionics of being "Jack Black" and fans of the D will get to hear him sing a lot of church hymns, including 'Amazing Grace'. MacLaine is just as good as the vile Mrs. Nugent. At first she laps up Bernie's kindness before her insecurities and possessiveness overwhelm them both.
The big lesson from this film is about treating people. While Bernie has almost limitless generosity (using the late Mrs. Nugent's money to helps the Carthage citizens), his inability to say no and the repression of living in a strictly Catholic committee causes him to crack. Bernie is nice all the time (even when he doesn't have to be) and the lack of an outlet causes a fatal build-up of frustration.
'Bernie' is well worth a look for a different take on how one man can be pushed too far.
There is always something different and interesting about Linklater's
Movies. Here he does not disappoint and Jack Black gives a completely
full and endearing performance This is crafted like a crazy woman's
quilt and it fits snugly in the Black Comedy genre. The jewel in this
crown is the fact that it is fact and this really happened pretty much
as portrayed here.
The whole ensemble of professional Actors and real People are stellar and believable in this unbelievable real event. There is awe in watching the folks interviewed and everyone of Bernie's supporters are jaw dropping in their "belief", contrary to the facts, that this Man could not have done what he did because he was charming, went to Church, and was generous to a fault.
Therein lies the flaw in the reality of Human behavior and this Movie uncovers it with wit and subtlety. That is, without giving away tons of cash and flowering his friends with complements, badly needed attention, and charming, persuasive and masterful manipulation, these town folks would be at best indifferent to this oddball.
It is this unique combination of inconvenient truth, an unconventional Directorial slant, and an uncanny lead performance that makes this charming and pleasing, just like the real Bernie.
AFTERTHOUGHT: If they ever decide to make a Movie about Laurel and Hardy...Jack Black is a lock.
When you see this poster with that classic JB pose and you read that
this movie is a comedy, you would think: hey another JB comedy, I
should check it out or hey another JB comedy, I should avoid it, but
the truth is much different... For me, ever since Pick Of Destiny, Jack
Blacks career has been steadily declining with that awful, awful
crowning achievement called Gulliver's Travels. Granted there has been
a 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 came
to terms with his acting and the type of roles that he plays, and used
that to his advantage, without that forced goofing around that I really
didn't like. Much like Based on a true story, later published in a
local newspaper, this is a movie about one of those little man, just
like 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 his
unconditional love, calm demeanor and desire to help everyone. He moves
in a small town in Texas called Carthage, where he gets a job at a
local mortuary. He excels at it, making an art out of putting make up
on dead people for their funerals. He lives his days, practicing
singing and hanging out with old ladies that no one cares about,
bringing happiness to everyone. Without a wife or a girlfriend he is a
well sought merchandise in this small town, but one faithful day he
meets Marjorie Nugent, an extremely wealthy widow and two of them don't
hit it off. Marjorie is a real old, nagging bitch in a true sense of
that word, who almost everyone hates and Bernie decides that she is the
person that needs his kindness, time and effort. What happens after his
decision is up to you to find out, especially did he wanted to make
Marjorie happy or did he was just looking out for himself...
Shirley MacLaine, an extraordinary actress with her phenomenal performance as Marjorie created that link with Jack Black that made this movie so good, not to mention other actors, of which some are actual residents of Carthage, who actually knew the real Marjorie and Bernie. Very thought provoking movie, Bernie makes us question our own lives and it shows us how can a whirlwind of events lead one person to end up in a place that it doesn't deserve, or maybe it does?
Movie recommendations Rabbit-Reviews.com - Only movies worth watching
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Based on a true story and set in East Texas, Richard Linklater's
"Bernie" stars Jack Black as Bernie Tiede, a homosexual mortician.
Bernie's supremely polite, generous, religious and affectionate toward
everyone he meets. When he befriends an elderly, wealthy widow named
Marjorie Nugent (Shirley Maclaine), however, Bernie's kind,
self-sacrificial nature results in monstrous blow-back. Marjorie takes
advantage of Bernie's generosity, exploits the poor mortician, and
pushes him to such an extent that, in a fit of rage, he shoots her four
times in the back. He is subsequently jailed.
The film's mildly amusing but mostly thin, superficial and I suspect based on lazy journalism. Why not explore how the conservatism of his small town led to Bernie, ashamed of his homosexuality, becoming very needy, religious and hungry for acceptance? Consumed by both self-hate and guilt, Bernie overcompensated by showering everyone he met with gifts and adulation. He wanted to be liked. He couldn't bear scorn or judgement. Why ignore this? And while many in his town bought Bernie's goodwill gestures, an equal amount were deeply suspicious of the man, and viewed him as being insincere, a fraud and con artist. Why ignore this? And while the film states that Bernie didn't enter a relationship with Mrs Nugent for money (she actually gave him three million dollars), it is true that he used her cash to lavish gifts upon several gay lovers. Why ignore this? And why ignore theories that Bernie killed the 81 year old because she had discovered him stealing and was attempting to cut him off?
The film opens with a clever sequence in which Bernie "prepares a corpse". Bernie's job, we learn, is essentially to make "dead bodies presentable". This deception extends to his own persona. Bernie puts on a front, a fake veneer, all to make other people feel welcomed and at ease. But doesn't Linklater's film then swiftly drop this idea? Doesn't he cease all duplicitous hints and instead paint Bernie as simply a kind hearted man-child who gets in over his head? Is Linklater simply being very very subtle (Bernie's even conning himself? He really believes he's the victim?), or does Linklater really believe that Bernie's a bit of an innocent man-child? It's hard to know Linklater's stance within the film. Outside the film, he's made it clear that he believes Bernie should have received only 10 years jail-time and not life imprisonment. From this we can infer that the film is attempting to exonerate rather then condemn Bernie.
Either way, there's something tasteless about the way Mrs Nugent is turned into an evil villain. Indeed, the film at times shares the ageist, hateful mentality of Marjorie's fellow town-folk, a view which a lawyer, played by Matthew McConaughey, tries to combat. Recognising that his town has fallen under the charm of Bernie, McConaughey moves Bernie's trial to a neighbouring city. Only then is he able to get a conviction. Bernie's supporters are shocked at this conviction, but was Bernie really a victim? The real Nugent was a frail woman and it's hard to believe her bullying anybody, even one as supposedly meek as Bernie. And as time rolls on, in the real world, more and more of Nugent's friends and relatives are speaking out and painting a nicer picture of the woman. It seems the character's negative qualities were based on interviews done with Marjorie's family members, all of whom were at the time engaged in messy, bullying legal battles with the elderly widow.
The film is filed with testimonies and talking heads; real villagers from Bernie's town, but also some actors with scripted lines. Linklater makes some vague point about Bernie, idolatry and truth (who's the victim, who's the victimiser? Were Marjorie and Bernie both guilty of abuse?), but one's overall impression is that "Bernie's" slightness could have been avoided by doing some proper, damn research.
7.9/10 - Worth one viewing.
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