In small-town Texas, an affable mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when she starts to become controlling, he goes to great lengths to separate himself from her grasp.

Director:

Richard Linklater

Writers:

Skip Hollandsworth (based on the article in Texas Monthly by), Richard Linklater (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
10 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Black ... Bernie Tiede
Shirley MacLaine ... Marjorie Nugent
Matthew McConaughey ... Danny Buck
Brady Coleman ... Scrappy Holmes
Richard Robichaux ... Lloyd Hornbuckle
Rick Dial Rick Dial ... Don Leggett
Brandon Smith ... Sheriff Huckabee
Larry Jack Dotson ... Rev. Woodard
Merrilee McCommas Merrilee McCommas ... Molly
Mathew Greer Mathew Greer ... Carl (as Matthew Greer)
Marjorie Dome Marjorie Dome ... Townsperson
Tim Cariker Tim Cariker ... Townsperson
Fern Luker Fern Luker ... Townsperson
Jack Payne Jack Payne ... Townsperson
Sonny Carl Davis ... Townsperson (as Sonny Davis)
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Storyline

We meet Bernie Tiede (1958- ), a chubby undertaker, who takes pride in his work. He's a Gospel-singing tenor. In a series of interviews with townspeople, mixed with flashbacks, we follow Bernie: he arrives in Carthage, Texas (pop. 7,000), where old ladies adore him; he befriends a wealthy, mean-spirited widow named Marjorie Nugent; they become companions in both daily routines and expensive vacations. Among those interviewed, only her stockbroker and Danny Buck, the local district attorney, are unsympathetic toward the sunny, sometimes saccharine Bernie. Marjorie changes from sour and alone to happy with Bernie; then she gets possessive. What will sweet Bernie do? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A story so unbelievable it must be true.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violent images and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Parts of the movie such as the airport and BBQ restaurant were filmed in Smithville. This is the same place that Hope Floats with Sandra Bullock was filmed. See more »

Goofs

The choir is singing out of the United Methodist Hymnal with Bernie singing, "Blessed Assurance". The hymn number is #369, which is not correctly numbered on the list of hymns in the background. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Professor Fleming: I'm very honored to introduce our guest lecturer today. He graduated from here about 15 years ago. He's gone on to a fabulous career. I can't think of a single person who's more qualified or more adept at the final procedures you've been studying lately. Now you've learned the science. Now's your chance to learn the art. Students, Mr. Bernie Tiede...
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Crazy Credits

During the main credits, there are more commentary clips of the 'townspeople'. The last clip is of James Baker singing the song he wrote about the events. See more »

Connections

References Driving Miss Daisy (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Fantaisie -- Impromptu in C# minor Op. 66
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Performed by Edward Li
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User Reviews

 
Linklater knows Texas
22 May 2012 | by MrPNGuinSee all my reviews

This was a surprisingly good movie. Director Richard Linklater blends semi-documentary style with dark comedy and tragic real-life events in an exceptional way. Based on the murder of a wealthy widow in Carthage Texas in 1996. This movie gives you an interesting glimpse into small town life and how the people there dealt with this unique situation. Jack Black proves he can act, Matthew McConaughy looked to be enjoying himself, and Shirley MacLaine, while not having much to do, is still a welcome addition to the cast. Linklater even uses real townsfolk to help narrate the story through their own recollections of the events. This is one of those independent films that is a must see.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 2012 (Iceland) See more »

Also Known As:

Bernie See more »

Filming Locations:

Lockhart, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$85,805, 29 April 2012

Gross USA:

$9,206,470

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,173,061
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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