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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 »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 10 wins & 18 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 2012 (Iceland) See more »

Also Known As:

Bernie - Leichen pflastern seinen Weg 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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$9,203,192, 16 September 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Real residents of Carthage, Texas who knew the real Bernie Tiede and Marjorie Nugent appear in the film providing commentary on the events. See more »

Goofs

When Bernie is moving the dead student of screen whilst talking about how beautiful life is, the actor starts laughing. 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...
See more »

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 Weekend at Bernie's (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Done That Before
Written by Dale Watson
Performed by Dale Watson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
All about Texas, via a stunning Jack Black performance
26 February 2013 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Bernie (2011)

Don't you hate it when you see a funny movie and think at the end, wow, that could have been so much funnier? This movie really is funny, and Jack Black is kind of brilliant at being this man who has incredible generosity and a quirky kind of social skill to be everyone's favorite. And who ends up taking care of the richest woman in town, getting his name on her will, and so on, as you can guess.

To get the gags and to give a sense of documentary reality, clips of interviews with colorful townsfolk of all types are shown, and they are some of the funniest moments. When these same people are shown again and again there is a sense of welcome familiarity--an update on things from a known face--but also a sameness to the movie. It falls into a pattern. And it's a major part of the movie, with thirty of these talking heads, so naturally the momentum of the main plot is slowed down often. As the events become more extreme, the movie does not. It plods along, relying on some great idiosyncratic acting and the weird (and exaggerated?) East Texas culture.

But Black inhabits his character so well it's scary. The other big name (the biggest name) is Shirley MacLaine, who doesn't actually have that much to do (most of the time she is silent, just ominous or dour). And she of course doesn't make it through the whole film (the trailer and teaser give away too much on that score). The third name is Matthew McConaughey, and he's predictably fun and funny, though he blends in with lots of other unknown characters who are also fun and funny.

So it's the scenario, and some funny writing, that carries the day. Well done stuff. Director and writer Richard Linklater is a curious talent, a little all over the map but good at several things, including just being offbeat enough to seem like the Indie director he once was. His pair of movies "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" are growing into unlikely classics (I like them both a lot) and yet he is also known for lesser comedies like "Dazed and Confused" and now this one.

Yeah, see this for some good laughs. The beginning will seem a little like a lame "Six Feet Under" episode, but stick with it. Black's character is utterly convincing, and funny. A good time.


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