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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 »
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Popularity
2,951 ( 3,471)
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

Bernie Tiede is from Abilene, Texas where he graduated from Cooper High School. Upon graduation he worked at Norths Funeral Home before leaving Abilene. 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

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Best and Worst Movies of 2012 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

What Ever Happened to Sam
Written by Dale Watson
Performed by Dale Watson
Courtesy of Dale Watson Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
He just won't say no...
6 June 2012 | by dvc5159See all my reviews

"Bernie" is a nice surprise by Richard Linklater and Jack Black - the same team that brought you 2003's comedy hit "The School of Rock"; now they have reunited for a different type of comedy - a dark one.

Black acts differently in this movie - more restraint, more focused, and at times more intense than in any other film he's done before. His humor here is low-key and not physical a feat done with his absorbing performance. Here is a guy who is loved by everyone - who must be loved by everyone, and who can never say no. It is both an interesting and challenging role for him but he pulls it off in a great way - perhaps paving the way to more challenging and dramatic roles in the future. Compared to other comedy film actors who tried more serious turns, he's not yet as terrific as say, Jim Carrey in "The Truman Show" or Adam Sandler in "Punch-Drunk Love" - but he's on the right track.

Shirley MacLaine is also very different here - she has a sweet, somewhat cheeky personality in many of her previous films of late, but for this movie there's a cold, demeaning aura around her, and her steely eyes sell it. Matthew McConaughey as the ruthless district attorney has certainly improved in his acting range - just check out the courtroom scenes.

I really appreciate the small-town setting of the film. The film is told by ''interviews'' with the friendly small-town folk, giving a quirky and homely feel to the film, while at the same time Linklater smoothly meshes narrative flashbacks into it - which brings me to the editing. The film moves at a strong clip and never feels rushed nor draggy. The above-average screenplay has balances just the right amount of screen- time to establish the story and characters, notably Bernie. Just when you think the film is about to end - there's always another interesting thing happening that keeps the audience glued.

Black and Linklater make a good, promising actor-director team. Perhaps Linklater will be the key to unlock Black's potential in acting. Of course, this is still a ''little'' movie - a low budget, and scarcely any promotion at all... so hopefully word of mouth spreads just how very good this dark comedy is.

P.S. I was not aware that the film is based on a true story. That made the film even more dark and quirky than it was supposed to be.

Overall rating: 77%


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