Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Overlooked Movies: Bernie

So how can such a recent movie qualify as "overlooked"?  Well, it never went into wide release and grossed well under $10 million at the box office, that's how.  Maybe you have to be from East Texas to appreciate it, but Judy and I really enjoyed it and thought it was one of the best movies we've seen in a long time.

Bernie is Bernie Tiede, an assistant funeral director in Carthage, Texas, and the movie's his story.  It's all pretty much true.  I read the original article about Bernie in Texas Monthly, and the movie follows it right along.  Bernie befriends a wealthy widow, played by Shirley MacLaine, and things go downhill.  If you haven't read about it, then that's all you need to know.  It's like every noir story you've ever read, except it's not.  

A lot of roles in the movie are filled by residents of Carthage, and they're all wonderful at just playing themselves in documentary-style interviews.  They'd steal the show if it weren't for Jack Black, who's note perfect all the way through.  (Another reason I liked this movie is that I know someone who's just exactly like Bernie.  Exactly.)  MacLaine is good, too, and so is Matthew McConaughey in a small role.  

I recommend this highly, especially if you're from Texas.


Anonymous said...

I really wanted to see it but it came and went so fast that we just missed out.


Anonymous said...

We watched it Sunday night and laughed 'til we cried. But I grew up in a place a lot like Carthage, Texas.

John D

Ronald Tierney said...

It is a strange, wonderful little movie. And the local people are amazing.

Gerard said...

That one has looked interesting. One McConaughey flick that passed me by is KILLER JOE. I never heard of it until reading a local piece when I was in Houston a couple weeks ago.

Bill Crider said...

That one's gotten great reviews.

Kathy said...

We are from East Texas and watched it on pay-per-view recently and loved it!

Anonymous said...

OK, we got it from the library and just watched it and it was great. Jack Black was subtle and the townspeople were wonderful. We loved it.


Bill Crider said...

I thought you might. Now you know what living in small-town Texas is like.