“My bestest buddy texted me last week and said I should see Bernie. Two of his texts on the subject included the word “”hilarious””. I replied that I’d the trailer a couple times, but that it didnt impress me much. It looked kinda awkward and Christopher Guest-y. He assured me that it wasn’t. A few days ago I tell him I’ve got in it my movie plans for the week, but if it sucks I’m blaming him. He backpeddles a bit, but still insists that the townspeople are what make the movie worthwhile. Yeah I guess I owe him a thank you for making me see this.
Actually I had been pretty intrigued by the premise. This all around nice guy befriends a cranky old lady, they become BFF’s, he kills her in a spontaneous fit of rage, then then hides her body for 9 months and keeps people thinking she’s alive. All based on a true story. Jack Black is the he and Shirley MacLaine is the she. There’s also some Matthew McConaughey involved. And it’s set in Texas.
The Texas aspect, I loved, to the point where its accuracy made me uncomfortable. This is actually east Texas, and I’m from south Texas (they had a really funny and 100% spot on description of each of the areas of the state), but it still felt like the home I ran away from as fast as I could. IMDB trivia tells me that had actual Carthage, TX residents doing the commentary, and I completely believe it. I also loved the little details. My favorite being McConaughey carrying around a bottle of Big Red. God only knows how much of that crap I drank as a kid. You found it at every fast food soda fountain too.
Yes, the local were hilarious. What made them funny was that they were oblivious to it. Some of their commentary was just so ridiculous, but they were completely deadpan. They did not know what they said was funny, and that’s what made it perfect.
The cast was also great, also to the point of almost making me uncomfortable. Jack Black’s Bernie reminded me a bit too much of the guy who ran my Daddy’s funeral: incredibly soft spoken, sweet, and amazing at what he did. Bernie’s motives in spending so much time with the elderly widow were purposely left ambiguous, but I felt that his portrayal and some of the minor details steered it in one particular direction (I’ll leave it to you the potential viewer to draw your own conclusions). Shirley MacLaine certainly was a woman you’d love to hate. There was nothing about how she portrayed Mrs. Nugent that wouldnt lead me to believe that even the sweetest guy wouldn’t want to put four bullets in her back. Matthew McConaughey was wonderful, of course. This wasn’t a pretty boy role for him, which was kinda refreshing. I mean, I do love him being gorgeous, but this proved that there’s more to him than looking good. And don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll more than make up for it in a few weeks with Magic Mike.
Do I ever start a final paragraph with anything other than “”overall”” or “”anyways””? Whatever. Bernie really was an unexpectedly fun yet incredibly dark film. It dragged a bit, but I’m glad I was encouraged to go see it
Bernie – \m/ \m/ \m/