Bernie (2011)

Based on the real life story of Bernie Tiede, Marjorie Nugent, and the town of Carthage, Texas.

Where: Amazon Prime
Rating: PG-13
Release Type: Theatrical

Cast
+10 for Jack Black. He was perfect in this role. He did little things that made it clear he had researched the story and he managed to make Bernie a highly sympathetic character so that you understand why the real Bernie was so popular.
+5 for Shirley MacLaine. She was absolutely crazy in this role.
+5 for Matthew McConaughey. He grew up not too far from Carthage and it shows.
+10 for all the townsfolk. Some of them were professional actors. Some of them weren’t. But they were all perfectly perfect as the epitome of East Texas.

Score: 30

Production (Writing/Directing/Soundtrack, etc…)
+15 for an amazingly funny script.
+5 for the music. Granted there are others who wouldn’t rate the music because it is older southern gospel; but Jack Black has a fantastic voice and half the fun is listening to him sing.
+10 for location. It was actually filmed in East Texas, including Carthage; and it shows. Sometimes this isn’t an important element; but in this case it is. Because, really, Carthage is as much of a character in this movie as any other.

Score: 30

Other
+10 for watching again. This movie came out in 2011 – so 8 years ago. I’ve probably seen this movie at least 8 times. Why? Because I went to college and lived in East Texas for a number of years and now I no longer live there. This movie both makes me home sick and sends me to the happy nostalgia place at the same time.
+3 for family friendliness. The movie has some dark humor elements to it; which make it wholly inappropriate for the mass majority of children under 13. Its probably also a bit inappropriate for some children ages 13-16; but to be honest I think most 13 year olds would be fine.
+3 for the references to Jalapeno Tree.
+10 for this clip because if it isn’t the most Texas description of Texas ever, I don’t know what is.

+1 for the quote, “Can I tell you I am not fond of cremations. I just don’t like the idea of someone spending eternity in something the size of a motel ice bucket.”
+1 for the very meta quote, “You cannot have grief tragically become a comedy.”
+1 for the quote, “I mean, he just made everybody look so beautiful. Except too bad, you were dead.”
+5 for the quote, “I never thought of me killing Mrs. Nugent…fantasized about it…she always died accidentally, like in a car accident or falling down the escalator in the mall in Longview ” – Now, part of the reason why this is so funny is because of how many people in East Texas, when talking about the movie, forgot that there was an escalator in the Longview mall (its in Sears). Like I actually heard people making fun of “Hollywood” for not getting things right because there was no elevator in the mall in Longview. I had a bit of fun setting them right. *giggles*

Score: 34

I had put out a call for “Unknown but Favorite” movies. And one of my best friends mentioned this one, even though she knew I was quite familiar with the movie and love it. But I really didn’t mind the excuse to see it again. Also, did I mention that I had to try multiple times to see this movie in the theater when it came out because it was constantly sold out? Yeah, it was popular in East Texas, but really I’m not sure how well it did nationally.

When I finally got to see it there weren’t actually a lot of people in the audience. A few people scattered in the auditorium and then a row of people sitting behind me that were from…. Carthage. Now, normally we all get annoyed when people talk in a movie, right? Oh, but not this time. It was *the* best because, again, they were from Carthage and they were older and they had a running commentary going on about the movie. I just sat there watching the movie and giggling because they were just.like.the.townspeople.

I am not joking. Bernie got East Texas right.

Score: 96

Slight Warning: I’ll make one thing clear; this movie does take place in East Texas, and especially deep East Texas. So the diversity factor is ….. well its what you’d expect from such a movie. But for the most part we, as the audience, are being shown how some of those statements and actions are wrong; as if the joke is on Marjorie and/or “The Town Gossips” rather than on the people being disparaged.

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