Bernie (2011)


Bernie (Jack Black) is an assistant funeral director in the small town of Carthage, TX. He is heavily involved in his local church, theatre group, social circle and is one of the most popular guys in town thanks to his extreme kindness and generosity.  He also really takes a shine to the older widows that cross his path in his particular line of work. He ends up falling for one of these women, Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine); which is odd, because she is by far the meanest and richest person in town.  Despite their polar opposites, they end up hitting it off and begin dating.

After years of traveling to exotic locations and enjoying all of the finer things in life, the honeymoon is definitely over.  Bernie is now treated like her servant and she keeps constant tabs on him 24/7.  He is forced to take care of her, but as a consolation he is able to spend her money freely. Eventually that isn’t enough, and her constant tormenting becomes overwhelming and one day he just shoots her in the back and stuffs her in the freezer.  Nine months have past, and he is still spending her money, but to help those in need in his community; and tells everyone she is in a nursing home.  Eventually her banker gets suspicious and the cops find out the truth, and it is up to a local DA played by Matthew McConaughey to try and convict a murderer in a town where he’s adored and the victim was hated. This: all based on a true story.

Alex’s Thoughts: I typically don’t like Jack Black in dramatic roles, or most roles for that matter, but I was pleasantly surprised by this film. It’s presented more like an episode of Dateline NBC that a traditional movie and that helps move it along and breaks up the story with interviews from the townsfolk.  It seems like Black threw himself into this role and put forth a lot of effort in portraying this character and it shows and pays off.  It will have you guessing till the end whether or not he will be convicted of a serious crime that everyone else in the town thinks was justified, because the victim was sort of a bitch.   Would say most people would like this one.  Alex Rates This Movie 8/10

Tim’s Thoughts: I didn’t know what to expect when I turned this on, all I knew is that it’s based on a true story. Turns out this is a pretty darn good movie, the interviews with the actual townsfolk of Carthage really keep the first hour of this movie humming, and the last half hour (the trial) is just as fascinating. Jack Black really plays it low key, and is excellent as he portrays a character so strange that he has to be real. I Strongly recommend this to just about anyone, there’s not too much language, and the unintentional (?) humor is sprinkled throughout. Tim Rates This Movie 10/10

“In a small town, people will always suspect the worst of someone. But they’ll also suspect the best.”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here, or add it to your Netflix queue.