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Bernie

August 30, 2012

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If there is any justice in this world Jack Black will receive an Oscar Nomination for his work as Bernie. He loses the Jack Black persona and commits to a wonderful real-life character. Roger Ebert sums up Black’s performance perfectly:

“I had to forget what I knew about Black. He creates this character out of thin air, it’s like nothing he’s done before, and it proves that an actor can be a miraculous thing in the right role.”

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Bernie is based on the real life events and trial of  convicted murderer Bernie Tiede. The story takes place in the town of Carthage Texas and features the wonderful cast of Black, Matthew McConaughey and Shirley McClaine. The movie refreshingly adds testimonials of town residents as they talk about Bernie, Marjorie and the events surrounding the Texas murder dubbed “Midnight in the Garden of East Texas.” The film strays away from some of the murkier aspects of the case and it might not be totally correct to the source material but still exudes proof of directorial mastery

The film was directed by Richard Linklater. Linklater is a dynamo at creating memorable characters and has directed some of my favorite films such as Slacker, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Dazed and Confused and School of Rock. this film reunites him with Black (School of Rock) and McConaughey (Dazed and Confused). McConaughey is obviously having a blast and Black gives a career best performance as a man whom everyone loves. He is a giving man who runs the local playhouse, has a beautiful voice and gives most of his time to others. His undoing was his relationship with recently widowed Marjorie Nugent. The two of them form a constant bond that eventually becomes toxic. You understand why a town would fully support a man who shot an old woman in the back four times with a .22 caliber rifle.

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Bernie is a beautiful film/documentary hybrid that will undoubtedly make my year-end best of list. It is funny, charming, cheeky, engaging and creative. Jack Black gives a career defining performance and you will love watching Matthew McConaughey having a hoot of a time. Movies like Bernie do not come around much because there is nothing like them.

Rent Bernie, love Bernie, Hope that Jack Black is remembered come Academy Award time.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. John Leavengood permalink
    May 21, 2015 11:37 am

    I just saw this recently. My girlfriend said it was one of her favorite movies, yet I avoided it for years figuring it would be another “Jack Black being Jack Black” movie. I was so wrong. Black was amazing…up there with Shallow Hal, but incomparable in nature. Very grateful that she encouraged me to watch it!

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