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Old 12-01-2012, 12:53 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Bernie (Jack Black / Richard Linklater)



Earlier this week, a little-known film titled "Bernie" was nominated for Best Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. It stars Jack Black and is directed by Richard Linklater. This is their first collaboration since the hit-comedy School of Rock. That movie changed Jack Black's career. He went from a cult comedian/musician to the star of many successful family films. And now, 9 years later, is a movie that could potentially be another career changer for Black.

He plays Bernie, a community worker in a small-town in Texas. At the beginning of the story, Bernie is a mortician. He is very devoted to his profession and goes as far as to help the family grief after his services have been completed. One of the people he seeks to comfort is a local millionaire widow named Marjorie (Shirley MacLaine). She is hated among the community but Bernie is a religious man and only likes to see the good side of people. Marjorie is so shocked that someone is being nice to her that she befriends Bernie and eventually hires him to be her personal and professional assistant. But 2 years later, Bernie can no longer tolerate Marjorie's negative attitude and in a moment of pure anger and hatred he grabs a hunting rifle and shoots Marjorie four times in the back. She's an 81-year-old woman and immediately drops dead on the floor. Instead of calling the police, or at least disposing of the body, Bernie hides her in a freezer and begins to donate her money to the community. 9 months later, suspicion of Majorie's disappearence reaches its peak and police break into her mansion and search the place. The body is, of course, discovered and Bernie is sent to prison. Being the religious man that he is, Bernie immediately confesses to the crime but the district attorney (played by Matthew McConaughey) struggles to convict Bernie because he is so darn popular in town there's fear that he might get acquitted.

First of all, the film is based on a true story. I s--t you not. This all happened in Carthage, Texas in the mid-to-late 1990s. So, Linklater makes a directorial decision that immediately makes the movie a unique and enjoyable experience. Instead of making a straight bio-pic, he makes a faux-documentary. This is a small town and a story of this magnitude dominates the gossip scene. So he interviews like a dozen of the townspeople and intercuts their commentary with dramatizations by the actors. At first, it's a bit surreal but once you get to the meat of the story, it's difficult not to be glued to the television. In my opinion, Linklater has always been a very underrated filmmaker, so here is more evidence of why the man should be appreciated. His approach to Bernie was genius. He's also amazing with actors. Jack Black delivers an awards-worthy performance, although I will admit that there was moments when I was reminded of Zach Galifianakis in The Campaign. Both performances, and their appearance, are strangly similar. Matthew McConaughey also delivers a spectacular performance. It's easy to make fun of the guy, but with the right director, he can hit a home run. Let's not forget McConaughey was one of the standouts in Linklater's Dazed and Confused.

OVERALL, I highly recommend the film. It's available on Netflix Instant Streaming. So, if you have that service, there's no excuse to ignore this hidden gem.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:16 AM   #2
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I wonder if this movie will get any Oscar love.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:25 AM   #3
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McConaughey should. It got to a point I'd start laughing when his first frame would show up.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:38 AM   #4
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school of rock was a 'hit comedy'?

coulda fooled me.


Did enjoy this though, and thought jack black was pretty good.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FranklinTard View Post
thought jack black was pretty good.
One of the few performances where he doesn't look stoned.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:05 PM   #6
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Solid 8/10
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:54 AM   #7
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I forgot I saw this back in October. I had no idea what it was about before I saw it. Great story, and a fine performance by Black.

8/10
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:51 AM   #8
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Glad to see more supporters.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:57 AM   #9
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One of the most interesting and entertaining films of 2012. Definitely Jack Black's finest work to date, and the way the story unfolds just draws you ever more deeply into the whole thing.

***1/2 /****
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:33 AM   #10
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Welcome to the Club, MB.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:38 AM   #11
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what are all these clubs you keep thinking you are forming?
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