DVD Bernie [DVD] (DVD 16057568),
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Director Richard Linklater teams with writer Skip Hollandsworth for this darkly comic docudrama detailing the unusual friendship between a likable Texas mortician and a wealthy but reviled widow, and the shocking crime that followed. Inspired by Hollandsworth's 1998 Texas Monthly article that first caught the attention of Linklater, Bernie takes place in Carthage, TX, where effeminate mortician Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) enjoys a reputation as a friendly and upstanding member of the community. Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), on the other hand, couldn't hold a lower position on the local social scale. Repressed and bitter, nasty Marjorie has isolated herself from her neighbors, and as a result has been essentially shunned in her small town. The moment Bernie shows Marjorie a shred of kindness, she clings to him tightly and refuses to let go. Meanwhile, as Marjorie becomes Bernie's sugar mama and the pair becomes inseparable, the local rumor mill begins to churn. Eventually, her intense jealousy becomes too much for Bernie to take. When the caustic widow's body is discovered stuffed in her own freezer, local District Attorney Buck Davidson (Matthew McConaughey) vows that justice will be served, but he finds it difficult to build a convincing case against Bernie as the locals rally to his defense.
Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Shirley, MacLaine Beaty, Matthew McConaughey, Brady Coleman, Richard Robichaux
"Jack Black is worth the price of admission in BERNIE....[It's] an opportunity for Black to sink his teeth into a role unlike any he's ever played before."
3 stars out of 4 -- "A Linklater inspiration in adapting Bernie's story, with the help of journalist Skip Hollandsworth, was to include interviews with the Carthage townsfolk whose wit and wisdom make you think of OUR TOWN as directed by Christopher Guest."
"[B]oth actors give fearless, all-in performances. Black turns his comic energy inward..." -- Grade: B-
This is writer-director at his wry, whimsical best....The casting choices are unerring, making it virtually impossible to tell the actors from the ordinary folks..."
Los Angeles Times
"Where the movie is at its best is in the comically laconic, straight-to-the-camera remarks offered by Carthage's residents."
Wall Street Journal
"[A] gaudily vibrant, at times morbidly funny true-crime story..."
New York Times
"[A] liberating, sunlit, deceptively simple but extremely complex and fairly formidable film..."
"It was a stroke of genius, at least a miniature one, to cast Black in this role -- hes made to play the affable teddy bear who could snap at any moment."
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "In Richard Linklater's droll comedy BERNIE, Jack Black plays an east Texas funeral director named Bernie Tiede, and it is surely one of the performances of the year."
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