It Came From the Bargain Bin ( Bernie )
Welcome to this week’s installment of “It Came from the Bargain Bin”. When digging through The Bin I am always trying to find something different because, let’s be honest, for the most part, The Bin is made up of mostly unoriginal and predictable movies which is probably part of the reason that the movies are in the discount box to begin with. Not often do you come across a movie that, not only have you never heard of but also shows potential to be something out of the ordinary, in a good way. Off the top of my head I can only recall one movie that has been reviewed out of The Bin that was really original and definitely a surprise and that was the mockumentary ”Kenny” about the employee of a waste management facility who strives to be the best at what he does and takes pride in his work. There are not many Kenny’s in the ole Bargain Bin but when you come across one it’s like striking inexpensive gold. Which brings us to this weeks selection. After reading the storyline on the back of the cover of this particular movie I couldn’t help but think that maybe. just maybe. this is another Kenny. The storyline looks pretty original and the cast seems like you can’t go wrong with giving this flick a shot. So needless to say, I paid the five bucks and left for home with high hopes for this week’s movie………….”Bernie”
Starring: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and Matthew McConaughey
Directed By: Richard Linklater
Written By: Richard Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth
Reviewed by: Joe Sikes
Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) was the assistant funeral director in the rural town of Carthage, Texas. Not only was Bernie the assistant funeral director but he also sang in the church choir and taught Sunday school. You could say that Bernie Tiede was a model citizen that all of the residents of Carthage just adored.
Soon, Bernie befriended Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) a well-off widow who was not so pleasant to be around. You could say that Marjorie was Bernie’s polar opposite. But Bernie, being the kind gentleman that he was, persistently tried to console Ms. Nugent in her time of grieving for her recently deceased husband. If there was anybody who could win over the crabby and hated Marjorie Nugent it was the loving gentleman Bernie Tied, and win her over Bernie did. To the citizens’ of Carthage amazement soon Bernie and Marjorie became inseparable. Bernie would do as Marjorie pleased because of Bernie’s kind-nature, yet you can only do so much for a person who shows no appreciation for your generosity. Before long, the residents of Carthage realized that they were still seeing Bernie regularly, but not Marjorie. What has happened to Marjorie? Well, for all of Bernie’s good points and his apparent moral values, Bernie MAY have had one…….. or even two weaknesses.
Like most movies that Jack Black stars in he steals the show in Bernie as well, but to be honest, I particularly enjoyed the interviews with the Carthage citizens who knew Bernie and Marjorie. The interviews throughout the film created a richer authenticity to “Bernie” which really helped to peak my interest and, not to mention, the characters being interviewed, some of which being actual citizens of Carthage, were just as entertaining as anybody else in the film, well maybe excluding Jack Black as Bernie. I have to admit that it was nice to see Matthew McConaughey, as the cynical, dirt-digging D.A. Danny Buck, play a character outside of a ridiculous romantic comedy. We can thank Richard Linklater for this current change of pace for McConaughey as I don’t think that it is a coincidence that one of McConaughey’s great roles was as the older stoner “David Wooderson” in Linklater’s 1993 surprise hit comedy “Dazed and Confused”. Linklater also directed Black in the hit comedy “School of Rock” so as you can imagine there is no shortage of Jack Black singing in this one, which is not a bad thing. I enjoyed this morbid comedy and I hope Linklater works more often with Black and McConaughey seeing that he seems to get the best out of the two stars. I give “Bernie” 2 Guys out of 3. See you next week with another review from “It Came from the Bargain Bin”.