Jack Black  Actor Shirley MacLaine  Actor Matthew McConaughey  Actor Brady Coleman  Actor Richard Robichaux  Actor


MPAA Rating: PG13

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Theatrical Release Date: 2012 04 27 (USA - Limited)

UPC: 687797135292

Studio: Millennium Entertainment

MPAA Rating: PG13   Contains:[Violence, Profanity]

Summary: 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. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Category: Comedy

Awards: Film Presented – Los Angeles Film Festival Film Presented – London Film Festival Film Presented – SXSW Best Male Lead – Independent Spirit Awards Best Feature – Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Actor – New York Film Critics Circle Best Independent Film – National Board of Review Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or – Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Features: Featurettes: amazing grace, true story to film, the gossips
Deleted scenes


Format: DVD

Release Date: 08/21/2012

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Theatre Wide-Screen

Audio: DD5.1 Dolby Digital 5.1

Runtime: 99 Minutes

Sides: 1

Number of Discs: 1

Language(s) English

Subtitles: Spanish,English

Region: USA & territories, Canada

Chapters: Disc #1 -- Bernie
1. Opening Titles [8:40]
2. Sanctuary [7:19]
3. Funeral [8:27]
4. Financial Counseling [8:00]
5. Was Bernie Gay? [7:43]
6. Two Years Later [7:21]
7. What Happened to Carl? [7:49]
8. Carthage Awards [15:03]
9. Self Defense [6:56]
10. Guilty or Innocent? [12:52]
11. Miss My Freedom [2:50]
12. End Credits [6:26]

Perry Seibert

Surprises are memorable, whether they are happy ones or not. Richard Linklater's Bernie presents a story of murder so straightforward that there are no surprises whatsoever, but he does confound our expectations when it comes to the actors.

Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is an effeminate assistant funeral director who is beloved in the small town of Carthage, Texas. He is a magnanimous man, forever buying people gifts even though he has almost no money himself, singing in the local church choir, and providing great comfort and emotional stability to the many elderly widows he meets during the course of his job. One day the wealthy and feared Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) needs his services, and soon the mean old bat turns Bernie into her personal valet. While her neediness begins to impinge on his own life, he's too nice to rebel; besides, he doesn't want to pass up all the monetary advantages of being Marjorie's only friend. But eventually he does something drastic in order to get out from under this woman's thumb, which leads tenacious, camera-loving District Attorney Danny Buck (Matthew McConaughey) to dig up the truth regarding Bernie's crime.

The whole movie rests primarily on the shoulders of Black, whom Linklater turned into a bankable star with School of Rock -- a film that utilized Black's verbally nimble, high-energy likability in ways no other picture quite has. This time, however, Black tries something new. He gives Bernie a high Texas twang that manages to be soothingly gentle while also betraying an abundance of repressed feelings. The character of Bernie fits Black perfectly, allowing him to bring shades of darkness and sadness we haven't seen from him before to his trademark emphatic extroversion. It's the kind of work that announces he's ready and able to handle much more challenging fare than most of us have come to expect from him.

It's a superb performance, but it's far from the only one. McConaughey, another actor whom Linklater traditionally gets the best from, shines by curdling his own abundant charm into an unctuous, self-satisfied ambition -- which makes it even more dramatic that his character is the moral center of the story. In addition to his fine work, MacLaine makes an impression with very little screen time. Marjorie is purposefully detestable from the get-go; her Scrooge-like mentality is highlighted at every opportunity, most humorously when she clutches her purse as a local religious figure tells a group of women he's looking for donations. MacLaine plays that moment so beautifully that you can tell the character's distrust and fear are innate, possibly even subconscious.

Sadly, though the actors are uniformly excellent, the screenplay by Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth (who wrote the magazine article about the real-life case the movie is based on), doesn't build any suspense. We learn early on what Bernie does, and while that allows Linklater to focus on the nuances his actors bring to their characters, such a decision deadens the dramatic impact of the storytelling. The actors are so good we understand the characters pretty much from the first frame, and that makes the fact that we know how it turns out much more problematic. After the first 30 minutes, there is no sense of discovery -- we're just waiting for the inevitable confrontation between Bernie and Buck to see how the actors play it.

Linklater avoids any accusation of exploiting a real murder -- the picture's ambitions are far too small to think that he intended this to be a blockbuster. It has the intimacy and professional quality of a fine made-for-HBO movie, which shouldn't be taken as an insult. It's absolutely worth seeing for Black's skillful work, but if only the filmmaker had added some tension, more people would be interested in seeing such a genuinely great performance. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Cast and Crew: Jack Gilardi, Jr.  Executive Producer 
Liz Glotzer  Producer 
Richard Linklater  Director 
Richard Linklater  Producer 
Richard Linklater  Screenwriter 
Martin Shafer  Producer 
Matt Williams  Producer 
Ginger Sledge  Producer 
David McFadzean  Producer 
Judd Payne  Producer 
Duncan Montgomery  Executive Producer 
Celine Rattray  Producer 
Darby Parker  Executive Producer 
Graham Reynolds  Composer (Music Score) 
Dete Meserve  Producer 
Michael Bassick  Executive Producer 
Johnny Lin  Executive Producer 
William T. Conway  Executive Producer 
Don Fox  Executive Producer 
Skip Hollandsworth  Screenwriter 
Jack Selby  Executive Producer 
Ken Hirsh  Executive Producer 
Jack Black  Actor 
Shirley MacLaine  Actor 
Matthew McConaughey  Actor 
Brady Coleman  Actor 
Richard Robichaux  Actor 
Rick Dial  Actor 
Brandon Smith  Actor 
Larry Jack Dotson  Actor 
Merrille McCommas  Actor 
Mathew Greer  Actor 
Richard Jones  Actor 
Charles Bailey  Actor 
Suzi McLaughlin  Actor 
Grant James  Actor 
Julie Erickson  Actor 
J.D. Young  Actor 
Charlie Stewart  Actor 
Joe Stevens  Actor 
Raquel Gavia  Actor 
Amparo Garcia-Crow  Actor 
Toby Metcalf  Actor 
Doug Moreland  Actor 
Edward Ji  Actor 
Jill Blackwood  Actor 
David Blackwell  Actor 
Gabriel Luna  Actor 
Deana Newcomb  Actor 
David Steakley  Actor 
Peter Harrell Jr.  Actor 
Joe Reynolds  Actor 
Christian Stokes  Actor 
John Hornbuckle  Actor 
Wray Crawford  Actor 
Margaret Ann Hoard  Actor 
Charles Allen Eskew  Actor 
Quita Culpepper  Actor 
Mona Lee Fultz  Actor 
Jerry Biggs  Actor 
Robert Works  Actor 

Country: USA