I am a Jack Black fan, there is no doubt of that. That said, I don’t like everything he’s done, but I really liked this.
Bernie (2011) is an independent film that is tells the story of an assistant funeral director, Bernie Tiede (played by Jack Black), the widow he befriends, Marjorie “Maggie” Nugent (played by Shirley MacLaine) and the unusual relationship that blossomed between them, and the murder of Maggie, by Bernie himself.
Bernie moved to the small Texas town of Carthage after taking a job as assistant funeral director. In this role he excelled and was soon overwhelmingly accepted by the community through his selfless acts of caring and charity. Bernie was (and still is ) loved by the community of Carthage. When someone passed away, Bernie was always sure to check in on the loved ones left behind – especially the widows. One of these widows was the town’s least popular and by far richest citizens, Marjorie Nugent. Marjorie’s husband, who was a very rich man and owner of a local bank passed away, leaving his fortune to Marjorie. Bernie met Marjorie at the funeral home, and as was his way, visited her on several occasions in an attempt to make sure that she was okay, and was coping with her loss. Eventually she let him in and they built an unusual relationship. Marjorie eventually hired him as her personal assistant and became more and more possessive of Bernie and his time. You see Marjorie was a bitch. An all out evil, grumpy bitch that no one liked. According to one resident of Carthage, she declined loans as a hobby! As their relationship advanced (and no one really knows, other than Bernie and the now deceased Marjorie know just how far it advanced), Marjorie and Bernie traveled the world, something Marjorie wanted to do but in the past never had the opportunity to do so. Increasingly, Marjorie made demand on Bernie, trapping him in what some may call an abusive relationship. One day Bernie snaps and kills her. For quite a while Bernie made excuses as to why she was never seen anymore and most people never gave it a second thought – no one but her longtime accountant who with the help of family members, gain access to Marjorie’s home and find her body, preserved in her freezer. Bernie is apprehended where he confesses fully and completely. One problem: Bernie is so loved that no one in Carthage would ever vote to convict him if they were on the jury. Slimeball District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson (played very well by Matthew McConaughey), convinced that Bernie had nothing but evil intentions, charges Bernie with first degree murder and has the trial moved to another city where Bernie has no community ties.
Bernie is based on a true story, and is a masterpiece. Jack Black is great and never goes “over the top” as he is known for. This movie proves that he can act with the big boys. Add to that an amazing supporting cast and a fantastic soundtrack and you have Bernie – the best movie that you haven’t heard of in a long time.
Check out the trailer here: