By: Oberst Von Berauscht (One Beer) -
Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is the most popular man in Carthage, Texas. A mainstay of all Church functions, giving both time and money to all sorts of needy causes, a dedicated and immensely sensitive employee at the local funeral home, and all around nice guy. For awhile he even seemed to change the life of the wealthy and mean spirited Marge Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) for the better, accompanying her all over town, on vacations, essentially acting as a full time caretaker. (and perhaps lover?) What the people in Carthage didn’t know is that nine months ago Bernie murdered Marge in her garage and concealed her body. Because of her poor reputation in town, few seem to notice, or care, and Bernie’s reputation only seems to grow as he spreads her money to anyone in need.
Treasure Baths not as fun as advertised…
Jack Black is an actor/comedian who always seems to play the same person. Fortunately Bernie defies those expectations, casting Black in a decidedly non-comedic persona. Bernie the character is aloof, flamboyant, and kindly, but also very easily put-upon by others. Far more of a tragic figure than anything Jack Black has portrayed before, and not prone to fits of slapstick. Director Richard Linklater put together a great supporting cast as well, with Matthew McConaughey standing out as Danny Buck Davidson, the District Attorney faced with an uphill battle against the rest of the town in trying the case against Bernie. The director even used some real interviews with citizens of Carthage who knew Bernie, giving the interview segments an authentic documentary feel.
Linklater lets the interview subjects tell the story, and it is clear where the bias of the townspeople lay in terms of the murder. And the feeling the locals have towards the victim in particular make for some hilarious moments, even to the point where you are rooting for Bernie to get away clean. It is only when you are reminded of the gruesome crime of passion committed by Bernie that you realize how awful that makes you.
My advice is to embrace it…
If you wanted to see Jack Black do something unique, this is your chance. Watch it.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: when Bernie sings Gospel.
Take a Drink: for each act of philanthropy Bernie performs
Drink a Shot: for each shot Bernie fires.