When a JayFlix.net person insists I see a movie...I GO! And once again, I'm glad I did. I had been hesitant about this one because I have never been a big fan of Jack Black ("The Big Year"), but he is so focused on playing a real person with no irony, no sarcasm and no snide under- tones, he won me over.

This is the strange but true story of a hateful, wealthy, old Texas woman who had alienated her friends, family, church, and community. A kind, thoughtful mortician wins her affections and remains her faithful com- panion and confidante up to the day he shoots her with the armadillo gun.

This odd mixture of actors features:
  • Jack Black ("Tropic Thunder") is sweet and believable as Bernie, the attentive new citizen of Carthage, Texas, who wins over the locals through his involvement in the church, in local theatre and by his good works. We hear him sing Beautiful Dreamer, Blessed Assurance, Seventy-Six Trombones, Love Lifted Me, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, He Touched Me, Amazing Grace and Just As I Am. These songs are done with sincerity (and no little skill) by Bernie.
  • Shirley MacLaine ("Valentine's Day") is terrific as "that ol' heifer" Marjorie Nugent, rich, demanding and possessive. No one in the entire town has a nice thing to say about her, alive or dead, and once we see her in action, we can understand why.
  • Matthew McConaughey ("Magic Mike") fits right in as District Attorney Danny Buck, a good ol' boy who shocks the courts by appealing for a change of venue because anyone who would have served on a local jury would refuse to convict their popular friend. McConaughey has worked with Writer/Director Richard Linklater before ("Dazed and Confused").
The rest of the actors who provide "candid" comments in documentary style, are so flawless in their delivery and so believable in their depiction of local townspeople, I had to come home and look them up to be sure they weren't the real people who lived in Carthage when this odd situa- tion became a national news sensation. The Linklater/Hollandsworth script is noteworthy because the language is so authentic and the story unfolds so naturally.

During the final credits there are photos of the real Bernie and Mrs. Nugent, along with an interesting one of Jack Black interviewing Bernie. We also had the special treat of credits that include the picture of each character, the actor's name and the character's name. I hope this is a growing trend: it's helpful and we really, really appreciate it!

I'll be sure to notify you when this becomes available on DVD!
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Here is a link to a preview:
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