With Richard Linklater, you always know that you’re going to get something unique, and Bernie was certainly that. A tale of a friendship between a wildly popular small-town mortician (sorry - Assistant Funeral Director) and a miserly, crotchety (I love that word) widow that starts out incredibly sweetly but then goes horribly awry. When I learned that it was based on a true story (!!!), I was shocked and intrigued. Apparently, the film treatment divided the town of Carthage:
"You can’t make a dark comedy out of a murder," says Panola County District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson (portrayed in the film by McConaughey). "This movie is not historically accurate," adds Davidson, who says that Nugent’s story is missing. "The movie does not tell her side of the story."
Jack Black is IMPECCABLE as Bernie Tiede — every movement, every word, every expression — he sinks completely into the role as the fastidious, enthusiastic, overwhelmingly positive mortician who becomes the BMOC of Carthage, TX (where the South truly begins). (T: I will have to see this for myself. Jack Black repulses me in general.) The townspeople LOVE him, even if he may be “light in the loafers” (we never get confirmation). They love him so much; that even when he is charged with shooting the widow in the back 4x and hiding her in the freezer for months, they all make excuses for him and talk about how much good he did for the town. The trial even gets moved because nobody in Carthage would convict beloved Bernie.
Shirley MacLaine is fabulous, as always, as the widow Marjorie Nugent. The townspeople who narrate the story throughout are hilarious. My favorite is the man in the diner who derisively describes the jury from the next town as follows (imagine a deep Southern/Texas accent): ”They have more tattoos than teeth,” while shovels pie into his mouth while wearing overalls. Most are slow-spoken, overly made up, overweight, and dressed in Wal-Mart’s finest Sunday church wear.
That said, I was still a little disappointed. I think the townspeople were a little overdone and drawn out, as was Matthew MacConaughey as D.A. Danny Buck. More caricatures than characters, although it reinforced some of my negative stereotypes of rural Texas. It dragged on a little, too. (OK - I wish all movies were 90 minutes - I’m not very patient.)
It’s enjoyable and different, and I truly commend Jack Black for an amazing performance, but it left me a little cold - maybe my expectations were too high.
Certainly better than average for a romantic comedy. The cast has really good bench depth and did a fantastic job. I love Jason Segel and Emily Blunt in pretty much everything they do, but the supporting cast was SO strong. Chris Pratt and Alison Brie as best man/sister were genius (v. impressed with Alison’s British accent).
I didn’t recall going in that this was an Apatow production, but I should have known when it started getting a little drawn-out. 124 minute run-time totally unnecessary. Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, who also did The Muppets. Loved the beginning of the film - how they met, their relationship dynamic and the fantastic friends and family (especially Violet’s dwindling grandparents - they & mother Jacki Weaver stole the show!). I was just simply bummed out by their relationship’s deterioration; although thank God for Violet’s fellow grad students in psychology: Mindy Kahling, Kevin Hart and his masturbation experiments, and Randall Park, and Jason’s deli shop colleague Brian Posehn - they kept me laughing while we slogged through the trials of their extended engagement).
I’m not going to tell you how it ended - I’m sure you can guess. It was a completely unrealistic ending, but cute. I smiled and rolled my eyes at the same time.
T: Almost completely disagree with this critique. I found most of the movie tedious and repetitive and meandering. I love Jason Segel and Emily Blunt. But they sucked here. And it was all about the material. Lame, lame, lame. M is right about Chris Pratt and Alison Brie were the only bright spots for me. M is not kidding when she says this movie is way to fucking long (ok—I’m adding a bit to what she actually said). Chris Pratt is truly a star and the grade below doesn’t reflect one bit on him.
T Grade: D
M: What grade did you give The Vow, just out of curiosity…..?
M: Yay! Long weekend. So long I didn’t even publish this on Friday. Top things to do this Memorial Day weekend:
See a movie. If you haven’t seen The Avengers, see that first. Of movies opening this weekend, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom looks the most promising.
Go to the beach, but not Venice - I don’t want you crowding up my bike path.
Day drinking - can be done almost anywhere. If you’re under 30, go for beer; over 30, a sparkling wine is nice. A dry rose sparkler is my favorite right now.
Go hiking or biking - the weather looks pretty dry across the U.S. Do something outside - it’s summer! Wear your sunscreen! (Sorry, Southeast — hope that tropical storm Beryl doesn’t get too crazy.)
See some music. I’m going to the JazzReggaeFest at UCLA to see Gary Clark Jr and The Roots. The Sasquatch Festival at The Gorge in Washington looks amazing. I’m sure there is something big or small going on near you.
M: T, the EW recap was very thorough (and I can’t believe you read all 5 pageviews — way to hold out, champ), but it’s nothing like watching the episode itself. I’m so shocked & satisfied & on the edge of my seat! Sidebar on Faux Amanda: why doesn’t real Amanda shut that bitch down now?!
T: Spoiler (though if you haven’t watched yet…come ON!): There is no way in hell that Victoria got on that plane.
T: In what will be a trend until cable picks up the slack on occasional evenings, I’ve got pretty much nothing to reco. I just can’t get into So You Think You Can Dance. And I’ve sworn off singing competitions for the foreseeable future, so no Duets for me, even as much as I adore Kelly Clarkson (FOX is pissed!).
I don’t even have a late night round up! There’s nobody worth watching.
T: It’s the official end of the road tonight. The season is over. Luckily, we’re sending it out on a high note, courtesy of ABC.
Almost the entire lineup on ABC is new. Starting out with The Middle. Apparently there is going to be a wedding at the Heck house…but not exactly what you think. Another outstanding year. I’m so proud of my friends for putting together such a quirky and real show. Next you’ve got a Modern Family repeat. Followed by the season finale of…Modern Family. I’ve been a little underwhelmed lately. But, as I’ve said before, Modern Family being a bit off still means it’s good. Next up is The Bitch in Apt. 23. So glad this was renewed. It so just shouts out “I don’t give a shit if we’re offending you!” And I love that. Finally, the season finale of Revenge. My fave new show of the season. They’re promising a shocking ending. I, for one, believe them. This has been a fantastic, escapist show the entire season. It’s rare you can say you like an entire ensemble cast. I completely say that about Revenge. 8p-11p.
E! has The Soup tonight and every Wednesday night (unless you live with M). You cannot ever go wrong with Joel McHale. Ever. The man is brilliant. 7p satellite, 10p cable.
Late Night Round Up: Just because it’s hilarious to see Chelsea Handler recoiling in fear, throw Chelsea Lately on your DVR. (Frankly, it should already be there.) But she’s got animal expert Donald Schultz on (plus my fave, Ben Gleib, is on the panel).
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon welcomes another one of my faves, Edie Falco. If you haven’t caught Nurse Jackie this season…or ever…well, you’re a fool. But catch up. She’s been just outstanding this season as a woman who’s crutch has been taken away yet has every awful thing happen to her. And Netflix Sunshine State. She’s amazing in it. Definitely a movie you never saw. 8p satellite, 11p cable (Chelsea Lately), 12:35a.
M: I’m not ashamed of watching Celebrity Apprentice, T. You think Wilson Phillips is crazy? Try George Takei. And I’ve been exposed to a positive side of a number of people who impress me with their intelligence, creativity or strategic thinking (Lisa Lampanelli, Adam Carolla, Penn Gilette, Dee Snider). And there is always somebody to hate (Aubrey O’day, hands down - what a delusional, two-faced, mediocre, “cartoon” - that’s what Victoria Gotti called her - ha ha! Talk about a cartoon!)
Also, the show raises a TON of money for charity, in addition to raising awareness for the causes. Each week, the winner gives at least $20K to their charity, which is usually increased by matching donations from the participating companies. The winner donates an additional $250K. Many challenges raise additional monies for the charities. I am not a Donald Trump fan, but I have to give him credit for the good that this show does. (T: Credit goes to NBC Universal for any money given to charity. Good old Trump isn’t shelling out a single dime. But I won’t begrudge you the fact the show at least does some good. Simply cannot bear to watch.)
In that spirit, I’d like to call out Arsenio’s and Clay’s respective causes: the Magic Johnson Foundation (http://www.magicjohnson.com/foundation/), which develops programs and supports community-based organizations that address the educational, health, and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities, including an HIV initiative, and the National Inclusion Project, which strives for the inclusion of children with disabilities (http://www.inclusionproject.org/).
So Arsenio Hall wins. Really? He may have won several challenges, but his team raised about 1/3 of what Clay Aiken’s team raised in the final challenge, and I’ve never seen the guy step up & take a risk without assessing how he would assign blame. Arsenio must be a good business person, or he wouldn’t be where he is today, and perhaps that is why Trump chose him. He seemed rather spineless throughout the show. Clay demonstrated equal smarts on the show at least, and was generally classy and understated. In the business world, I’m not sure I’d want either of them running a division of my company.
Anyway, it was a fun ride, and I think I’ll watch next season’s competition from the start.
So sorry for being MIA. Was celebrating dear D’s 40th up in Napa. What a wonderful long weekend. Great wine, meals, and company. One of the highlights for me was the Ladera Vineyard, where we had lunch in their caves. Must buy their cabs — fabulous!
I am catching up on viewing and the blog - wow, has T been busy! Watching the Celebrity Apprentice finale now, and I’ll give you my thoughts. I’ll need to watch SNL, although if T is bitching about Mick Jagger’s music, I’m sure I’ll have some corrections to make.
If you’ve put yourself through the misery of Glee this season on FOX, you might as well watch the season finale tonight. If they do this graduation right, it could be touching. But they haven’t gotten much of anything right this season. 8p.
Late Night Round Up: Throwing Ellen in here. She’s got those two adorable girls Sophia Grace and Rosie on. They have got to be at least getting close to having the most guest appearances ever!
Ali Wentworth is on The Tonight Show. She’s not well known to everyone, but she is damn funny.
My girl Lisa Marie Presley making the rounds. She’s on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Hey, when you have an album to sell…
Lastly, John Mayer is on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. He’s performing with The Roots. (M: This is a reunion of sorts for those who remember the sketch he & Questlove did on The Chappelle Show - hilarious)
Ellen, check your local listing, 11:35p, 12a, 12:35a.
T: I’m stunned. I know she can be polarizing. But I fall firmly on the side of liking her a lot. She’s been a part of my life here in California since I got here in ‘94. Good Day LA will not be the same.
What the hell are you thinking, KTTV? Oh, money (she’s been at the station for 17 years). Right.
(T: Really, M?! She’s been the FOX affiliate entertainment reporter for 17 years!)
(M: You know in the AM, if I want news, I watch CNN or listen to KCRW. You’ll never catch me watching Fox AM news)
(T: Just to be clear, it’s not FOX News…just the local network affiliate. Don’t want anyone out there to think I’m watching the FOX News Channel. Kill me before that ever happens.)
(M: I knew exactly what you mean. It’s still not news.)
T: This is what it’s like when the season is basically over. Unless you want to see the penultimate ep of Dancing With the Stars, I’ve got nothing but a little late night for you.
Late Night Round Up: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has a personal fave of mine, Lisa Marie Presley. Yeah, she’s a little odd, but wouldn’t we all be growing up the way she did? Her new music sounds promising (and she looked GREAT at the Billboard Awards last night!).
Jimmy Kimmel Live! has the always entertaining (as a guest and stand-up…her talk show…meh) Kathy Griffin. Gavin DeGraw is the musical guest and I just might need to head over to Hollywood to see this live. I love this dude. He gave one of the most memorable performances ever at the Hollywood Bowl a few years back. 11:35p, 12a.
Nurse Jackie hasn't crumbled and gone back to the drugs since they've been throwing everything at her... Unless you're talking about previous seasons, but I got the impression you were talking about this season.
T: Thanks for catching that! I just added an n’t to has! She most definitely has not. Bad typo on my part.
T: It’s almost not worth writing this because the end of the show made up for anything that may have been wrong and more. Sentimentality will get me EVERY time.
First sketch was The Lawrence Welk Show with Jon Hamm (he’s practically a cast member!). It was amusing enough. It was clear this was becoming Kristin Wiig’s swan song right off the bad. There are better LWS sketches, but this was a satisfying end to this era. Kristen trying to grab Hamm’s cock was amusing.
Mick Jagger’s monologue was whatever. He’s so scary looking. But I have to take back everything I said about him being a disaster on the show. He handled what they gave him pretty damn well. Doesn’t make me a fan. But I give the dude some props (yeah, the cue card reading has been all over the place this season—and this wasn’t a shining moment).
M: Disaster? This is fucking Mick Jagger! I think he was fine, considering he’s not an actor. I can think of a LOT of actors that did much worse. He had a lot of poise. TELL ME you don’t like the Rolling Stones. I dare you. What is wrong with you? Because you never listened to any decent classic rock, you are barred from commenting on these artists.
Secret Word was next and it was it’s usual awesome self. Kristen took it out on a high note here. And this was Mick’s highlight: a gay action movie star. I enjoyed this sketch a lot. (M - he was hilarious. This is a sketch I am usually sick of, but I thought tonight’s was really funny)
Big miss with the “Mick Jagger” karaoke sketch.
How nostalgic was Lazy Sunday 2? Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg are fantastic together. Love the mimosa focus. Perfect. If Andy is leaving, this was the way to go out. (M: Awesome. Was kind of hoping for another Natalie Portman cameo)
Politics Nation was horrific.
Can’t watch Jagger sing, so skipped the first (of what seemed like 10,000 performances) song. I get there were a shit-load of awesome musicians. Just can’t watch the dude sing. (M: To be fair, it wasn’t the best performance. Arcade Fire has a very specific sound that doesn’t blend well w/Mick, but I am excited for them that they got to perform with such an icon.)
Weekend Update was fine. I mean, they had Stefon. (M: In the darkest weeks, Weekend Update is the only consistently funny piece of the show)
So You Think You Can Dance Music Festival was…ok. Basically lame. But I will admit to being amused by Jagger doing a Steven Tyler impression.
(M: If T had EVER been to an actual music festival, he’d realize that this was SO dead on. The dancers were hilarious — I have seen each & every one of them at every music festival I’ve attended, with the exception of KROQ’s Weenie Roast & Lilith Fair. Jewel was unnecessary, but agree that Mick doing Tyler was funny, even if only barely executed).
2nd musical number. Snooze. (M: Totally disagree - I thought it rocked.)
The Californians amuses me…but probably only because LA is my home. It’s beyond ridiculous. But it was nice to see Kristen do this one last time. For a NYC based show, they have LA down pat! And Steve Martin came home for a little cameo. Yay! (M: I know I’m in the minority, but I don’t find this sketch funny. There are occasional things that make me chuckle, like the constant driving directions, but it’s overrated.)
More Mick singing. Blah. (M: Yeah, Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck together is a big yawn. You make me ashamed to be your co-blogger when you say stuff like this.)
And now for the most magical thing of this season…and perhaps any season ever. What started as a graduation skit turned into a touching and loving goodbye to Kristen Wiig. Every current cast member came up to dance with her. And to see how emotional she was was just so lovely. She carved out a place in history on this classic show. And you can tell how loved she is. Particularly moving was Lorne Michaels coming out and dancing with her. The entire thing ended with everyone singing Goodbye Ruby Tuesday with Kristin front and center. Trying to top the awesomeness that just happened, and they did, here’s the list of former castmates and actors I picked out of the crowd: Chris Kattan, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Will Forte, Steve Martin, Chris Parnell, Jon Hamm. I’m sure I missed someone. (M: Agree - that was fabulous, although I would have liked Mick’s vocals to come through on Ruby Tuesday)
This was the most genuine sendoff I have ever seen. You could feel the emotion there in the studio. That magic studio that has produced some of the best artists of our time.