Monday, December 17, 2012

Man on Film: Bernie

It has grown pretty obvious that at this point I have gotten pretty bad at keep up with things around here. I've been far too inactive at Inconsiderate Prick, and I'm going to try to get caught up here in the next two weeks.

That means I might be spewing out some old Man on Film entries in an effort to get caught up on things. This is one of them.

I saw Bernie months ago. Richard Linklater's newest entry into the post-1990 indie cinema canon was a pleasant enough film. Unlike many films and television programs that focus their gaze on small-town America, Bernie actually treats its setting with a modicum of respect, finding a way to not condescend to small-town life. Sure, the events that transpire skew a bit towards the absurd, but Linklater doesn't use Bernie as a platform by which to treat small-town America with disdain. Instead, he infuses it with the appropriate amount of color while avoiding passing judgment altogether.

While Bernie presumably uses locals from the town in which the events are actually said to have taken place (a choice that has its plusses and minuses), what stands out about the film are the performances of Jack Black in the titular role and the actor who has perhaps had the most triumphant 2012 of anyone (more on that in the near future), Matthew McConaughey. As the four-string virtuoso Jeremy Steen has dubbed the age we now live in, the McConaussance is in full bloom, and his turn as the prosecuting attorney is just the tip of the iceberg. He is fucking fantastic, stealing the show at every opportunity he's given, dabbing his mouth with his tie and chewing on lines with the down-home sensibility he innately possesses. In a more surprising turn of events, Black is given the opportunity to spread his wings a bit, relishing a role with some flavor to it, and he actually nails it.

Is Bernie the greatest movie ever? Of course not. It's more than enough fun to queue up on Netflix, a platform on which it is available to stream, giving you an idea of just how behind I am around here. Nevertheless, there are worse ways to spend your time than watching Bernie. Have at it.

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