Tag Archives: Bernie

Best Film of 2014 For Your Queue

The best film of 2014, Boyhood, releases today for home entertainment. See it! Do it! Director Richard Linklater’s meandering auteurism has led him to this culminating effort, a low key slice of life – but a really, really big slice. Filmed over 12 years, Linklater’s work captures something absolutely unique yet entirely recognizable as it journeys through one boy’s entire young life. A master of the small moment and a genius of collaboration, Linklater draws the best from his game cast and reimagines cinema as he does it.

This great American director’s career is littered with underseen gems, but the one you really need to find is Bernie. Jack Black – who was letter perfect in Linklater’s wonderful School of Rock – excels in this true-crime comedy/drama. Black plays the titular Bernie, the nicest, most beloved guy in town, who happens to also be a murderer. Linklater’s laid back approach and liberal use of non-actors gives the film an off kilter likeability that perfectly supports Black’s genius turn.


Countdown: Proof Positive Matthew McConaughey Has Talent

Aside from the very rare exception, Matthew McConaughey spent the first twenty years of his career proving to us that he looked nice without a shirt. Talent shmalent. Then suddenly, the king of the romantic comedy finally gave up his throne and began acting, and here’s the nutty thing:  he’s damn good. Need proof? Read on, as we list the evidence.

10. Frailty (2001)

Spooky, languid, eerily observant, McConaughey’s performance in this underseen horror gem sets a great tone for the surprises in store.


9. The Paperboy (2012)

In a film this over-the-top, McConaughey anchors the insanity with an understated turn as a conflicted, good man.


8. Bernie (2011)

Jack Black is the reason to see this incredible film, but McConaughey’s turn as the baffled lawman and the film’s voice of reason is a winner as well.


7. Lone Star (1996)

Not yet Hollywood’s go-to for rom-com, McConaughey impressed everyone as Buddy Deeds, the legendary lawman-in-flashback in John Sayles’s Texan mystery.

6. Tropic Thunder (2008)

Here was our first reminder in more than a decade that McConaughey could act, not to mention poke fun at himself. With that insane hair and a little lip gloss, his Hollywood agent was the stuff of dreams. “Tivo!”

5. Dazed and Confused (1993)

No matter how much you hated Matthew McConaughey by, say, 2005, you had to admit that you loved him in his early-career turnin Dazed and Confused. That performance as Wooderson, the sleazy older dude still hitting on high school girls, was just about perfect.

4. Mud (2012)

By the time Mud came out, we’d grown used to the new and improved McConaughey, a flexible talent who still managed to put his own stamp on every new and fascinating role. Here he blends childlike wildness with wily survival instincts for a piece of beautiful storytelling.


3. Magic Mike (2012)

Yes, this movie blows, but it is so worth watching because of McConaughey’s positively unhinged and magnificent performance as the aging stripper-turned-entrepreneur.

2. Killer Joe (2011)

Holy shit. This movie – a kick-ass comeback for director William Friedkin – is so nuts, so dark, so Texan, that no one could possible shoulder the title role but McConaughey. Huge props to the entire balance of the cast, but just try to take your eyes off McConaughey.


1. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

McConaughey may finally get the Oscar nomination he deserved at least twice in the last two years for his turn as the hard living Texan who finds himself victim of HIV and the medical industrial complex. A searingly human portrait, the performance is the best of what is becoming – at long last – a monster career.

For Your Queue: a Hot Mess and a Friendly Killer


By Hope and George


Available for rental, on demand and streaming this week is co-writer/director Lee Daniels’s hot, pulpy mess, The Paperboy.

It’s a swampy South Floriday summer in 1969 when Miami newsman Ward Janson (Matthew McConaughey) returns home to investigate the imprisonment of Mr. Hillary Van Wetter (a wildly miscast John Cusack). He’s been led to the story by Hillary’s penpal/fiancé Charlotte Bless (a fascinating Nicole Kidman), so he enlists the help of his younger brother Jack (Zac Effron), and digs in over the long, hot summer.

The Paperboy is a lurid celebration of tabloid trash. This crew of sleuths teems with sexual tensions of every sort – racially charged, homoerotic, sadomasochistic, Oedipal – you name it. There’s also some story or other, however loosely articulated, but the point is that these people are freaks and Daniels is ready to get freaky.

The film is fairly tasteless and sometimes needlessly shocking, but it is never less than fascinating, and sometimes that’s victory enough.

For a remarkably different, even charming, small town crime tale co-starring 2012’s hardest working actor McConaughey, slip Bernie into your queue.

Though McConaughey impresses with his supporting role as a small town Texas sheriff, Bernie is Jack Black’s show. From the opening scene, Black is mesmerizing in director Richard Linklater’s surprisingly sunny adaptation of a true crime story involving a local mortician (Black) charged with the murder of a wealthy widow (Shirley McLaine). Criminally underseen, Bernie is more than worth a look.