There was a bit of a scandal in Carthage, TX, back in 1996. You see, there was a 38-year old funeral director named Bernie Tiede who would keep company with the 81-year-old millionaire widow Marjorie Nugent. He was a fairly likable guy, apparently. The thing is, he is currently in prison, and can plan to stay there for the rest of his life. Why? Well, Mr. Tiede took it into his head to kill Ms. Nugent, shooting her in the back four times. Adding to the hubbub is the fact that a search of Tiede's home unearthed several videotapes of Bernie engaging in homosexual acts (remember that this is East Texas, where a more open understanding of alternate sexualities probably isn't as common as it should be).
This is a true story. This really happened. So, naturally, unwilling to let such a ripe narrative go to waste, the Powers-That-Be decided that Tiede's story must be turned into a movie. And so it was written, and so it was done.
Village 8 Louisville Exclusives presents a limited run of the aptly titled film “Bernie,” which tells the story related above. The film is helmed by Richard Linklater (“School of Rock,” “Waking Life,” “Dazed and Confused”) and stars Jack Black as Bernie, Shirley MacLaine as the widow Nugent and Matthew McConaughey as the district attorney Danny Buck Davidson.
It's probably not too surprising that the film has garnered a bit of controversy in the town of Carthage, where the story took place. Many of the residents have expressed disgust at such a serious matter being treated so lightly. The real-life Danny Davidson is reported to have said, “You can't make a dark comedy out of a murder” (clearly indicating that he has never seen a Coen Brothers movie, which makes me feel sad for him).
“Bernie” plays at Village 8 Theater until this Thursday, June 21. Village 8 is located at 4014 Dutchmans Lane. Further theater information and showtimes can be found at the Village 8 website.
Image: Internet Movie Database