Bernie, starring Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, Shirley Maclaine


Finally got around to watching this on Netflix streaming. While watching the Richard Linklater film, I was frankly underwhelmed, but by the time the end credits rolled around the film’s charm had snuck up on me.

I am a huge fan of Linklater’s Before Sunrise trilogy, School of Rock, and have enjoyed his other films. I remember the marketing campaign for this film positioning this film as true life crime dramedy. There are comedic aspects that help the film along, but it never really went beyond some amusing scenes. Matthew McConaughey as the town sherriff probably provided the closest thing to comedy, playing a publicity-seeking narcissist who somehow is about the only person in the film who keeps Bernie’s crime in perspective. Jack Black’s performance is one-note, and made me wonder why Linklater and some other directors (such as David O. Russell with Jennifer Lawrence) keep on going back to the same actors even though they may or may not be right for that movie or part.

But when the final credits rolled, and we get to see the real life Bernie, Jack’s performance seemed appropriate for the film. The film is not really about Bernie, his crime, his inner demons, or whether or not he did it or why. The thesis of the film can be summed up in one of the townsfolk’s on-camera interviews that are interspersed throughout the film: “People in small towns want to believe the worst in people. But they also want to believe in the best in people.” Once the final credits rolled, and I was finally certain that the townspeople talking about Bernie in the film were the real people, then the point of the film became clear to me, and its faults didn’t matter as much. Perhaps the film’s title is misleading, as it is not really about Bernie, but how people who knew Bernie felt about him.

This won’t go down as one of Linklater’s best, but it’s definitely worth a viewing.

My netflix rating: 3 out of 5 stars

My imdb rating: 7 out of 10


Titles that are gone from Netflix December 1

So I have roughly 400 titles in my Netflix Instant queue. Right now I see three titles that will no longer be on the service as of December 1. (I think this means you can watch it on November 30 but it will disappear on the 1st).

Sexy Beast (2000) is a film I had seen in the theater way back when. I remember liking the performances more than the movie. Ben Kingsley is INSANE in what is actually a supporting role. Ray Winstone’s understated performance is a perfect counterbalance to Kingsley’s intensity. Ian McShane is on the poster above, but frankly I don’t remember much about his performance. This was in my queue because 12 years between viewings is enough for me to make it seem like a whole new movie. With the busy holidays, I may or may not get to viewing this title. If you’ve never seen it, it’s definitely worth catching before it goes.

Jake’s Closet (2007) I’m pretty sure this is only in my queue because the Mrs. likes horror flicks. I know nothing about it. The Netflix reviews make me laugh. A few people mention, in time-honored Netflix tradition, how the Netflix description in no way resembles the movie. So I’m probably going to let this one fade away.

Sister My Sister (1994) I put this in my queue because I have memories of Siskel and Ebert reviewing this film back in ’94. I remember one of them hating it and another liking it, but that was the case for a lot of films for those two. I’ve never got the nerve to watch it because of the subject matter, but I may finally take a chance on it.

I’ll keep an eye out for other titles leaving and post as I become aware of them.

‘Anyone throwing American footballs will be ejected from the cinema’ – The Room, Prince Charles Cinema

Rant! Rave! Relax.

You just know it’s going to be a good night when that’s up on the screen don’t you? And it was.

This is part recommendation, part review, part attempt to make sense of one of the most bizarre and entertaining evenings of film I have ever witnessed.

First the basics. There’s this film called The Room. It’s hands down the worst film I have ever seen. Ostensibly a romantic drama, it’s so poorly executed it has been retrospectively labelled as a black comedy by writer, director and ‘star’ Tommy Wiseau, even though that’s clearly bollocks.

Words can’t describe how bad this film actually is as a film, so here’s the actual official trailer:

There are more gems like that all over Youtube, check them out.

Even this brief glimpse of the film gives you a fairly strong idea of the level of acting, dialogue, plot and set design you’re in…

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Best Worst Movie

So my first review of an Netflix Instant movie will be an example of why streaming is a great thing. I personally still see movies in the theater. If I don’t see a movie in the theater, I am at least aware of those movies that I missed in the theater and make sure to see them later via Netflix’s DVD service or streaming. The great thing about streaming is that you will come across little gems like Best Worst Movie, something that was not on my radar because it’s too small of a movie.

Kind of like the movie it’s about. Troll 2 is a cult classic. Of course, like many cult classics, it is a god-awful movie, with god-awful acting, and a plot that struggles for coherence. Best Worst Movie is a documentary about the movie’s cult following, the creators and actors of the movie, and the story behind the “story” of T2. It’s directed by the child star of T2 himself Michael Stephenson, who is well aware of how bad the movie is. The director, however, is completely unaware of how bad this movie is. This creates some of the best, but most tense, scenes in this documentary. George Hardy the adult star of the film, is such a likable guy he makes this worth watching alone.

Personally, I think The Room is the best worst movie of all time. But I suppose it’s debatable, and comes down to personal preference. I have seen T2, and really appreciated its awfulness. This made Best Worst Movie an enjoyable movie for sure. I think if you haven’t seen Troll 2, first of all, shame on you, and second of all, if you happen to watch Best Worst Movie first, I still think you will enjoy it. But I think the best way to see this movie is to watch Troll 2 first (which ironically is now only available on Amazon; I am sure I watched Troll 2 on Netflix just a year or so ago), then take a week to recover from that experience, and then watch Best Worst Movie.

IMDB Rating: 8/10
Netflix Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Starting this off with a very specific subject. Reviews of things I watch on Netflix streaming, posts on new movies or TV Shows that are added to streaming, as well as notifications of titles that are leaving the service for one reason or another. I hope that this information will be useful to someone, somewhere. Thanks!