I love going to the movies, but because life has been so crazy lately, the last one I had seen was The Hunger Games! As soon as Ally mentioned making the trip tonight, I was in. I didn’t even take the time to look up what the plot of the movie was. All we needed was a simple recommendation plus dollar popcorn.
The movie? Bernie.
As soon as we walked into the theater, I knew we were in for a treat. The average age in there was 50+. The movie is based on a true story, which becomes more unbelievable as it progresses. Set in the small east Texas town of Carthage circa 1997, the movie has a documentary feel. The majority of the cast are just every day Carthage-ites, answering questions about the town’s former Assistant Funeral Director, Bernie.
Bernie was a selfless friend to everyone, taking special care of the widows after performing their husbands’ funerals. The story itself is crazy, and I won’t spoil anything here. I was able to dig up a couple of original news articles, published when the story broke: one from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, and one from the Amarillo Globe-News. But read with caution in case you decide to see it!
It’s hard to top an interactive audience, complete with full-out appropriately timed bursts of laughter, and intermittent gasps of shock. Still, my favorite part was the way the movie perfectly captured east-Texas life! It was flawless. Remember this post I wrote months ago about life in the country? Carthage is smaller, further east, and even deeper “behind the pine curtain.”
The interviews were priceless. There were rhinestones on glasses, cigarettes in [every] hand, unnaturally deep voices from those cigarettes, big hair, hymnals in the pews, Lone Star beer, strong opinions about “the rest of Texas,” cowboy hats on desks, slow and steady speech, gossips, and plenty of pine trees. Even five minutes in, I knew I was watching my life.
To anyone who sees it, please pay special attention to the jury in the final scene. They nailed it.
I was grinning through the whole movie. Maybe it’s because every third movie is set in New York City, and those stories are so far removed from the rest of my life I can never relate. But east Texas is home these days. My whole life has been somewhere in this state, and I grew up attending plenty of entertaining family reunions in small-town east Texas, not too different from Carthage.
After the final credits, a man in the front laughed heartily and yelled out, “Yeah, Bernie sang at my grandfather’s funeral! My grandmother still to this day says Bernie is the nicest man in the world!”
Country life rocks.