Monthly Archives: July 2012

Watch for BERNIE (twice upgraded)

 

I guess I must have been simply naïve when I concluded, after seeing and flipping out over Richard Linklater’s The Newton Boys 14 years ago, that everyone else would like it as much as I did. But frankly, I’m even more bewildered by the critical coolness being shown now in some quarters towards Bernie, a masterpiece which might be regarded as a kind of companion piece to The Newton Boys, only one that runs still deeper and is in some ways even more accessible: another edifying film about locals from a part of East Texas that Linklater obviously knows like the back of his hand and deeply cherishes, and another one that ponders the notion of justifiable or defensible crime without ever deserting a sturdy moral code.

The writing (by Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth, whose non-fiction article, which first appeared when The Newton Boys was in post-production, inspired the movie) is so good that the humor can’t be reduced to simple satire; a whole community winds up speaking through the film, and it has a lot to say. In fact, it’s hard to think of many other celebrations of small-town American life that are quite as rich, as warm, and as complexly layered, at least within recent years.… Read more »