Celebrate Texas Independence Day With My Favorite Scene From Bernie!


Happy Texas Independence Day!

Down here in Dallas, we celebrate Texas Independence Day by going down to Dealy Plaza and laughing at all the northern tourists sweating and talking about how they’re about to faint because they can’t handle a 75 degreee day.

But, if that sounds a little bit too mean-spirited to you, you can celebrate by watching my favorite scene from Richard Linklater’s Bernie!  I know that I’ve probably shared this before but what can I say?  I really love this quick lesson about my home state:

By the way, that line about “Dallas snobs,” always got a big laugh from the audiences at the Dallas Angelika.  It’s important to have a sense of humor.

Don’t worry, Vermont.  You’ll learn how to laugh at yourself someday.

 

Lisa’s Homestate Reviews: Texas and Bernie


I recently realized something while I was working on my autobiography.  By the time I turned 12, I had really been around!

When I was growing up, my family moved around a lot.  By the time that my mom, my sisters, and I moved back to Texas for the final time, I had lived in a total of 6 states: Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Louisiana.  Whenever I’m asked which one of those six states was my favorite, I always say — without a moment of hesitation — Texas.  Don’t get me wrong — those other five states are all wonderful but I’m a Texas girl.  It’s where I was born, it’s where the majority of my family lives, and it’s where I attended and graduated from college.  I love traveling and I love seeing the world but, in my heart, I know that I’ll always return to Texas.

Unfortunately, the rest of America rarely seems to love my homestate as much as I do.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people — who have obviously never even been here! — consider themselves to be an expert on Texas.  They talk about George W. Bush.  They talk about the Kennedy assassination.  They talk about Rick Perry and Ted Cruz.  They talk about oil.  They talk about guns.  They talk about these things as if a state as huge and populous as Texas can be defined by only a few issues or citizens.  That may be true of a tiny state like Vermont but there’s a lot more variety to Texas than any outsider will ever be able to understand.

Movies rarely get Texas right.  I’ve lost count of the number of films that have tried to portray north Texas as being a desert or having mountains.  And don’t even get me started on how terrible most actors sound when they try to imitate our accent!  Fortunately, Texas has its own set of native filmmakers, true artists who are capable of making movies that both criticize and celebrate Texas without descending to the level of elitist caricature.  One of the best of them is Richard Linklater and 2012’s Bernie is one of his best films.

Bernie tells the true story of Bernie Tiede.  In 1996, Bernie (played, quite well, by Jack Black) was perhaps the most popular citizen of Carthage, Texas.  Along with being the leader of the church choir (which is always an important position in small town Texas), Bernie was also an assistant funeral director who was known for always saying exactly the right thing to a grieving family.  As a 38 year-old bachelor, Bernie was also the center of a lot of small town gossip, especially after he became the constant companion of the town’s richest (and, some would say, meanest) woman, 81 year-old Marge Nugent (played, in the film, by Shirley MacClaine).

When Bernie announces that Marge has had a stroke and is currently away in a hospital, the people of Carthage have no reason to doubt him.  Since Marge was usually such an unpleasant person to be around, most are just fine with not having to deal with her personally.  They’re even happier when Bernie suddenly starts to donate large sums of money to his neighbors, local businesses, and the church.

However, Marge’s accountant has his doubts about Bernie’s claims.  With the help of Marge’s previously estranged family, he convinces the local police to search Marge’s house.  That’s where they discover Marge’s body in a freezer, dead as a result of being shot four times in the back with an armadillo gun.  A tearful Bernie confesses to the murder, saying that Marge was just so mean to him that he eventually snapped.

District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson (played by a hilariously slick Matthew McConaughey) charges Bernie with first degree murder but soon discovers that — despite the fact that Bernie has confessed — it might not be so easy to get a conviction.  The people of Carthage may have hated Marge but, even more importantly, they absolutely loved Bernie.  Danny Buck is forced to file a motion to move the trial to nearby San Augustine County (which is, as the film correctly points out, the squirrel-hunting capitol of the world) and the citizens of Carthage wait to see if their most beloved citizen is convicted of murder.

Bernie was one of my favorite films of 2012 but I have to admit that, when it came to write this review, I was a little worried about rewatching it.  If there’s anything that often suffers upon repeat viewing, it’s quirkiness and Bernie is nothing if not quirky.  However, I’m happy to say that Bernie was just as effective on a second viewing as it was on the first.  Jack Black’s performance remains the best of his career and, in the role of Marge, Shirley MacClaine deftly brought to life a type that should be familiar to anyone who has ever lived in a small town.  When I first saw the film, it seemed like Matthew McConaughey occasionally went a bit overboard in the role of Danny Buck Davidson but, on a second viewing, it was obvious that, as flamboyantly as McConaughey played the role, he never allowed Danny Buck to become a caricature.  The film’s unique structure — which is made up of a combination of scenes with actors and interviews with the actual citizens of Carthage — also held up surprisingly well.  Those interviews are the key to the film’s success because, otherwise, it’s doubtful that anyone would believe that this story actually happened.

But ultimately, I think the reason that Bernie worked the first time I saw it and why it continued to work when I watched it again is because Richard Linklater is from Texas.  Can you imagine if an outsider had come down here and tried to make a movie out of the story of Bernie Tiede?  It probably would have ended up being one of the most condescending movies ever made, full of actors from up north trying to sound Texan.  And that would have been a shame because Bernie is a uniquely Texan story and, as such, it’s a story that could only be properly told by someone who knows the state.

Don’t get me wrong.  There’s definitely some pointed humor to be found in Bernie‘s portrayal of life in small town Texas.  The sequence where various citizens of Carthage are asked whether or not Bernie was gay (“That dog don’t hunt,” one woman says after explaining that Bernie couldn’t be gay because he led the church choir) is just one example.  But the difference between Linklater’s approach and the approach that one might expect from a non-Texan is that Linklater allows the citizens of Carthage to have their dignity even as he pokes some gentle fun at them.  As a native Texan, Linklater portrays our state — flaws and all — honestly, without any of the elitist posturing that we’ve come to expect from northern filmmakers.

And, as a result, Bernie is one of the best films ever made about both Texas and small town life.

As for the real life Bernie Tiede, he was released from prison in May of this year, under the condition that he live with Richard Linklater in Austin.

Bernie

Bernie and friends

Lisa Marie Picks The 50 Best Films of The Past 3 Years


Black-Swan_400

As of this month, I have been reviewing films here at the Shattered Lens for 3 years.  In honor of that anniversary, I thought I’d post my picks for the 50 best films that have been released in the U.S. since 2010.

Without further ado, here’s the list!

  1. Black Swan (directed by Darren Aronofsky)
  2. Exit Through The Gift Shop (directed by Banksy)
  3. Hanna (directed by Joe Wright)
  4. Fish Tank (directed by Andrea Arnold)
  5. Higher Ground (directed by Vera Farmiga)
  6. Shame (directed by Steve McQueen)
  7. Anna Karenina (directed by Joe Wright)
  8. The Cabin In The Woods (directed by Drew Goddard)
  9. 127 Hours (directed by Danny Boyle)
  10. Somewhere (directed by Sofia Coppola)
  11. Life of Pi (directed by Ang Lee)
  12. Hugo (directed by Martin Scorsese)
  13. Inception (directed by Christopher Nolan)
  14. Animal Kingdom (directed by David Michod)
  15. Winter’s Bone (directed by Debra Granik)
  16. The Artist (directed by Michel Hazanavicius)
  17. The Guard (directed by John Michael McDonagh)
  18. Bernie (directed by Richard Linklater)
  19. The King’s Speech (directed by Tom Hooper)
  20. Bridesmaids (directed by Paul Feig)
  21. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (directed by Thomas Alfredson)
  22. Django Unchained (directed by Quentin Tarantino)
  23. Never Let Me Go (directed by Mark Romanek)
  24. Toy Story 3 (directed by Lee Unkrich)
  25. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (directed by Niels Arden Oplev)
  26. Young Adult (directed by Jason Reitman)
  27. Sucker Punch (directed by Zack Snyder)
  28. The Master (directed by Paul Thomas Anderson)
  29. Incendies (directed by Denis Villeneuve)
  30. Melancholia (directed by Lars Von Trier)
  31. Super (directed by James Gunn)
  32. Silver Linings Playbook (directed by David O. Russell)
  33. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (directed by Edgar Wright)
  34. The Last Exorcism (directed by Daniel Stamm)
  35. Skyfall (directed by Sam Mendes)
  36. Easy A (directed by Will Gluck)
  37. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 (directed by David Yates)
  38. The Avengers (directed by Joss Whedon)
  39. How To Train Your Dragon (directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBois)
  40. Win Win (directed by Thomas McCarthy)
  41. Les Miserables (directed by Tom Hooper)
  42. Take This Waltz (directed by Sarah Polley)
  43. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (directed by Werner Herzog)
  44. Rust and Bone (directed by Jacques Audiard)
  45. Cosmopolis (directed by David Cronenberg)
  46. Ruby Sparks (directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valarie Faris)
  47. Brave (directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman)
  48. Martha Marcy May Marlene (directed by Sean Durkin)
  49. Jane Eyre (directed by Cary Fukunaga)
  50. Damsels in Distress (directed by Whit Stillman)

What If Lisa Marie Determined The Oscar Nominees…


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced this week, now seems like a good time to indulge in something I like to call “If Lisa Marie Had All The Power.”  Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations.  Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated.  The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not.  Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year.  Winners are listed in bold.

For those who are interested, you can check out my picks for 2010 by clicking on this sentence.

Meanwhile, my picks for last year can be seen by clicking on this sentence.

Best Picture

Best Picture

Anna Karenina

The Avengers

Bernie

The Cabin In The Woods

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

The Master

Silver Linings Playbook

Skyfall

Ang Lee

Best Director

Drew Goddard for The Cabin In The Woods

Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Richard Linklater for Bernie

Quinton Tarantino for Django Unchained

Joe Wright for Anna Karenina

master-trailer-joaquin-phoenix

Best Actor

Jack Black in Bernie

Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln

Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe.

Joaquin Phoenix in The Master

michelle-williams-take-this-waltz-trailer

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone

Greta Gerwig in Damsels in Distress

Kiera Knightley in Anna Karenina

Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

Michelle Williams in Take This Waltz

django-jackson

Best Supporting Actor

Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master

Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained

Sam Rockwell in Seven Psychopaths

Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

Zoe-Kazan-in-Ruby-Sparks-e1348740167495

Best Supporting Actress

Rebecca De Mornay in Mother’s Day

Dame Judi Dench in Skyfall

Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables

Zoe Kazan in Ruby Sparks

Sarah Silverman in Take This Waltz

cabininthewoods_4

Best Original Screenplay

The Cabin In The Woods

Django Unchained

The Master

Ruby Sparks

Take This Waltz

Bernie Bearing Gifts

Best Adapted Screenplay

Anna Karenina

Argo

Bernie

Life of Pi

Silver Linings Playbook

"BRAVE"

Best Feature-Length Animated Film

Brave

Frankenweenie

Paranorman

Pirates!  Band of Misfits

Wreck-It Ralph

rustboen21

Best Foreign Language Film

Barbara

Headhunters

The Raid: Redemption

A Royal Affair

Rust and Bone

Ai Weiwei never sorry film

Best Documentary Feature

Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry

The Central Park Five

First Position

The Queen of Versailles

2016: Obama’s America

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Best Original Score

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Brave

The Dark Knight Rises

For Greater Glory

The Master

the-raid-redemption-trailer_450x254

Best Original Song

“For You” from Act of Valor

“Yo No Se” from Casa De Mi Padre

“The Sambola! International Dance Craze” from Damsels in Distress

“Ancora Qui” from Django Unchained

“Abraham’s Daughter” from The Hunger Games

“The Baddest Man Alive” from The Man With The Iron Fists

“Razor’s Out” from The Raid: Redemption

“Big Machine” from Safety Not Guaranteed

“Skyfall” from Skyfall

“Anything Made Out of Paper” from West of Memphis

Les Miserables 

Best Sound Editing

Chronicle

The Dark Knight Rises

End of Watch

Les Miserables

Skyfall

Les Miserables2

Best Sound Mixing

Chronicle

End of Watch

Killing Them Softly

Les Miserables

Skyfall

Anna Karenina

Best Art Direction

Anna Karenina

The Avengers

The Cabin In The Woods

Cosmopolis

Les Miserables

Skyfall

Best Cinematography

The Hobbit

Lawless

Life of Pi

Moonrise Kingdom

Skyfall

looper

Best Makeup

The Hobbit

The Hunger Games

Les Miserables

Lincoln

Looper

wesandersonmoonrisekingdom

Best Costume Design

Anna Karenina

Django Unchained

The Hunger Games

Lincoln

Moonrise Kingdom

django-unchained-2

Best Film Editing

Anna Karenina

The Cabin In The Woods

Django Unchained

The Master

Silent House

Life of Pi

Best Visual Effects

The Avengers

The Dark Knight Rises

Life of Pi

Looper

Men In Black 3

List of Films By Number of Nominations

8 Nominations — Django Unchained

7 Nominations — Anna Karenina

6 Nominations — Les Miserables, Life of Pi, The Master, Skyfall

5 Nominations — The Cabin In The Woods, Silver Linings Playbook

4 Nominations — Bernie

3 Nominations — The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, The Hunger Games, Lincoln, Take This Waltz

2 Nominations — Brave, Chronicle, Damsels in Distress, End of Watch, Moonrise Kingdom, The Raid: Redemption, Ruby Sparks, Rust and Bone

1 Nomination —Act of Valor, Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry, Argo, Barbara,  Beasts of the Southern Wild, Casa De Mi Padre, The Central Park Five, Cosmopolis, First Position, For Greater Glory, Frankenweenie, Headhunters, Killer Joe, Killing Them Softly, Lawless, Looper, The Man With The Iron Fists, Men In Black 3, Mother’s Day, The Pirates! Band of Misfits , The Queen of Versailles, A Royal Affair, Safety Not Guaranteed, Seven Psychopaths, Silent House, 2016: Obama’s America, West of Memphis, Wreck-It Ralph

List of Films By Oscars Won

2 Oscars — Anna Karenina, Brave, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi

1 Oscar — Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry, Bernie, The Cabin In the Woods, Looper, The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, The Raid: Redemption, Ruby Sparks, Rust and Bone, Skyfall, Take This Waltz

Lisa Marie Picks The Best 26 Films of 2012


Anna Karenina Movie

Without further ado, here are my picks for the 26 best films of 2012!

  1. Anna Karenina
  2. The Cabin In The Woods
  3. Life of Pi
  4. Bernie
  5. Django Unchained
  6. The Master
  7. Silver Linings Playbook
  8. Skyfall
  9. The Avengers
  10. Les Miserables
  11. Take This Waltz
  12. Rust and Bone
  13. Cosmopolis
  14. Ruby Sparks
  15. Brave
  16. Damsels in Distress
  17. The Hobbit
  18. Lincoln
  19. Argo
  20. Looper
  21. Moonrise Kingdom
  22. The Hunger Games
  23. Sinister
  24. Silent House
  25. Mother’s Day
  26. The House AT The End of the Street

House-at-the-End-of-the-Street

I Got Your Golden Globes Right Here…


We’re halfway through Oscar season and that means that it’s time for the Golden Globes to weigh in.  To be honest, I think the Golden Globes are somewhat overrated as an Oscar precursor.  For the most part, the Golden Globes usually honors the films that are on everyone’s radar and then they come up with one or two nominations that nobody was expecting.  However, those surprise nominations rarely seem to translate into anything once it comes to time to announce the Oscar nominations.

So, while Salmon Fishing In The Yemen did receive a few surprise nominations (and those nominations were deserved, by the way), I doubt that we’ll see the movie mentioned on January 10th when the Oscar nominations are announced.

From the reaction that I’ve seen on the usual awards sites,  a lot of the usual suspects are upset that Beasts of the Southern Wild was completely snubbed.  Actually, they’re not just upset.  They’re about as outraged about this as they were when The Social Network lost best picture to King’s Speech.  The way they’re carrying on, you would think that someone had just informed them that David Fincher’s version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was a thoroughly unneccessary rehash of an already brilliant film.  Seriously, the facade of Stone has fallen and tears are being shed.

Myself, I’m more annoyed that neither The Cabin In The Woods nor Anna Karenina are getting the love that they deserve.

Anyway, with all that in mind, here are the Golden Globe nominations!

BEST DRAMA
“Argo”
“Django Unchained”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST DRAMA ACTOR
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Richard Gere, “Arbitrage”
John Hawkes, “The Sessions”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Denzel Washington, “Flight”

BEST DRAMA ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone”
Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock”
Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”
Rachel Weisz, “The Deep Blue Sea”

BEST COMEDY/MUSICAL PICTURE
“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
“Les Miserables”
“Moonrise Kingdom”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”

BEST COMEDY/MUSICAL ACTOR
Jack Black, “Bernie”
Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook,”
Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
Ewan McGregor, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
Bill Murray, “Hyde Park on Hudson”

BEST COMEDY/MUSICAL ACTRESS
Emily Blunt, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Judi Dench, “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
Maggie Smith, “Quartet”
Meryl Streep, “Hope Springs”

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR 
Alan Arkin, “Argo”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Django Unchained”
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”
Amy Adams, “The Master”
Sally Field, “Lincoln”
Nicole Kidman, “The Paperboy”

BEST DIRECTOR
Ben Affleck, “Argo”
Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”
Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST SCREENPLAY
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Argo”
“Django Unchained”
“Zero Dark Thirty”
“Lincoln”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
“Anna Karenina”
“Life of Pi”
“Argo”
“Lincoln”
“Cloud Atlas”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“For You” from “Act of Valor”
Music by: Monty Powell, Keith Urban Lyrics by: Monty Powell, Keith Urban

“Not Running Anymore” from “Stand Up Guys”
Music by: Jon Bon Jovi Lyrics by: Jon Bon Jovi

“Safe and Sound” from “The Hunger Games”
Music by: Taylor Swift, John Paul White, Joy Williams, T Bone Burnett Lyrics by: Taylor Swift, John Paul White, Joy Williams, T Bone Burnett

“Skyfall” form “Skyfall”
Music by: Adele, Paul Epworth Lyrics by: Adele, Paul Epworth

“Suddenly” from “Les Miserables”
Music by: Claude-Michel Schonberg Lyrics by: Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg

BEST ANIMATED FILM 
“Brave”
“Frankenweenie”
“Wreck-it Ralph”
“Rise of the Guardians”
“Hotel Transylvania”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM 
“The Intouchables”
“Amour”
“A Royal Affair”
“Rust and Bone”
“Kon-Tiki”

The National Board of Review Honors Zero Dark Thirty


Oscar season continues!  Just a few hours ago, the National Board of Review announced their picks for the best of 2012.  Like the New York Film Critics Circle, the NBR named Zero Dark Thirty the best film of 2012 and Kathryn Bigelow best director.

I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty so I can’t judge whether it’s truly a great film or not.  However, to be perfectly honest, I sincerely hope that it doesn’t win every single critics’ award out there because, seriously, that would be sooooooooooo boring!  I mean, I know that all of you establishment film critics love to jump on the bandwagon but seriously, variety is the spice of life!

As much as I wish that the NBR had kept things interesting by choosing some out-of-nowhere pick for best picture, I am happy to see that they honored Bradley Cooper for his excellent work in Silver Linings Playbook.

Along with naming Zero Dark Thirty as best picture, the NBR also listed the 9 runner-ups.  It’s interesting to note that The Dark Knight Rises does not appear anywhere on that list.

On a personal note, I’ll be posting my own picks for the best of 2012 during the first week of January and, trust me, my picks are going to be a lot more interesting than anything you’re going to get from the National Board of Review.

BEST PICTURE
“Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST DIRECTOR
Kathryn Bigelow (“”Zero Dark Thirty””)

BEST ACTOR
Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook”)

BEST ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Leonardo DiCaprio (“Django Unchained”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Ann Dowd (“Compliance”)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Rian Johnson (“Looper”)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”)

BEST ENSEMBLE
“Les Miserables”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Wreck-It-Ralph”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM 
“Amour”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Searching for Sugar Man”

SPOTLIGHT AWARD
John Goodman

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCES
Tom Holland (“The Impossible”)
Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”)

DEBUT DIRECTOR
Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”)

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT 
Ben Affleck (“Argo”)

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
“Central Park Five”
“Promised Land”

 

 

BEST PICTURE NOMINEES (alphabetical)
“Argo”
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Django Unchained”
“Les Miserables”
“Lincoln”
“Looper”
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
“Promised Land”
“Silver Linings Playbook”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE NOMINEES (alphabetical)
“Barbara”
“The Intouchables”
“The Kid with a Bike”
“No”
“War Witch”

BEST DOCUMENTARY NOMINEES (alphabetical)
“Al Weiwei”
“Detropia”
“The Gatekeepers”
“The Invisible War”
“Only the Young”

BEST INDEPENDENT FILMS (alphabetical)
“Arbitrage”
“Bernie”
“Compliance”
“End of Watch”
“Hello, I Must Be Going”
“Little Birds”
“Moonrise Kingdom”
“On the Road”
“Quartet”
“Sleepwalk with Me”