bernie: a story so unbelievable it must be true

Small town East Texas — where blinking lights slow the pace of life, where the southern drawl stretches as long as the piney woods and where everybody knows everyone and everything.

I knew I was in the thick of East Texas on my trip to Longview, when I came across a highway sign having never heard of the three towns listed — towns I would miss if I happened to blink while driving.

My grandparents both grew up in East Texas, and to this day say things like, “You can’t have all your squirrels up one tree” because they definitely fried up a squirrel a time or two, I’m sure.

So in the spirit of East Texas, Brandy took me to see “Bernie.” A dark comedy that retells the true story of assistant funeral director, Bernie Tiede, who, in 1997, murdered a local widow and hid her body in the deep freeze under the shelled purple hull peas. Bernie, a beloved celebrity in Carthage, Texas, went to great lengths to pretend that old Mrs. Nugent was still alive. Throughout the film, real Carthage residents who knew Bernie and Mrs. Nugent provide the commentary for the gossip mill.

I don’t know if it’s because I watched this film in East Texas or if it was the cast of Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey (a former East Texas resident, himself), but “Bernie” was hilarious. For the true story, check out Skip Hollandsworth’s 1998 article in Texas Monthly.

And for all of us who had to make a relief map of Texas in elementary school or sat through Texas History in seventh grade, this clip is pure genius.


One response to “bernie: a story so unbelievable it must be true

  1. that clip of the map of texas was hilarious!! (also i may or may not have read that entire texas monthly article-what a crazy story!!

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