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Matthew McConaughey’s Abs Freed Bernie The Murderer So He Can Go Live With Richard Linklater


Convicted murderer Bernie Tiede, the subject of Richard Linklater’s 2011 film Bernie, has been released by a Texas judge…into the custody of Richard Linklater. Huh?  And it’s all because the D.A., played by Matthew McConaughey — not just McConaughey’s abs! — on the silver screen—has had a change of heart.


Bernie Tiede, the former East Texas mortician whose 1996 killing of a rich widow inspired Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater’s 2012 dark comedy, “Bernie,” is free on bond, after the district attorney who prosecuted him agreed Tuesday to let him out of a life sentence.

[…]Visiting Panola County Judge Diane DeVasto agreed to let Tiede live with Linklater, recommended a reduction in Tiede’s sentence and set bond at $10,000 Tuesday. Jail records show Tiede was released on bond Tuesday afternoon.

Yes, the director of Bernie, Richard Linklater, is now helping the real-life Bernie rebuild his life by providing an Austin garage apartment at Linklater’s place and, presumably, some ridiculous tacos from somewhere off Rainey Street. Seems like a good guy, that Richard Linklater.

So yay, Nice Time! Third-party advocacy leads to justice being done, hooray! But this is one of those Nice Times that also make you go, “Huh, wonder if that could ever happen to Mumia,” and the answer to that is NOPE, DON’T BE STUPID, STUPID.

Anyway, the actual murder is still the craziest part of this story, so if you haven’t seen the movie, SPOILER ALERT.

[Bernie] Tiede met Nugent in 1990 at the funeral of her husband R.L. “Rod” Nugent, who had made his fortune in oil and banking. The two grew close, taking trips around the world. Nugent signed a will leaving her estimated $10 million fortune to Tiede.

Tiede was 38 years old in November 1996 when he shot Nugent in the back four times with a .22-caliber rifle.

Tiede then became known around town for his generosity. Townspeople have said he started scholarships, pledged money to a church building campaign and ran a fundraising drive for Boy Scouts. He also gave away large gifts, including several cars.

Her corpse was found nine months later in a freezer at her Carthage home, wrapped in a sheet lying among packages of frozen corn, pecans and meat. Tiede admitted to the murder to police in August 1997.

Bernie’s story is also important in the Tale of Matthew McConaughey, Serious Actor. Matthew McConaughey is now an Oscar winner, but just a few short years ago, it was easy to write him off as that rom-com guy who always had his shirt offa male Jennifer Aniston, if you will, only without all the judgement about his personal life. In Bernie, McConaughey plays District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson, a smooth-talking East Texan who’s facing a potentially tough reelection. Then along comes this murder committed by a character played by Jack Black, and in that tragedy, Danny Buck discovers a new way to look tough on crime and keep his job.

Now that McConaughey has a pretty statuette on his mantle, everyone thinks he’s a great actor. But Bernie marked the first time since Dazed and Confused (also a Linklater film) that McConaughey hung up the six-pack and put on his acting pants. Oh, and Jack Black’s really good in it too, and he sings, and did we mention that Shirley MacLaine plays the widow who gets whacked?


Seriously, go watch “Bernie,” it’s on Netflix.

[Austin American-Statesman]

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