Ep 44: Weekend at Bernie’s

Lucy and Jenny discover that audacious comedy requires strong craft to hold it up. The people who put together this movie must have missed that memo. As a side note, this 44th episode of the podcast runs exactly 44 minutes and 44 seconds, completely without manipulation from us. We’re taking that as a sign that the Universe loves PopD. Good to know.

Get the podcast: [Listen here at PopD] | [Go to iTunes]

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: 2 Pops ~ I laughed out loud a lot in this movie, considering what an unholy mess the story was. A great lesson in what not to do with your protagonist. Don’t make him a lying ass and a wet blanket. Don’t make the best friend more interesting and fun and heroic. Do give him a goal, and a personality. Maybe they’ll bring back just Larry for another sequel. That movie, I’d watch.

Lucy’s rating breakdown: Structure: 1, Comedy: 3, BRomance: 2

Jenny says: 2 Pops ~ Some really funny physical comedy and even funnier character interpretation by Andrew McCarthy cannot disguise the fact that the structure in this story is about as consciously present here as Bernie is for most of it. You need a protagonist with a goal and an antagonist even if you are writing about dragging a dead guy around the Hamptons.

Jenny’s rating breakdown: Structure: 1, Comedy: 3, BRomance: 2

Blog Poll Rating: TBD

Read the Transcript!

Movie Info:

Story: Two guys have to keep up the pretense that their mob-murdered boss is alive.  Release Date: July 5, 1989.  Writer: Robert Klane


9 responses to “Ep 44: Weekend at Bernie’s”

  1. I didn’t laugh once. Apparently I just don’t find corpse abuse (or people being too stoopid to notice the smell or brown trousers) hi-larious. I was just bored and annoyed by everyone. Feh.

  2. I remember liking a lot of these better twenty years ago which either means I’ve gotten sharper or crankier.
    Dodgeball, however, is Good.

  3. I remember liking it more originally but then again I was in high school and much was funnier then. I did laugh out loud this time, too. The physical humor was good and some of Larry’s lines were great. I didn’t remember it begin so devoid of a story which is unfortunate in a ‘classic’.

    Along with the Jenny and Lucy’s more critical way of looking at each movie I’m asking myself what I’ve learned from each movie or what the silver lining is in case it was just a bad movie. What I learned from Weekend at Bernie’s, and the podcast, is that you can’t have your antagonist disappear for most of the movie. They have to be present and part of the conflict. And this was a good and timely reminder since I was getting ready to pull a m/s out from ‘under the bed’ and now I remember why I stopped working on it!

  4. I have to say, now that I’ve listened to the podcast (I listen at work on Mondays), I did like how L&J analyzed this one as to why it didn’t work. Mostly I was just thinking, “boring, I don’t like the lead, and I swear I’ve seen all of these corpse jokes before for the last 20 years.” Now I know why it didn’t work! Huzzah!

    You know what’s sad? I wasn’t that into Dodgeball either. I do like some guy comedies, honest… but my tastes run along the lines of Role Models and Talladega Nights, I guess.

  5. I looked for Dodgeball at the public libraries I have available, and there are a lot due to a great consortium that the state gov. is about to destroy. ahem. Anyway, over half of the copies of this film are unavailable, missing, or billed. Meaning either people really love this film and have stolen it from their library or the hate it and are trying to get it from being a holding in the library. I’m guessing the first because the rest of the copies are checked out. The few that are in are hours away and won’t arrive via Interlibrary loan by Friday. So, I may pop in for the pre-movie chat, but looks like I’ll miss Dodgeball, which is okay with me as I really don’t enjoy Ben Stiller’s performances.

  6. In the podcast there was talk about the pointlessness of the boat scene – I don’t even remember – was that because they were being chased? For some reason I don’t think so – but, and I guess this is my point – that if they did want to leave in some of these “little darling” scenes – go for it – but be sure to tie it in – it seems like that would have been easy enough in this case – have that guy from the mob actually trying to kill them AND Bernie – the old “they know too much” would be enough, really. I’m not asking for a lot. And, that would give them a protagonist, too. Bonus.

    Anyway, I might have been misremembering the movie – I kept drifting in and out of interest – but it’s particularly frustrating when the fix seems to be a matter of re-reading your story. I’m working on my first draft now and know there are flaws, but I keep going – with the promise to be brutal in the rewrite. And if I can’t bring myself to ax my own little darlings – by golly – I’ll be creative enough to make the story work if I do keep them.

  7. Yvonne, the boat scene would have been much improved if the Bad Guy had been chasing them, but wrecking all the boats in the harbor first would still have been dumb because it’s not about the conflict. Good solution for everything else, though.