IGNORED BECAUSE: It’s a perfectly detailed black comedy about a gay church choir director/mortician (Jack Black) in small-town East Texas who murders a mean old rich lady (Shirley MacLaine) and hides her body in a freezer. That he remains a local hero, beloved to this day (it’s a true story, all of it, largely unchanged in the translation to film), was obviously confusing to Academy members who need clear-cut depictions of good and evil.
REASON YOU SHOULD SEE IT: Director Richard Linklater so expertly fuses reality and fiction that it’s impossible to know which supporting cast members are actors and which ones are the real townspeople simply playing themselves. Black, MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey (as a district attorney fighting an uphill battle to convict) each deserved much more recognition than they got for their pitch-perfect performances.
AVOID IF: You have a Jack Black problem. You’re not wrong for having a Jack Black problem (see: Gulliver’s Travels – just kidding, don’t). But if you were open to the possibility of abandoning your Jack Black problem then this would be the film to help you do it. He’s that good. But yeah, it’s all Jack Black all the time here.
WHERE TO FIND IT: On DVD and On Demand