It was one of the worst reviewed comedies in memory, but Weekend at Bernie’s, where Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman lug a dead guy around and pretend he’s still alive, became a cult classic.
To this day, people still parody it, and one of the funniest Bernie goofs I saw on the ‘Net was Hugh Hefner wearing a captain’s hat and mirrored shades surrounded by his Steford bimbos with the caption, “Weekend at Hef’s.”
So in a case of life imitating art, two guys in Denver recently found one of their friends dead, and took him out for a night on the town.
As ABC News reports, they took him around for “diners, bar hopping, burritos and a strip club,” with their dead friend paying for everything with his ATM card, by taking $400 out of his bank account.
The official charges? “Identity theft, criminal impersonation and abuse of a corpse.”
I had no idea that this went under identity theft, and as a spokesperson for the Denver Police said, “This is a bizarre and unfortunate crime.”
Finding Siskel and Ebert’s review of the first Bernie’s on YouTube, the late Gene Siskel brought up a good point that “Many movies have scenes involving the attempt to hide a corpse, but you have to be very clever where that is the whole movie itself.”
And when Siskel mentioned this, several good examples popped to mind. Of course, the last quarter of Pulp Fiction, there was a hilarious scene in Used Cars where a dead Jack Warden was put behind the wheel of a car that subsequently crashed and burned.
There was also the Blake Edwards comedy S.O.B. (an acronym for Standard Operating Bullsh*t) where a director is taken out of the morgue by his buddies and is given a viking’s funeral. They’re almost caught when they’re pulled over by the cops, and like Bernie, the corpse has sunglasses on, just lays back sayin’ nothing, and nobody’s the wiser. This was also allegedly based on a real incident where John Barrymore, was taken out of the morgue, and his acting buddies had a party with him.
And as if all this weren’t enough, just in time for Halloween, The HuffPo included three guys going around at a party doing Weekend at Bernie’s on their Funny and Quirky Halloween Costumes From Our Readers story.
The guy doing Bernie’s pretty spot on, he’s even got an unlit cigarette in his mouth, but you wonder how much talent it really takes to play a convincing dead guy, and the two guys carrying him around at the party had to have gotten tired after a while, although there had to be some funny moments at this party where they leave him on the couch for a while, they could also prop him up on the toilet, etc.
As Siskel smartly pointed out, you can’t just focus on the dead guy for the whole film, which these examples wisely didn’t do. Thank God Weekend at Bernie’s 2 didn’t do well enough to launch a Part 3, although I expect to read there’s gonna be a reboot or “reimagining” with McG directing any day now.
Past a certain point, the whole thing’s gonna smell pretty bad and he’ll look like something out of a George Romero flick, which may be today’s spin on Bernie, considering we’re still living in zombie times in pop culture. Jesus, I hope I didn’t just give some idiot Hollywood executive a brilliant idea.