Release date: November 27, 2013
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Written by: Bob Nelson
Alexander Payne's latest film, "Nebraska" opens up with with an old school black and white Paramount Pictures logo, a preview of what is to come in this beautifully poetic look at small town folks trying to hide from their big time problems. And yes -- the entire movie is in black and white -- and that's a good thing.
Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) is a drunk who is mostly full of his own bull. But he's a good guy with good friends and family. But unfortunately, no one really takes him all that serious -- because of his drinking. In fact, most people tend to take advantage good old boy cluelessness.
When Woody becomes convinced he has won a million dollars in a sweepstakes, he convinces his estranged son, David (Will Forte) to venture from Montana to his home state of Nebraska to claim his prize. Along the way, Woody must face a few demons from his past as well as relentless questions from his son about their strained relationship.
It's a road trip comedy, with the beautiful landscape of the midwest as a backdrop. Alexander Payne (Descendants, Sideways), a native of Nebraska himself, returned to his homeland to film this little slice of life. It's a wonderfully entertaining movie, even if the pacing is a bit slow. But his decision to film "Nebraska" in black and white is sheer genius, especially considering the incredibly beautiful landscapes the Grants travel through on their road to discovery.
Despite the pacing, Payne gets amazing performances out of his actors, making it well worth a viewing. Bruce Dern turns in one of the greatest performances of his career as Woody. Will Forte, known mostly for his goofy characters on SNL shows is an fantastic counter point to Woody's jaded views on life. But perhaps stealing everyone's thunder is June Squibb. As Woody's stubborn wife, she steals nearly every scene she is in with a sharp tongue.
The film is sure to garner plenty of well deserved awards consideration all across the board. But because of the pacing it may not be for everyone. That being said, this film is a rare gem and a must see if you just love watching actors spin their craft.
Rating: Rated R for some language
Running time: 1 hour 55 mins.
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