“Nebraska” is home to billionaire investor Warren Buffet and the location of soon to be millionaire Woody Grant's (Bruce Dern) prize money, via a mail contest, if he can convince his family to make the trek from Billings, Montana, to Lincoln.
In this black and white world in which an old man who others around him claim to be just having a senior moment is intent on making his way down south. The film’s opening shows his attempts despite his family's objection and the authorities having to pick him up as he tries to get closer to Lincoln.
The colors of the film is provided with its cast led by his youngest son, David (Will Forte), to accompany him on his road to riches. It also gives the men of Grant an opportunity to get to know one another despite their reputation as being men of few words.
Mr. Forte known as a comedic performer portrays the everyday, depressed man that Alexander Payne’s films are known for as the straight man to the intricacies of the character that his father is after years of drinking. This performance shows his ability to balance the humor with the seriousness of drama of a son concerned for the well being of his father.
Woody’s wife, Kate (June Squibb) and eldest son, Ross (Bob Odenkirk), serves as the voice of reason when they are against Woody and David's road trip as it's only fueling Woody's fantasy of winning a million dollar.
The father and son trip allows them to forget their worries of Billings as they travel the open road encountering new adventures.
Mr. Dern is hilarious as the cantankerous elder statesman of the Grant family as he engages in his son of his desired need to quickly get to his money, but at the same time deals with a serious issue of fragility of the mind and body.
His counterpart in life, portrayed by Ms. Squib, proves to be just as feisty as the matriarch of the family whose tongue knows no boundary providing hilarious insight as an outsider of the Grant clan. Her character is pushed to the extreme as she comes to the realization that she's no longer able to support him with his wanderings and considers putting him in a home.
Their journey to Lincoln has them staying in Hawthorne, Neb., Woody's childhood home and where Woody’s sister-in-law Martha (Mary Louise Wilson) and brother Ray (Rance Howard) live with their two sons: Bart (Tim Driscoll) and Cole (Devin Ratray).
Once word gets around the small town of his winnings, Woody becomes an instant celebrity as his good fortune is the biggest news and only good news that the small town of yesteryear has received with the downfall of the economy and its aging population who can only find refuge in taverns.
If there’s too be a physical adversary besides the jealous green monster of greed spreading amongst the extended Grant family then it’s Stacy Keach as Ed Pegram.
Ed and Woody go back when they owned a garage, and Ed is the kind of character that would take advantage of Woody’s good demeanor as mentioned earlier in the film that he still has his air compressor for almost 40 years.
It’s the family stay in Hawthorne that allows Woody the one last opportunity to enjoy his fame and notoriety but at the same time folks begin to once again take advantage of his good demeanor especially Ed who he’s always willing to lend him money.
When Woody returns back to his childhood home it’s a sign of the changing of the times as individuals he recalls are no longer serving as a message that his time on Earth is sparse and limited as well. But until then, whether or not he wins his million dollar, he can at least appear in the eyes of the community as a larger than life figure.
The film shows that he's already a winner with a loving wife who stands by him no matter what idiotic and delusion things that he does, a younger son that's willing to indulge in his father's fantasy of the surreal of winning it big via a contest and an elder son who serves as the voice of truth but comes to the realization to allow his father to have his moment while he still can.
The film is playing exclusively at the Varsity Theater, for the listing of the times and schedule click here.
Classification: In Theaters
Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.
Enjoy the Grant clan travel back to their roots of small town Hawthorne, Nebraska, where word spreads of Woody's good fortune in this tale that examines the concerns of the aging and the greed that envelops those that he encounters.
Rating: R for some language.
Timing: 1 Hour, 55 Minutes
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Adventure.