Nebraska (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)
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Director Alexander Payne delivers another piece of Americana and like his 2004 film "Sideways," it's a road tripper. Early on one is reminded of Peter Bogdonovich's "The Last Picture Show." The vast landscapes of the great plains of Montana, South Dakota and ultimately Nebraska replace flat and dusty north Texas, but like the 1971 masterpiece, Payne chooses to shoot in black and white.
Aging and on the cusp of dementia, Woody Grant (wonderfully played by Bruce Dern) believes he has won a million dollars. He's received one of the Publisher's Clearing House promotions and is determined to get from his home in Billings to Lincoln in order to collect his winnings. His cranky wife, Kate (award-worthy June Squibb) won't take him so he makes a couple failed attempts at walking. His youngest son David (Will Forte) finally agrees to take him, just to keep him from wondering off on his own. Along the way, Woody falls in his motel room which requires a trip to the local ER. Woody's mobility is not only impacted by his age but by the fact he sneaks in a drink whenever he can.
David convinces Woody to stay with his brother Ray over the weekend in a small withering town in Nebraska. This is where Woody grew up. Word leaks out that Woody has won a million dollars and everyone in town assumes it is the lottery. Many of Woody's old friends get quickly reacquainted especially his former partner played by Stacy Keach. Then of course, the nephews, and assorted in-laws all want a small piece of Woody's "fortune." Kate and Ross, the older son (Bob Odenkirk), join the reunion and help David keep things in check. This is where Ms. Squibb really shines. Cantankerous as she is, she loves her husband and wants to protect him.Read more ›
Full disclosure, I spent my early years on a farm in South Dakota, so the set design, the clothes, the speech patterns, the scenery, the pace, the people, and the small faded towns of Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska evoked fond memories. (No, I didn't have an unhappy childhood, sorry...)
* Bruce Dern ("Madison") is the booze-addled curmudgeon who wants his million dollars. Dern has worked for decades before landing this role of a lifetime! He won "Best Actor" at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
* Will Forte ("Saturday Night Live") is his unfortunate son, unable to talk his father out of that haywire obsession.
* June Squibb ("About Schmidt") is the wife with a tongue like barbed wire. She has lashed her husband for decades until he rarely hears a word she says.
* Bob Odenkirk (Lots of TV) is the "good" son who has landed a job as a television newscaster. When he gets into a fight he shouts, "Don't hit the face!"
* Stacy Keach (Lots of television) is a former business partner who sees this unexpected windfall as a way to collect some money from our hero.Read more ›
Impeccably acted, by everyone involved.
Grandly photographed. Gorgeous to behold.
Reveals much, without necessarily articulating it.
Perceptive, an incredibly rendered slice of life
Now that this one is done, it will be a while before Alexander Payne has another movie. And that is the only negative thing I have to say.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Grew up in farming country and it was a slice of life there. Bruce Dern captured it so well. Not exactly an uplifting film but was very entertaining.Published 22 days ago by Carolyn Thompson
I loved the movie! It is realism combined with wry humor and an optimistic outcome for middle America... a segment of the population which is rarely addressed by movie makers.... Read morePublished 29 days ago by Piage Writer