Friday, January 17, 2014

Nebraska - Movie Review

Starring Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkerk, Stacy Keach and Rance Howard.
Directed by Alexander Payne.


For the first hour or so, I was annoyed. I was annoyed with the set-up, I was annoyed with the slow pace, and I was annoyed at how unpleasant everyone was. Why is this getting all this buzz for multiple Oscar nominations? Yeah, Bruce Dern's good, but is he THAT good?

But it started to come together for me in the third act. The condescension of the first two acts melted away, and these dysfunctional people started to feel like a real family.

Dern plays Woody Grant, an old man who's getting more "confused" these days, and he thinks he's won a million dollars. It's obviously one of those magazine-sweepstakes scams, but that doesn't deter Woody from trying to walk from his home in Billings, Montana, to Lincoln, Nebraska, to try and collect his winnings.

He has a wife (June Squibb) fed up with him, and two sons with different attitudes on how he should spend his last few years. The younger son David (SNL's Will Forte) decides to go ahead and humor Woody and drive him to Nebraska.  They have to take a detour in their home town of Hawthorne, NE, and we meet the dull extended family. It goes from there.

When I walked out, I found it to be a big meh. It's actually grown on me after I've had a couple days away from it. It's aging well in my mind. I liked how the mom, dad and two sons don't seem close at all, but once outside forces start poking at them, most notably other family, they pulled together in a way that felt real. The final few minutes were a nice capper.

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