Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nebraska Review

When I first heard about the movie Nebraska, I was mildly intrigued. It looked like an interesting movie, but to say to that I was super exciting would be an overstatement. Then it was released on a limited basis and ever since that the Oscar buzz on it got higher and higher. Needless to say, I became super interested in giving it a shot. The problem was it hadn't made it to my local theater yet. Luckily, on my Christmas vacation home, I became aware of an artsy theater that was pretty close to where I was that had the movie playing, so I finally got to see it. I don't know much about what they are planning on doing with their release schedule, but if this movie shows up in your local theater soon, I'd call it a must see! Definitely deserving of all the Oscar nominations it's about to receive.

Nebraska is more of an artsy character piece. It's a movie that's directed by Alexander Payne, who's most well known for The Descendants and Sideways. This movie is a very personal project for Payne being that it is shot in his home state of Nebraska. The movie is about a family that is originally from Montana. The parents are really old and the two sons are middle-aged and living on their own, but also living close by. The father, Woody, is a little crazy and thinks he's won a million dollars. Despite his family persistently telling him it's a scam, he's insistent that he's going to Nebraska to get payed and he's willing to walk their on his own. Finally, one of the sons caves in and they go on a road trip to Nebraska to collect his winnings.

The movie is actually shot in black and white, which I think is super cool. It fits the tone of the movie really well. It's also fairly slow moving, which as I mentioned in my review of The Book Thief, if you are going to have a slow-moving movie, you need a solid cast that I can become attached to. This is exactly what happened in Nebraska. The further we got into the movie, the more I became emotionally attached to this family. Bruce Dern plays the crazy old father, and June Squibb plays the angry old mother. Both of them have been nominated for Golden Globe awards and both should be nominated for an Oscar (best actor and best supporting actress). Both of them definitely deserve it. They are both super funny in their own way. Dern is absent-minded the whole movie and his response to everything great. Meanwhile, Squibb is always yelling or complaining at something when she's on screen and that made me laugh the whole movie. Will Forte plays the son who takes his dad to Nebraska, and I was super impressed with his performance. The man is a comedian that plays a completely serious role. I love it when actors can be versatile like that. Many kudos to Forte.

Overall, Nebraska is a great character piece about a family that you will just fall in love with. It is super well acted and well made, which is why it has lots of awards coming it's way. Whether or not it wins all those awards is less relevant because of the crowded market, but the nominations are worth it. You will walk out of Nebraska will all those warm fuzzies inside and will thus be super happy for the rest of your day. Content-wise, regardless of what the messed up MPAA claims, the movie really should be a light PG-13. There are two uses of the f-word that gave it the R-rating, but that's not a rating it deserves. I could name a hundred or so movies off the top of my head that are only PG-13 that are a lot worse content-wise, so don't let that scare you off. Put Nebraska on your must see list! I give it a very strong 9 out of 10.

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