Reviews of Movies, TV shows & metro Detroit Restaurants

Short movie & TV show reviews and metro Detroit restaurant reviews

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Movie Review: "Nebraska" (2013)

Nebraska (directed by Alexander Payne and starring Bruce Dern & June Squibb) was the 2nd to last 2014 Best Picture (or is it 2013?) nominee that I watched and I was able to watch it before the awards ceremony on 3/2/14. While it wasn't the best of the nominees, it was far from the worst and I definitely liked it. I'm not sure it was deserving of the nomination it received, but it is a good movie.

Woody Grant (played by Dern) lives in Billings, Montana and he is a cranky, crusty, somewhat deluded old coot with the onset of dementia who believes he just won a million dollars courtesy of a magazine sales company. He thinks that all he has to do is go to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect his this is what he wants to do. He starts out on his own to do just this until a police officer finds him walking alongside a busy highway. Woody is picked up by his son David (played by Will Forte) who brings Woody back home to his wife Kate (played by Squibb), David's mother. Woody continues to get on Kate's nerves by insisting that he go to Nebraska to collect his money, so David decides to take Woody to Lincoln knowing full well that he has not won anything. And their road trip begins. Along the way, Woody proceeds to wander away from his hotel to get drunk, knock himself out on a dresser which requires stitches, and even lose his dentures. They make their way to Woody's hometown of Hawthorne, Nebraska where a family reunion is about to take place once the family knows Woody is on his way through there with the family thinking Woody is about to become a millionaire. Woody's fame is spreading throughout Hawthorne as everyone wants to get their paws on his "fortune" including his family members who prove to be an interesting, comical cast of characters. The time Woody & David spend together allow David to get a much better understanding of his Dad and brings them somewhat closer together, if that's at all possible with the cantankerous Woody.

Nebraska is a very entertaining movie with a lot of heart. It's a wonderful, fun road trip with a lot of humor, mostly coming from Woody & Kate as they don't hold back with what is on their minds and they do this in a very funny, matter-of-fact fashion. But this is also a very emotional, bittersweet movie as it tells a somewhat sad story of a man who is trying to find something, anything to give his mostly wasted life some meaning. It also provides him with an opportunity at redemption and repair some damage done to his relationship with his son. And this movie does a nice job of portraying all of that. The acting is great, especially Dern as he IS Woody and plays him perfectly. I can't imagine another actor playing this role so well (other than maybe Alan Arkin). One complaint I had with this movie was how it was in black & white. So much of this movie is spent on the road and it shows the landscape of the western U.S. I just think that showing this in color would have been much more breathtaking and would have added so much more to it.

I did enjoy watching Nebraska very much...7.5/10 stars

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