Nebraska (2013)

I am supposed to like this movie. I mean look, it got six Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. There are certainly moments of brilliance in this movie, but the overall movie just didn't do that much for me.

Bruce Dem plays a grumpy old guy. He has played other, less senile roles in recent memory, so he has some range. His character is convinced that the junk mail that he got that says (very loosely) that he won a million dollars is real. Anyone else reading the letter immediately spots it for the bulk mail that it is, but he steadfastly refuses to listen to the naysayers. As a result, he wants to walk from where he and his family live in Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska.

June Squibb got the nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and I can't really see why. I mean, she does her part well enough, but there isn't a whole lot going on with her. She mostly plays the straight man (well, everyone here does - it's THAT kind of dark comedy) who causes a laugh by swearing unexpectedly every now and then. Honestly, that particular gag reminds me of some of the George Carlin bits that I didn't like. Don't get me wrong, I think he could be funny, but he often just went for the cheap laugh by swearing. He was an old guy, and that was a bit unexpected.

Will Forte plays the dutiful son who agrees to take him to Nebraska to pick up his winnings. Will does a fine job in a semi-dramatic role (this is a dark comedy, but he has to play it straight. Again, this is THAT kind of comedy). And they run into Stacy Keach, an old friend of Bruce's who is kind of friendly and kind of a jerk through his portion of the movie. That's his role, and he does it just fine.

The movie is very pretty - it's filmed very, very well. I'm not sure why they picked black and white, but it doesn't detract from the movie at all. I'm not sure it enhances it beyond the fact that black and white films are more quickly associated with performance art, and they consequently might be considered for more awards. Other than that, I don't know that it gave the movie a different feel that was more like what the director wanted. I assume it did.

I've seen dark comedies before (Raising Arizona is one of my favorites) and I understand the point, but this was just boring most of the time. Yes, I get that families sometimes have stupid conversations about old cars that someone might have had. I don't need that taking up five minutes of movie time. I'm here to be entertained, and this movie just didn't entertain me.

Direction was okay.
Cinematography was excellent
Acting was good
Story was weak
Dialog was sparse and weak



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