November 25, 2013

Movie Review: Nebraska ***1/2

Nebraska is a really interesting-looking movie; it's filmed in black and white in a very ordinary and bleak part
of the country, and has an entire cast of unattractive people. ENTIRE CAST. The only cute person in the whole movie is Will Forte, and he's just ordinary-cute, not movie star cute.
No one else looks like a professional actor, at least not the professional actors we're used to. It's a cast of people you might see at the mall or the local diner or at a hockey game. It was striking to me, and fascinating.
Will Forte is likely to get a best supporting actor nod just because this part is such a departure from how we know him. If he does, he won't deserve it for this role - he's very good, but not great - but will probably deserve it later, after he's had more experience.
Bruce Dern is amazing as the crazy, single-minded dad and June Squibb is frighteningly real as his bitchy, no-nonsense, tough-talking, name-calling wife. Whew...she's scary.
I wanted Nebraska to be better than it was. I wanted this to be a five star review. I love Alexander Payne's sensibilities. But it missed for me. It doesn't have the depth of characters that we had in Sideways and The Descendants, it doesn't have the same kind of heart, and there are characters that seem created just to add humor (the big dufus cousins, for two).
But even though it doesn't live up to Payne standards for me, it's worth seeing.
Three and a half stars out of five for Nebraska.

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