Nebraska movie poster

Will Forte plays along with his demented dad Bruce Dern’s false notion that Dern has won first prize in the Publisher’s Clearinghouse sweepstakes and joins the old man on a road trip from Montana to Nebraska to claim the million dollars. The subject matter should appeal to the On Golden Pond crowd; meanwhile, director Alexander Payne banks on outmoded black-and-white cinematography to reel in the hipsters. Payne is not a skilled enough filmmaker to manage the neat trick of simultaneously embracing and ridiculing his depthless midwesterners, and much of the film is colored by condescension. Worth seeing, if only as a reminder of both Dern’s ability to command a character and, more importantly, his long absence from feature parts, an absence we can probably blame on Hollywood ageism. Awards voters had best pencil in June Squibb, whose hammy one-note performance as Dern’s fusspot spouse is bound to be to their liking. With Bob Odenkirk and Stacey Keach. 2013.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.


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