The most recent film in the career of American director Alexander Payne is the 2013 film "
Nebraska". Filmed in glorious black and white, which has
seen a resurgence as a number of filmmakers have choosen to shoot in this
artistic monochrome style. Many factors
came into play to make " Nebraska"
one of the best films of 2013, from the superb acting performances, the script,
the photography and its spot on observation of the human condition. " Nebraska"
was nominated for six Academy Awards, but was unfortunately shut out from any
This film is about family, unconditional love and redemption. Bruce Dern plays Woody Grant, a man whose best years are far behind him, his memory is rapidly deteriorating but his determination to got to
and collect his million
dollar prize could not be stronger.
Although he lives in Lincoln
Nebraska and has no car or even a
drivers license he resorts to wondering down the shoulder of a highway. This is how the film opens. He is lost and oblivious to the things around
him with only one thought, get to Billings,
Montana Nebraska. He is picked up on the side of the road by
his son David, played by former SNL cast member Will Forte, who brings him back
home. Woody's wife Kate is quite the
boisterous spark plug, nearly stealing every scene she's in with her quick
witted remarks and no nonsense behavior.
David has an older brother in Ross (Bob Odenkirk) a local TV news
Woody's so-called million dollar prize is one of those Publishers Clearing House type sweepstakes, that's obviously just a scam, but not to Woody it represents hope. Hope of providing a long lasting legacy for his two boys. He's spent most of his life drinking and wasting it away with this being his last chance of redemption. His fierce determination to go to
Nebraska remains even
after his boys try to convince him that he hasn't won anything. David finally gives in and decides to put
this to rest as they get in his truck and head for Lincoln.
It would be a good road trip to get reacquainted with his stubborn and
angry old man. Along the way they shack
up with Woody's brother and his family.
A bunch of small town lowlifes who come to believe that Woody is rich
and the vultures all over the small sleepy town want a piece of his imaginary
fortune. The town is full of desperate
people who are bored to no end, just aching for something to happen. Woody is looked upon as a sort of celebrity,
everyone is your good long lost friend when then know you have money. When things start to go south and greed gets
the best of people they start turning on Woody and old wounds begin to surface.
David and Woody eventually make it to
Lincoln and the small office of the
sweepstakes company. He is told that he
didn't actually win anything, but is given a hat that says
"Winner". His dreams of
redemption seem all but crushed until David hatches a plan to restore his
father's pride and dignity and as they make their way back home. The core of " Nebraska" is a funny and endearing
story about life that is so universal and basic that it just fits that it is in
black and white.