A film worth watching

Now and then a movie comes along that does not rely on gruesome torture, murders, shoot-outs, car chases, CGI special effects or Hollywood’s hottest to attract, and keep an audience engaged.

“Nebraska,” is one.

My better half and I watched it not long ago.

A comedy-drama, it was released in November of 2013.

“Nebraksa” is shot in black and white, with a compelling script as topical as today. Alcoholism, aging parents, and the decline of rural, small town America, among other issues, are explored both in humorous and serious veins.

“Nebraska” is well-written and the cinematography is outstanding.

The film garnered six well-deserved Academy Award nominations, from best film, to best actor

(Bruce Dern) to best director (Alexander Payne).

It earned a host of other nominations and several wins, from AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards to the Los Angeles Film Critics Award to the National Board of Review.

Dern, a favorite of this writer, played alcoholic and border-line senile Woody Grant.

June Squibb, who was unforgettable to this writer as Jack Nicholson’s spouse in family favorite “About Schmidt,” plays Dern’s hard-boiled wife, Kate.

She was nominated for best supporting actress.

Kate has a style all of her own — saying exactly what she thinks.

Will Forte, a former Saturday Night LIve alum, plays Dern’s son David, who is reluctantly drawn into his father’s scheme to collect a supposed $1 million prize — assuming his dad has the winning number offered by a magazine subscription company.

Stacy Keach is exemplary as Woody’s so-called friend and former business partner, Ed Pegam.

Dern plays an aged, alcoholic parent, well, taking off unannounced at all hours from his Montana residence, attempting to walk to Omaha, Neb. where he thinks the $1 million prize awaits.

Central to the story is that David decides to drive his father to Omaha to collect the “prize” with a stop in fictitious Hawthorne, Neb. to see relatives, and importantly, for Woody to confront Ed.

Much of Kate and Woody’s past is revealed and the audience develops an understanding of how one’s upbringing — and life’s experiences — molds them into the people they are now.

Worth seeing is a scene shot in Hawthorne’s Lutheran cemetery, where Kate, Woody and Dave go to pay their “respects” is anything but respectful.

Rent “Nebraska” at your favorite movie rental store if one wants to see a well-developed story unfold.


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com