Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Drama in Cinema: Nebraska

Greetings readers and welcome back for Day 2 of Drama in Cinema... I remember why I don't watch this particular genre now. It is either very depressing, holds too much of the other genres to confuse the viewer or it drags on to the point where even the existential viewer has clawed his eyes out. With this in mind we turn to a decent drama director Alexander Payne (Election, About Schmidt and Sideways), a fellow Nebraskan that seems to want to capture the entire state on film in one facet or another. With Bruce Dern as a boozed up aging and confused father wanting to leave Montana to go to Nebraska to claim his million dollar prize. This is Nebraska.

Almost feels like life passed him by.

Woody Grant (Bruce Dern of Silent Running, The Great Gatsby, Black Sunday, 1969, Diggstown, Mulholland Falls, The Astronaut Farmer, Big Love and Django Unchained) is bound and determined to go to Nebraska to claim his prize from the Million Dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing. He can no longer drive, he cannot convince his wife Kate (June Squibb of Scent of a Woman, Meet Joe Black, About Schmidt and Axe Cop) to leave Billings Montana and claim his prize.

His sons David (Will Forte of Saturday Night Live, Rock of Ages, The Watch, The Lego Movie, The Awesomes and The Last Man on Earth) and Ross (Bob Odenkirk of The Larry Sanders Show, Mr. Show, Run Ronnie Run, Tom Goes to the Mayor, How I Met Your Mother and Breaking Bad) are telling him that he needs to stop doing this and just mail for his winnings rather than walking 900 some miles away. Yeah google that crazy right there!

Dad... where are your pants?

David's life keeps being put on hold because Woody tries to walk to Nebraska so he decides just drive his father to Lincoln and get this prize winning out of his system. David gripes about Woody's drinking and Woody grumbles about David trying to create a bonding experience with going to Rushmore. Lincoln doesn't even have an ear and it doesn't look finished. With a fall and 10 stitches later David is really worried about his father's drinking but is so passive aggressive with everything and everyone in his life that he really doesn't know how to stand up to life. Getting the rest of the family as a get together in the hopes his dad can value more out of life.

On their way they stop off in Hawthorne and Woody gets a little blitzed again. David truly loves his dad but doesn't know what to do with him or for him. Woody feels like a prisoner in the car and doesn't lash out as his life isn't his own. People talk about him like he isn't even in the room. David's cousins are a bit sluggish, babbling about how far they have traveled and the span of time it took them to get there. Their aspirations astound me.

Will Woody collect his money? Will he and David have a better life together?

A few points to make on this movie now.

With digital cameras to helm the shoot, this entire film is in black and white with anamorphic lenses giving it an appeal to the audiences. This is Payne's fourth movie in Nebraska after Citizen Ruth, Election and About Schmidt. Gene Hackman, Robert Forster, Jack Nicholson and Robert Duvall were considered for Woody. With the success of The Descendants allowed Payne to make Nebraska after trying for over ten years.

Whole lot of inbreeding there.