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“Does he have Alzheimer’s?” “No, he just believes what people tell him.” “That’s too bad.”

Forrest, J. Andrew World, Conan Neutron, and Ron Purtee  @ImUncleRon  talk about Alexander Payne’s 2013 comedy-drama road trip film Nebraska

A decade before #theholdovers, #alexanderpayne directed this family drama starring #brucedern and #willforte about grief, aging, family, understanding and empathy. #oscars2024 #nebraska #oscars2013 #paulgiamatti

After a strong showing last year with The Holdovers, we figured it would be a great time to revisit Alexander Payne’s Nebraska
Forrest MillerConan NeutronJ. Andrew World and Kristina Oakes are joined by friend of the show filmmaker and show host Uncle Ron Purtee.

Who would have guessed, that putting Will Forte and Bruce Dern together as a father and son on a darkly comical road trip to collect a supposed lottery jackpot could create such an honest, heartfelt, melancholy story.

Through the course of 2 hours, David (Will Forte) learns more than he ever wanted to about his father Woody (Bruce Dern), who is an ornery fragile alcoholic, and mother Kate (June Squibb) and how his father’s alcoholism and absent minded generosity has continually ruined the family, as people took advantage.

Bruce Dern’s character believes he has won a Sweepstakes prize (YOU MAY ALREADY BE A WINNER!) and travels from Billings Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska. With a stop over at his old home town of Hawthorne (a stand in for the very real Plainview). His visit is seen first as confusing, and then as rumors float that he may indeed soon be in the money, exploitive. Meanwhile, Will Forte guides his father through a town of half remembered people and unremarkable lives. 

Odenkirk shines also as a fill in newscaster brother to Forte, and son to Dern. And June Squibb is hilarious as his very free speaking and long suffering wife.

This is both a road movie, and a small scale examination of getting old, living your life somewhere “not important” and the soft tyranny of diminished expectations. The level of detail here is impressive and the black and white really highlight the vast Midwest vistas. Deeply funny at points, but not a comedy and deeply tragic in others yet not a tragedy,

These are characters full of flaws, failures, regrets and mistakes. Devastated by the stories they have told themselves. Yet it doesn’t come off as exploitive or mean, just honest. So many people assume there is some near mystic folk wisdom to be dispensed by the people that live in such places. More often than not it is unremarkable dreams left unfulfilled by very plain people. 

Nebraska is a darkly human, emotionally rich story about aging, family, generational trauma, grief and.. finally acceptance

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