Skip’s Quips: ‘Nebraska,’ Montana, Ooh, I’m Gonna Pan Ya

Blog Sketch 082813Actually, I’m not, because I actually liked Alexander Payne’s intimate black-and-white film Nebraska. I just wanted to write a silly headline.

But seriously, folks. This was a pretty good movie. Bruce Dern as the aging, oft-confused, alcoholic father of electronics salesman Will Forte. June Squibb as Forte’s bitter mom. Stacy Keach (!) as Dern’s nemesis and onetime business partner. And they’re all part of a plot to recover a million bucks in winnings that Dern’s character thinks is owed him because he got a “You’ve just won $1 million” notice in the mail.

I think the movie should’ve been a lot more depressing, but Payne keeps the dialogue spare and the direction light. The action actually had movement, a place to go. And yes, there is an arc. So nice job. I’m not a fan of all of Payne’s flicks (I thought Election was particularly mean-spirited), but he’s definitely a filmmaker with destinations in mind and the ability to get there with economy. And although I don’t feel Nebraska is a masterpiece, it’s a smart, small film with a good tale to tell. It works. And it makes for a worthy evening.

On to the next movie.

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