As always, we open with an irrelevantly relevant comment . . . Yesterday was Lincoln’s birthday and a day off for me. Yay! Lincoln’s birthday is one of the better holidays since everyone else in the country is at school or work. I used my “free day” to go to the movies to see Nebraska, an Academy Awards Best Picture Nominee.
As I watched the movie on Lincoln’s birthday, guess what I realized? In Nebraska, the father and son team of Woody (Bruce Dern) and David (Will Forte) were traveling from Billings, Montana to LINCOLN, Nebraska, people! Lincoln! On Lincoln’s birthday!
Not only that, but I have a friend who is “mentally married” to Will Forte (with all definitions of “mental” applying– no worries though– I’ve been mentally married to Derek Jeter since 1995 and I’m perfectly normal) . My friend flew to the West Coast yesterday and was probably right over the State of Nebraska as I watched her “husband” on the big screen in Nebraska. It was weird. When I told her, she mentioned that Will also played a part in The Lego Movie. Guess which character? ABE LINCOLN.
I know. It’s almost as crazy as my Dallas Buyers Club/”Rock me Amadeus” moment.
So with all these Lincoln and Nebraska references, I can now tell you about the movie. My three-word review: Depressing. Real. Meh.
Nebraska is about David driving Woody, his alcoholic father, to Lincoln, Nebraska because Woody thinks he won a million dollars in a sweepstakes. They stop at Woody’s hometown on the way, and David learns stuff about Woody.
The AMC, my preferred theater of choice, offered an early showing of Philomena, which I have less-than-zero desire to see, so I opted to go to the Crap Theater to catch an early showing of Nebraska, which I had just about zero desire to see. I sucked it up since I did want to watch my friend’s mental husband’s performance, as well as fulfill my short-term goal of seeing all the Best Picture nominees prior to the Academy Awards.
So at Crap Theater, I planned on being totally bored as I sipped my ginormous Diet Coke (in a Divergent movie Collector’s Cup) and sat with the four senior citizens who also showed up (two of them sat three seats from me despite the entire theater being empty, and I’d witnessed one of the others arguing with Crap Theater staff about the lack of a senior discount). But what the heck– I was at the movies to see one of the Best Picture nominees, and hey, at least it wasn’t Philomena. Carpe Diem, folks.
Did you know Nebraska is filmed in black and white? Well, I didn’t. Since I was at Crap Theater, I thought the lack of color was perhaps a technical problem and wondered when the seniors would order me to the lobby to ask why the color wasn’t working correctly (they had sent me once prior to the movie starting to hunt down the sole employee and ask why the screen was blank– Crap Theater doesn’t light up the screen until exactly the time on the ticket). As to the black and white, none of the seniors seemed concerned (maybe they were more attuned to black and white, heh heh). I thought that maybe the movie would turn to color at some point, for example, when they got to Nebraska. Nope. Whole thing. Black and white.
Which was fine. I don’t think it did anything for me except to distract me. Maybe the black and white symbolized the bleakness of the characters’ lives in the heartland? Maybe the lack of color was an attempt to make it feel more artsy? Or to make it stand out from other films? I dunno. Personally, I think that color is one of the best features of middle America, you know, amber waves of grain and all that. The landscape of the film lost some of its magic in black and white. Blue skies were grey, etc. Maybe that was the point. Okay. Onward.
Through most of the movie I felt depressed and blah. The characters all seemed real (except the mom, Kate, played by June Squibb, who seemed a little over the top to be real), and watching Davey and his boring existence and Woody and his lost existence, and the relatives and other folks in Woody’s hometown was sort of a downer–especially in black and white. There were a few funny lines in there (my favorite from Davey’s cousins who harp on how long it took Davey to drive from Montana), but mostly I just waited for something to happen.
Except for the last five minutes, the movie didn’t touch me the way I like to be touched by a film– especially a Best Picture nominee. I didn’t feel like the characters changed much throughout the story. Maybe I would have felt better if Davey wasn’t so nice in the beginning of the movie, and then the experience of being with his father made him human (like a Rainman-type transformation). But Davey was nice-ish in the beginning of the film, the middle of the film, and the end of the film. Maybe I would have better appreciated the road trip if Davey’s less amenable brother Ross (played by Bob Odenkirk, better known as Saul from Breaking Bad) took the trip with Woody instead of Davey?
Bruce Dern gave a stellar performance. He’s up for Best Actor and is deserving of the Oscar, which is the same thing I said about Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. That’s a tough category this year. In total, Nebraska is up for six Academy Awards, including Best Director (Alexander Payne) and Best Supporting Actress (June Squibb).
I get it, I guess, with this movie. Maybe I don’t. Either way, I have zero desire to see it again.
As always, thanks for reading. Have a nice day and happy movie-going!