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Picture a less dramatic August Osage County and you pretty much have Nebraska.
Review (with Spoilers)
The sole reason I looked into this movie was so that I could claim I saw all the movies nominated for best performance by an actor, and actress, in either a lead or supporting role. With that said, there is a reason this was one of the last movies I sought out. Never mind it being black and white, for I loved The Artist despite that, but with only Will Forte being a recognizable name amongst the casts, I didn’t see much in a way of appeal. But, even with that said, let’s talk about the film.
Characters & Story
Woody (Bruce Dern) is in his twilight years, and between post-traumatic stress from being in the Korean war to drinking, his mind is rather gone to the point he seems like he has the early signs of Alzheimer’s. But, with two sons, David (Will Forte) and Ross (Bob Odenkirk), as well as his wife Kate (June Squibb) looking out for him, they try to keep him in line. However, with Woody thinking he won a million dollars, and now wandering off on his own, Kate seemingly is too old and tired to try to keep a grown man in line. So, David decides to give into his dad’s fascination and take him to Lincoln, Nebraska since Woody believes that he has won a million dollars. This leads to what seems to be a road trip movie, but with a pause in the dad’s hometown of Hawthorne, we get to meet his dysfunctional family in full and though this doesn’t take Woody’s mind off getting to Lincoln, it does help liven the movie a bit.
Bless June Squibb for being in this movie. She strangely becomes a comic relief helping to alleviate from the dullness of the characters who have southern drawls and seem like, while they may not be backwater folk, they certainly are far from city folk. And while they do bring some sort of intrigue, to a point, Squibb keeps you from falling asleep by being feisty, a bit vulgar, and blunt enough to maybe give Betty White a run for her money.
However, in terms of when Squibb isn’t on screen, this movie fits into such a niche where I can’t imagine someone sitting through 2 hours of this and not becoming bored and more focused on how their tailbone is hurting. Woody, while interesting, isn’t anything like Frank on Shameless. Yes, he is a deadbeat dad, sort of; an alcoholic; and probably a bit off in the head; but rather than them try to embellish his issues into entertainment, they make him a bit more human. And while this perhaps should be applauded, it at the same time makes for a dull viewing experience. Then, when you add on Forte’s character, and Odenkirk, you add more and more cast members who are depicted as so normal, that it is easy to lose interest and eventually doze off.
Overall: Skip It
Unless, like me, you prefer knowing the films nominated for major awards, there is really no reason to watch this movie. And, to be completely honest, this is probably the first movie I reviewed I didn’t finish. I got to about an hour and some change in, and I just had to tap out. For while Squibb is like that methadone drip keeping this film alive, it isn’t enough to alleviate your suffering from the immense boredom this film causes.