Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

December 26, 2013

Movie Review: Nebraska

Steve Woodhouse

Knoxville — “Nebraska” is one of the funniest movies I have seen all year. You will not be disappointed by this film and I highly recommend seeing it as soon as you can. 

The story centers on an elderly man (Bruce Dern) who believes he has won $1 million in a publishers' sweepstakes. After being caught by the sheriff trying to walk from Billings, Montana, to Lincoln, Neb., on more than one occasion, one of his sons (Will Forte) decides to drive him to Lincoln to prove that nothing has been won. Along the way, we get to know more about the man's wife, hometown, extended family and friends. 

Dern and Forte deliver outstanding performances. Forte's work is a reminder that sometimes “Saturday Night Live” alumni do not receive the credit they deserve for the kind of talent one must possess to make it on that show. As opposed to his loud, annoying characters Forte is known for, his turn as a son learning about and standing up for his father still manages to find humor in most frames. The rest find him playing straight man to Dern, or sharing a heartwarming moment. 

Some of the best lines of the film fall to June Squibb, who plays Dern's loud, obnoxious and desperately off-putting wife. Squibb is getting one of my Iowa Film Critics Association nominations for best supporting actress this year. She was that good and added just that much to the film. 

The journey taken by the father and son duo is one you will definitely want to join them for. The black and white utilized by director Alexander Payne helps demonstrate not only the comfort and relaxation small towns can offer, but also illustrates the disappointment and life not lived by Dern's character. Even through the shadows, sunshine and light can come through the gray. See this movie.