The first time I knowingly saw actor Bruce Dern in a film was in Hal Ashby film Coming Home. I recently watched him play the very minimalist role of Woody Grant in the Alexander Payne film Nebraska, a film made thirty five years after the release of Coming Home. Working in a cinema that is carefully curated has given me the great opportunity to see terrific films and be around people who appreciate them. A co-worker asked me yesterday what I thought about Nebraska and I felt challenged in the best way possible.
Nebraska was a simple film with very little driving the story. It was a buddy film, where its two very different characters were glued together by family loyalty. What I found so interesting in this film was the disintegration of family ties, while the unlikely strengthening others. In recently re-watching Sarah Polley’s documentary on her own family titled Stories We Tell, I found myself thinking about how much we really know about our families and the relationships we have with these people. In Nebraska, as much as their characters run away from the comforts of the family they have, however unknowingly they collide back into them just as fast. In that respect, it felt very real – your immediate family is who you’re stuck with.
There’s a certain anonymity that comes with the role of more senior actors. Perhaps Dern’s become almost unrecognizable in his old age, and June Squibb, who portrayed his better half in the film, will never be the next Jennifer Lawrence. This film however reserved the sassy, yet believable parts to the seniors. Eighty-four year-old Squibb, killed her role as Dern’s wife, Kate. She will apparently be taking on the role as Hannah Horvath’s grandmother in the show Girls
This shot in the film of the Nebraska state sign made a lot of sense of Omaha native Tim Kasher’s solo project’s band name, The Good Life. As well as Payne’s mention of Council Bluffs, Iowa, which was used in the terrific song “Album of the Year,” a prime contender for the ultimate break-up song… Move over CSN.
“We moved into a studio in Council Bluffs/To save a couple bucks”