“Nebraska”: Small-Town Humor

I grew up in the part of the world where most of Alexander Payne‘s new movie, “Nebraska,” takes place, so much of my laughter at the movie’s small-town humor was the joy of recognition: of the oddballs of rural Great Plains life. I saw the movie at the New York Film Festival. It stars a grizzled Bruce Dern as an addled senior citizen, living in Billings, Montana with his terminally irascible wife, played with gusto by June Squibb. Woody has become convinced he’s won $1 million in a Publisher’s Clearing House-like sweepstakes — a prize he insists on collecting in person at the company’s HQ in Lincoln, Neb. His younger son, played by Will Forte, decides to take him there. This is a road movie of sorts, with black-and-white cinematography suggesting “The Last Picture Show” and rural sour-sweetness evocative of David Lynch’s “The Straight Story.” “Nebraska” will have a limited release in mid-November. Highly recommended.

Leave a Comment