“Nebraska” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 26
“How did she die? Saw herself in the mirror one day.”
I came into Nebraska mostly ignorant of it – other than knowing it was a black and white film, that it was directed by Alexander Payne, and that it was nominated for Best Picture.
While there are a few bit-part actors who are quite obviously either reaching the age where acting is no longer their forte – or simply aren’t particularly good actors – the main cast more than makes up for it with their out-of-the-park portrayals.
Bruce Dern is pitch-perfect. (Sooooo much better than his role in Silent Running.)
June Squibb steals every scene she’s in. A firecracker, that one.
Even Will Forte – who I don’t usually like that much – managed to win me over by the end.
A simple story, a focus on family, and a humanist study that you don’t normally see in film. There’s something about Alexander Payne’s movies where the relationships between people become the story in ways other movies never reach.
Also, Nebraska made me want to be a better son. Can’t say any other film has instilled that kind of reaction or emotion from me before.
Nebraska was at the time of this review at #705 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #1200 among the best films of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Nebraska vs. Deadpool
Deadpool was no slouch, but I didn’t really go ga-ga for it like everyone else seems to have. It was fine. It’s exactly where it probably should be – in the middle of my chart. Nebraska wins.
Nebraska vs. Pontypool
“Gimmick” movies either really fall flat for me (re: Memento) or really work for me – like Pontypool. It’s so clever that I’m enamored with it and its audacity and approach to storytelling that it rises above so many other films. It’ll beat Nebraska.
Nebraska vs. The Sting
The Sting was fine. Good, not great. Nebraska is better.
Nebraska vs. Patriot Games
By virtue of not having seen Patriot Games in a long, long time, Nebraska benefits from a recency bias – despite the fact that it is probably still very good. I just need to rewatch it some time to verify that.
Nebraska vs. 2012
I’m a sucker for mass disaster films. As kooky as 2012 is, I still have a fondness for it. Cusack is one of my favorite actors, so that helps a lot. I still recognize and agree that Nebraska is a better film.
Nebraska vs. Ant-Man
I was pretty surprised by how good Ant-Man turned out. It could have been the first real major Marvel flop, but instead, it turned out to be a pretty fun little side-story, and now he seems to be fitting right in the Avengers universe quite well. Still, Nebraska is smarter, better crafted, and altogether more impressive.
Nebraska vs. Fantastic Mr. Fox
I like stop-motion (Nightmare before Christmas is in my top 20), but Fantastic Mr. Fox didn’t do a whole lot for me. Not sure if it was the script, or the characters, or the Wes Anderson direction, but it just didn’t click well with me. It gets props for its execution, though. Nebraska wins.
Nebraska vs. Cruel Intentions
Another film that surprised me with how great it was definitely Cruel Intentions. It plays on relationships in a much different manner than Nebraska, but it’s also a film that has stuck with me for years after seeing it. It’ll be the winner here.
Nebraska vs. Charade
Nebraska, for sure. Charade was kind of a let down after hearing so many people go crazy for it. Cary Grant’s such an asshole.
Nebraska vs. Inside Out
When a short list of “movies that are fantastic for kids and adults, both” comes up now, I can’t imagine that Inside Out wouldn’t be on it. A truly magnificent return to form for Pixar.
Nebraska is now ranked #375 out of 1470 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Next up is Faults. In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.