51st NYC FILM FESTIVAL: NEBRASKA Showing and Press Conference
What can I say about a new movie from the director of Sideways that stars Bruce Dern? Nebraska is a treat, a laconic road movie both funny and poignant, featuring some stellar turns from Dern, the truly spectacular June Squibb and Will Forte; stunning cinematography by Phedon Papamichael off of production design by Dennis Washington and stunning stark locations found by John Latenser V.; and a film revealing a general feeling of real life happening before your eyes.
Of course one is struck right off that Nebraska is filmed in black and white. When asked why he shot it that way, director Alexander Payne related that: “It felt right, the moment I picked up the screenplay I always saw the movie in black and white,” and went on to opine: “I always knew I wanted to make a movie in black and white and figured it would have to be with a relatively inexpensive movie. It’s hard to get black and white movies made in the studio system these days. But our great film heritage is black and white.”
Though he has plenty of times before, Bruce Dern truly gives an Oscar-winning performance here, complete with lots of ‘warts and all’. As he said of Payne picking him specifically for the role of Woody Grant: “He sent me the script about six months after he saw it and I was stunned because nobody’s ever thought of me at that level.”
It was quite the stroke fest with Will Forte chiming in about the filming: “It was an experience I never thought I’d have the opportunity to have.” But really I can’t express enough how much you need to see this movie.