Quick Rewind – Nebraska


Every once in awhile after seeing a film, I can think of very little to say about it other than, “You have to see this.” I’m left speechless, not always because I was blown away, but sometimes because I feel my words won’t do it justice. That’s how I feel when I reflect on Nebraska.

Nebraska stars Bruce Dern as senile-alcoholic Woody Grant who has won a million dollars. Or, at least that’s what the sweepstakes letter he got in the mail says. Woody is hell-bent on traveling to Lincoln, Nebraska to claim his prize, despite what his wife and sons say. After several attempts to make it on his own, Woody’s son David, played by Will Forte, finally gives in and agrees to drive him to Lincoln. After a small drunken fall, Woody lands himself in the hospital, leading David to makes plans for them to stop for a few days in Woody’s nearby hometown. While there, they are met by Woody’s wife Kate (June Squibb) and their oldest son Ross (Bob Odenkirk) who try their hardest to persuade David and Woody to give up their trip to Lincoln. It’s not long before his whole hometown has heard of his incoming fortune, and everyone from family to old friends come out of the woodwork to try and get a piece of it.


Will Forte and Bruce Dern

The movie was funnier than I would have ever thought. From Woody’s insistence that he doesn’t drink despite the empty bottles around him, to Kate’s vulgar I-can’t-believe-that-old-woman-just-said-that mouth, this movie had me laughing aloud the entire time. Though surprisingly, many of the laughs did not come from comedian Will Forte. Don’t get me wrong, he had his moments, but the true humor came from the older cast members. June Squibb’s performance as Woody’s wife Kate was so phenomenal, she has me rooting for her to win the Oscar for Supporting Actress. She was one of my favorite parts of the movie, hands down.

But despite all the laughs, this movie had some very serious undertones. As much as the movie is about a senile old man determined to claim his million bucks, it’s also a story of a son trying all that he can to take care of his aging father. You learn early through a conversation between Ross and David that their dad wasn’t exactly in the running for the World’s Best Dad, and that Ross would rather stick Woody in a home than continue to shoulder the burden of taking care of him. But not David. David continues to feel responsible for his father, and as stated by the director, Alexander Payne;

The son wants to offer his elderly father a moment of dignity… My parents are getting on and it’s a question that affects me because I’d also like them to grow old with complete dignity. Old age can diminish us, and make us lose our dignity. We have to hold on to it.”

And for some reason, that struck home. Not that my father’s a stubborn alcoholic who wasn’t there for me as  a child, or that he’s a burden to take care of, because he is neither of those things. But the fear of getting older. The fear of seeing him become confused due to his age, the having to make the decision to put him in a home or not. It was real. It was poignant, and that’s what’s left me speechless after watching Nebraska.

All I can hope is that when the time comes, my mom has developed the foulest, rudest mouth just like Kate’s. At least then I’ll be able to laugh.


  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4.5 stars
  • Outstanding

  • Nebraska
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: May 14, 2014
  • Story
    Editor: 100%
  • Character Development
    Editor: 100%
  • Humor
    Editor: 100%
  • Pacing
    Editor: 90%

Review Summary:

Overall a great film. The characters were relatable, the humor was spot-on, and the story was one-of-a-kind. Definitely give this film a shot.


Great Story. Great Humor. Great Character Development.


The only complaint I could think of was that the pacing of this film, at times, seemed to lag.