Nebraska - 9 stars out of 10
"Nebraska" is a truly special film. Honest simplicity makes its characters relateable and entertaining. The genius in Bruce Dern's acting becomes obvious when you see interviews with him and realize that he is not a senile man. The bewilderment in his eyes and complete helplessness to take care of himself make you believe that they just found this guy on the street and asked him to wander around a set. Would I nominate him about Robert Redford in "All Is Lost" or some of the other impressive acting performances that were passed over in this strong year of movies? Probably not, but his acting is truly impressive. For me, the highlight of this film is June Squibb. She just absolutely hilarious. I ate up every single line that she delivered and found myself waiting for her to come back on screen. While I understand why she did not win an Oscar against Jared Leto in "Dallas Buyers Club," it was truly one of my favorite performances of the year. Will Forte also offers a surprising good serious performance. These three characters come to life so perfectly through the script. The script for "her" was popular (and perhaps overrated even though I enjoyed the film), but I found "Nebraska's" to be much better. I think that Alexander Paine is a genius for his use of extras in Montana, Wyoming, and Nebraska. His selection of people who are salt-of-the-earth is a perfect compliment to the realistic characters. The scenery and black-and-white filming are simple to allow the complexity of the characters to shine. "Nebraska" is a great film, as indicated by its 6 nominations in such a strong Oscar class, but the field was just too close; still, this is a film that needs to be on everybody's list, from Squibb's hilarious lines to the very satisfying conclusion to the film.