19 December 2013

Nebraska

Bruce Dern as Woody Grant in "Nebraska"
Is there anything more mind-numbingly boring than having to listen to someone's detailed summary of a film you haven't seen? Many times, I have found myself in that situation as a silent voice inside me starts to yell, "For Christ's sake - shut up!". It is at such moments that I have come to really understand the term "bored to tears".

This morning I painted our bedroom door - in "natural calico" of course, then stripped off my painting togs, dressed into stylish  un-splattered gear and marched down to the local bus stop. I was going to the "early doors" screening of "Nebraska" directed by Alexander Payne - at "The Showroom" cinema in Sheffield's city centre.

I could summarise this film in tedious detail but if you're looking for that kind of thing you can find it elsewhere on the net - for example here. Let me just say that I enjoyed "Nebraska" enormously. Filmed in black and white yet supported by "Paramount", it's about several things - ageing, love, memory, family relations and hope against an endless monochrome backdrop of middle America's vastness.

Bruce Dern, as the cantankerous old anti-hero Woody Grant, played his part superbly and the tender soundtrack by Mark Orton enhanced the sense of melancholy mingled with dilapidation that emanates from the screen. There was much black humour - not least when Woody's wife Kate - played by June Squibb - lifts her skirt at an old boyfriend's windswept grave and says "Take a look at what you missed!". 

"Nebraska" is my kind of film. It shows the kind of America that Hollywood has always had  a habit of ignoring or heavily disguising - the real America. It has many facets and speaks to us truly of the human condition. In production there was great attention to detail and this adds to the film's believability. In its mood and atmosphere it reminded me greatly of  "The Last Picture Show" (1971) - directed by Peter Bogdanovich - coincidentally also filmed in black and white.

I recommend "Nebraska" to you and hope this blogpost hasn't bored you to tears!

19 comments:

  1. I was going to post a comment about me looking out for this film when it eventually reaches our shores but before I could, I burst into tears and then lapsed into a coma.

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  3. Besides, would you take the word of a man who has spent the last week or so watching paint dry about anything he claims to have subsequently been interesting?

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    1. Good paint!...I mean "point".Pleased you deleted the second comment Cap'n as I sense it was quite threatening. Health hath no fury like a guy who's trying to kick his alcohol habit! And as I write this I can smell the Dulux "natural calico" - it's making me a little light-headed. Only two doors to go!

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    2. Not threatening, merely grammatically incorrect. Didn't fancy another derisive lecture from you!

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    3. "Derisive"? Don't you mean "helpful"?

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    4. Yes, but it is the way you tell 'em

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  4. I am probably one of your few readers who has lived both in Texas and in Nebraska. The Last Picture Show reminded me a great deal of small-town Texas life in the 1950s and 1960s, about which I have much first-hand knowledge. I haven't seen Nebraska, but I suspect that if it is accurate at all it is accurate only regarding certain slices of life among certain Nebraskans at certain moments in the past. My guess is that it probably doesn't portray accurately the three years I spent there at the U.S. Air Force's Underground Command Post at Strategic Air Command Headquarters. In other words, don't believe everything you see, even if it appears to have artistic merit. Case in point: Fargo.

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    1. Bob - it's the essence of the film that is real to me. I hope you get to see it - but not as documentary. I had forgotten that you spent some of your working life in Nebraska. Thank you for your interesting response.

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    2. Bob after being told repeatedly that Fargo had artistic merit and was a must see movie I watched it earlier this year. There are some things in life that one just puts down to experience.

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  5. As an unofficial " film reviewer" I take exception to the fact you think even MY REVIEWS COULD be boring.....
    Nebraska BTW , was shite

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    1. How VERY dare you

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    2. For playing Woody, Bruce Dern won the best actor prize at Cannes this year and Mark Kermode's review of the film finished - not with the word "shite" but "Bravo!"

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    3. Kermodes up his own arse

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  6. I was looking for a film to see the other day ~ I haven't seen this one hit out cinemas yet. The Railway Man is getting good reviews here at the moment ~ with Colin Firth, and made in Australia. Boxing Day is the big movie day here in AUS ~ but I could not think of anything worse than sitting in a packed theatre myself! just to see something on the day it is released. I think films are like wine ~ it comes down to personal taste and if you found merit in the movie and the investment of a few hours and £, then good on you. Now back to that painting!!

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    1. I was meant to paint pictures - like Katherine - not walls, doors, ceilings and bannisters. And wasn't slavery supposed to have been abolished?.."No more auction block for me...no more, no more"

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  7. You make some great comments and it will certainly influence me to take a look at this film.

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    1. If you do get to see it Red, I hope you enjoy "Nebraska" as much as I did. As I say,.in my view it is a superb film.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.