ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – N – Nebraska (2013)

nebrakaDirector: Alexander Payne

Writer: Bob Nelson (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach

 

Plot: An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Comedy Drama

 

Story: Nebraska starts as Woody Grant (Dern) an elder man who believes he has won the Million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes and wants to travel from Montana to Nebraska to receive his prize. The problem comes where he keeps trying to walk the journey which drives his wife Kate (Squibb) and two adult kids David (Forte) and Ross (Odenkirk) crazy.

After it becomes clear he just won’t give up on this journey David agrees to travel cross country with him in a journey which will bring the two closer than they have been in David’s life. While the story continues to unfold, we learn that this trip means more than the money to Woody and as the news spreads he might have won the money people from his past come out of the woodwork trying to stake their own claim to a piece of it all.

 

Thoughts on Nebraska

 

Characters/PerformanceWoody is an elderly man who just wants to know his place with the people who knew dying and his memory going, Woody just wants to go on this journey to have one last memory of something he achieved in his life. David is the younger son who is the softer of the two brothers, he sees this journey as his last chance to be with his father, learning about his past in a journey he never got to experience as a young boy. Kate is the wife of Woody who is getting tired of all the trouble Woody has been causing, you can see the love between the two as they have been spending years together through the good and bad moments.

Bruce Dern is fantastic in this role that deals with all the problems the character is dealing with. Will Forte who I only knew from comedy was also fantastic in this role with June Squibb getting nearly all of the laughs with her character’s rants.stara

StoryLooking at the story we see one man’s search for an extra memory before he feels he will finally lose his memory. This is a road trip movie that shows the bon between father and son can reach new levels at any age. I feel the story gives Woody a chance to look at where he grows up, where his friends from his youth are and put the past behind him once and for all.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure the family go on while simple is a cross-country journey, we have great light-hearted comedy going on throughout the film.

SettingsThe small town America setting shows how people can live full lives without getting out and when you return you can see how much you have escaped.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is one film I was always unsure of watching, I never got any good vibes from it but this was easily one of the best I have seen from the year of release.

 

Overall: Brilliant drama that you can understand every moment the characters feel.

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Table 19 (2017)

Director: Jeffrey Blitz

Writer: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass (Screenplay)

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rya Meyers, Charles Green, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, Tony Revolori, Margo Martindale, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb, Wyatt Russell

 

Plot: Eloise, having been relieved of maid of honor duties after being unceremoniously dumped by the best man via text, decides to attend the wedding anyway, only to find herself seated with five fellow unwanted guests at the dreaded Table 19.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Comedy

 

Story: Table 19 starts as we meet our six random as the table layout describes them guests to a wedding, we have former friend and partner of the bride’s brother Teddy (Russell) and now pushed out of the circle Eloise (Kendrick), couple who barley knows anyone Bina (Kudrow) and Jerry (Robinson), anti-social loner Rezno (Revolori), recently released cousin Walter (Merchant) and former Nanny Jo (Squibb).

The six find themselves on Table 19 in the corner and decide to make the most of the evening together after they learn they are the guests that were expected to decline their invitation, but the truth about their own lives will become clear to improve their futures.

 

Thoughts on Table 19

 

Characters/PerformanceEloise is the perfect example of what will happen if you become disliked by a bride just before the wedding you helped prepare, she has a bigger reason to be there and will learn more about why her life in this evening. Bina and Jerry are a long-married couple going through the slow times bickering through the wedding. Rezno is a teenager with a few friends, whose mum has controlled most of his life, he gets pushed into going to the wedding in hope of meeting someone. Walter is a former criminal that is invited to the keep the family open but not enough to be accepted.  Jo is the former nanny that is delighted to be invited but disappointed to be left out of the main family circle. The 6 all have their reasons to be at the wedding and help themselves improve the bad situation.

Performance wise, we all know I will watch anything with Anna Kendrick is and once again she doesn’t let us down, it is also great to see Lisa Kudrow in comedy once again, Craig Robinson is one of the comic actors you can see pull anything off. Tony Revolori continues to show he is someone we should be noticing in film having a comic ability unlike others and June Squibb is fast becoming an actress I want to see all of her films. Stephen Merchant steals the show here but to be fair I think everyone did a great job in this film with Wyatt Russell offering another genre piece for us to see if he can follow in his father’s footsteps.

StoryWe will all get invited to weddings, we will all have different seats and different connections to the couple. This film shows how different people can come together and learn the truth about situations to improve themselves in the most unlikely place, learning from unlikely people. The story is charming throughout which can be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy through the film works without becoming anything all laughs, we do get a romantic angle which comes off nicely too.

SettingsThe whole film is set in the wedding party which is great because it all happens in one night which shows us what can happen in one night.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that truly can be enjoyed, it has the laughs, the heart and the real effects of what you would expect from a wedding if you are an outsider.

 

Overall: One of the comedies of the year.

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