Oscar Project 2014: ‘Nebraska’

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Last year, I trekked to Columbia’s Ragtag Cinema after a snowstorm to see my final Oscar nominee of the year, “Amour,” a sad movie about an old couple. I really didn’t like it, I thought it was depressing and I didn’t enjoy it at all.

So I was wary when, last week, I trekked to Ragtag after a snowstorm to see my final Oscar nominee of the year, “Nebraska,” a movie about a guy and his aging father that I assumed would be sad because it’s filmed in black and white (logical, I know). I thought I was headed for an unfortunate case of repeated history.

Nope! Very wrong. Parts of Nebraska were sad, yes, but it was also very funny and very clever, and I enjoyed it a lot.

To me, at its heart, Nebraska was a movie about family, and about people and the relationships between them. It’s about how people affect one another’s lives and what people will do for one another. I loved watching all the lines play out, between father and son, brother and brother, old business partners, crazy distant relatives, the works. And none of it felt fake, either; they all felt like real people, vaguely familiar.

Before the movie started, the Ragtag worker said that “Nebraska” was a  “Midwestern” film, and I wasn’t sure what he meant by that. But as I watched, I understood. If you’re from the Midwest, I think you’ll get it, too.

Parts of “Nebraska” made me laugh; parts made me uncomfortable. There were a lot of emotions involved throughout the film, and — this is a stupid thing to say, forgive me — but at the end I felt pretty warm inside. Not warm and fuzzy, just, you know, warm.

Best lines: Any time the mother, Kate (June Squibb), opened her mouth. Gracious.

My verdict: Enjoyed. Would highly recommend and watch again, though probably not buy.

Oscar-nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Leading, Bruce Dern), Best Actress (Supporting, June Squibb), Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Writing (Original Screenplay).

Rookie Opinion: I’d love to see June Squibb win, because I liked her character a lot. Bruce Dern was also wonderful, but Best Actor is (I think) the hardest race this year, so I doubt he’ll get that. I don’t know much about cinematography, but I thought this film was lovely; being up against “Gravity” is probably bad, though. For screenplay, I’d put this and “Her” in my top two. And I don’t think Director or Picture will happen. But “Nebraska” was great! It was so great. This is such a strong year.

*~*COMING SOON*~* This was my last Best Picture nominee! I’m 9 for 9. I will eventually have predictions, but probably not until closer to March 2. I’m still judging. Stay tuned.

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