Bruce Dern is Woody Grant. Old, crusty, stubborn and a man of few words, Woody gets a notice from a publishing house saying he's won $1 million. We all get them and know we really didn't win.
Woody, who has no driver's license, thinks he has and is determined to walk from his Montana home to Nebraska to claim the prize. Dutiful son David -- done nicely by ex-30 Rock and SNL comedian Will Forte -- takes pity on his dad and agrees to drive him there.
A stop along the way in Woody's hometown and an impromptu family reunion produces delightful surprises, some laughs and a reconnection and reconciliation of a father and his caretaker son.
Dern is one of the best actors ever. He has a career full of great parts. Too many went unnoticed and unappreciated. Nebraska is not one of them. With few lines, a distracted, almost drunken delivery and a shuffling walk, Dern is equally unlikable and lovable. He digs deep for this one, and it's the best performance by anybody in any movie this year.
June Squibb, who plays Woody's out-of-patience wife, steals scene after scene as she reveals things about their former life in the hometown. Forte serves as the movie's deadpan anchor, and he's terrific.
Writer/director Alexander Payne just directs this one. Bob Nelson writes the most excellent script. Payne shoots the movie in glorious black and white. It sets a perfect tone for a wonderful story and three brilliant performances and some awesome supporting work.
Best acting awards, supporting acting awards, directing awards and writing awards await Nebraska. It is the year's best movie. Period. End of discussion. See it.
-- Mr. Movie's most excellent reviews can also be found on his blog at www.tri-cityherald.com/arts/mrmovie.
Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated R for mature themes, language. Its playing at the Carmike 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.