Movie Review – Nebraska

Yesterday, I went to a screening for Nebraska with a Q&A at the end with Bruce Dern, June Squibb, the screenwriter, Bob Nelson, Cinematographer, Phedon Papamichael, and producers, Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa.  There I am, waiting to go in…


Ok, that’s not me but we can pretend!  This is Hollywood. A random blonde became my stand in.  Totally legit.  Now, onto the movie… to put it simply… it was beautiful.  It is a simple story.  A story about family.  A story about what you will do for the people you love and the lengths you will go to see them happy.  I laughed out loud (many times).  I cried.  It made me think about life.

Here is a little trailer…

This movie is not a comedy, per se, but it was so funny.  Actors, when working on their craft, often talk about how in life sometimes you laugh when you are sad and cry when you are happy.  You never know what emotion you are going to have, you just have to live in the moment.  The audience will sometimes laugh out loud when they identify with the truth.  And it’s not the actors job to play the funny, you just have to play the reality of a situation and let the audience find the funny.

Well that’s exactly what happened in Nebraska. These actors found the truth in each of their characters, the truth in each situation and the truth in the story. It was so beautiful to watch the story unfold.  You really had no idea how it was going to turn out for Woody and his family.  And it turned out to be a perfect ending.

Now onto the Q&A.  This might have been where I cried the most.  I just loved soaking up the knowledge and experiences these amazing people have been through and the stories they had to tell.  (I just hope that, one day, I’ll get to be in their shoes/directors chairs.)


There seems to be a trend in Hollywood, that I’ve begun to make peace with myself, that it takes time (a lot of time) for “things” to “happen”.  It might appear (to the untrained eye) that things happen overnight, but that’s the magic of Hollywood!  It didn’t take as long as Dallas Buyers Club took to make (20 plus years) but it took 10 years for Nebraska to finally get made.

Bruce Dern told a story that every actor can identify with… I was crying the whole time he was telling the story.  Mainly because I know the feeling, and the fact that Bruce Dern (who has been in over 80 films) has felt the same, in a way, was reassuring to me and gave me hope… and it was also because he got choked up himself while telling the story.

Side note: My new Hollywood crush are these two below! :)


Here’s the story.  Bruce got the script for Nebraska 10 years ago.  Alexander Payne, the director, reached out to him, wanting him to play Woody.  Bruce said he couldn’t put the script down once he started reading it.  All of a sudden it was 10:30 at night when he finished it.   He couldn’t sleep that night because all he could think about was Woody.  He went out the next morning to Toys R Us and bought a little toy pick up truck (you’ll understand the significance, once you see the movie) and sent it to Payne with a note.  And then… he didn’t hear from him.

Months and months went by and then Payne ran into Laura Dern, Bruce’s daughter who was in Payne’s first movie.  Laura called up her Dad and told him that Alexander wanted her to tell him that he loved the pick up truck.  Bruce… to put it nicely… was a little annoyed. (It was cute because he’s a 77 year old man and he is allowed to be annoyed/bitter.)  He said Payne was off making Sideways and then off in Hawaii with Clooney making The Descendants.  And there had been no word on Nebraska.

And then finally, years later, he gets a call from Payne to come in and audition.  He went in, auditioned in front of a camera, and then he was sitting there on the couch afterwards… Alexander turned to him (Bruce is now starting to get choked up) and offered him the part.  He said that just getting this role was the biggest win for him in his career.  He said that this was the best role he’s ever had.  He couldn’t have been happier.  It was like getting called off the bench to play in the the bottom of the 9th of his career in a World Series game!

Amazing.  I could have sat there and listened to them talk for hours and I could sit here and tell you more…  but the most important thing to tell you is that this is a must see movie!!

Bruce’s story and Woody’s story in Nebraska left me with the same message.  They both go to show that Churchill was right…

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP!  Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.

It might not turn out exactly as planned or how you imagined it to be, but it could turn out better than expected.  Or that you just might discover a new purpose along the way that gives you the same fulfillment you had been hoping for… and the journey there is even better than the destination.


  1. Wow, Allie….I can’t wait to see this film! And I love your message at the end. xo

  2. Oh Allison Ott, this is a great post for many reasons…I love your hopefullness you certainly know what you want for your life. I have so much love iny heart for you. Your journey will be worth it. I must say ,even tho I don’ t see many movies I will go see this one. You bless my heart.

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