Alexander Payne has been someone who has been looked at as one of the most consistent directors in the business. Many of his films have received Oscar recognition and even his cult classics are looked upon favorably. His last effort The Descendants (2011), that won the Oscar for Adapted Screenplay, I found to be one of the more overrated films of that year. Even as time settles in for the film, it looks to be at the bottom of his filmography, which isn’t a poor showing if that’s your worst efforts.
His newest film Nebraska starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte have received mostly positive ink out of Cannes so far with many feeling that Dern does an impeccable job in the lead role. Last updated Oscar Predictions, I placed Dern in the #1 spot for Lead Actor. With a clever and sentimental campaign, this father of the great Laura Dern may nab his second Oscar nomination. Also, let’s keep an eye on June Squibb.
Check out the quotes and reactions down below:
Jessica Kiang from The Playlist describes Payne’s career up until now with faint praise for his newest film:
There’ve been great masses of critical laurels laid at Alexander Payne’s door over the years, some, in our eyes, more earned than others. When it really hits home, the director’s quiet humanism and wry humor can yield perceptive insights, especially into certain trademark areas of expertise: family dynamics, the vanities and follies of aging men, the reluctance to let go of old dreams. But the downside to this kind of blanket approbation is that, because we know what to look for in an Alexander Payne movie, sometimes we might kid ourselves that we find things that aren’t really there. And so, we come trundling to ‘Nebraska,’ already being buzzed about as a major player here in Cannes, and certainly not a bad film in any way, but one that failed to engage us with anything like the kind of witty perceptiveness we found in, for example, “Sideways,” to reference the other two-man road trip-style film of Payne’s. A journey whose destination is clearly signposted from the very beginning, too often we found ourselves staring out of the windows at a blank and featureless landscape; our trip to “Nebraska” got us where we needed to go in the end, but didn’t take the most interesting or diverting route.
Jamie Graham of TotalFilm says:
To compare Nebraska to David Lynch’s The Straight Story or Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show (here, as there, a mythic dimension resides) is to over-hype and to burden future viewers with unfair expectations. Its resonance is slighter, its quality lesser.
Scott Foundas from Variety praises the use of Bruce Dern:
Dern is simply marvelous in a role the director reportedly first offered to Gene Hackman, but which is all the richer for being played by someone who was never as big of a star. Looking suitably disheveled and sometimes dazed, he conveys the full measure of a man who has fallen short of his own expectations, resisting the temptation to overplay, letting his wonderfully weathered face course with subtle shades of sorrow, self-loathing and indignation. Given the less innately attention-getting role (a la Tom Cruise in “Rain Man”), Forte does similarly nuanced work, his scenes with Dern resonating with the major and minor grievances that lie unresolved between parents and children.
Jeff Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere says:
So let’s underline the reality: Nebraska is a “good”, well-made film. It’s just not as good (which is to say smart, lively, intriguing, touching or deep) asSideways or Election or The Descendants or Citizen Ruth…sorry. Respectable but minor. And that’s not a tragedy because there’s always the next one. And if everybody else loves the shit out of Nebraska, terrific. I’m not one to stand in the way.
The real star of NEBRASKA? June Squibb, who gets all the good lines, dominates all the strong moments. #cannes
— erickohn (@erickohn) May 23, 2013
NEBRASKA (C) Less misanthropic, more amusing than Descendants, but just as patronising. Aren’t Midwesterners simple? Aren’t old folks funny?
— Guy Lodge (@GuyLodge) May 23, 2013
#cannes2013 Nebraska – Like the Coens w/ idl, Payne works outside comfort zone, unclear about the need for b&w, but welcome change of pace
— ioncinema (@ioncinema) May 23, 2013
Alexander Payne’s #cannes2013 entry Nebraska is sublime – funny, wise, sweet and mythic. Best American road movie since the Straight Story.
— Jason Solomons (@JasonCritic) May 23, 2013
Nebraska – maybe Payne’s best? This and Sideways. But this is a richer experience overall.
— Sasha Stone (@AwardsDaily) May 23, 2013