This time around the writing is handled by Bob Nelson, who has delivered a word perfect script, but there is no denying Payne's majestic directors touch throughout this touching story of Woody Grant (played by veteran Hollywood actor Bruce Dern in probably the finest performance of his career), a bad tempered old man who receives a sweepstake letter informing him he has won a million dollars and decides to walk the 850 miles to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect it. He refuses to listen to reason when told by his long suffering family this is just a standard letter sent to everybody and the hook is you must have the lucky numbers to actually get the cash. Instead he plods on regardless by foot, leading his son David (US funnyman Will Forte), whose own life seems to be on a fast track to nowehre, offering to drive him to the company's head office, obviously hoping the trip will lead to some father-son bonding.
The journey gets underway and although the story line is quite simple, the execution and delivery is quite magical as we delve into the lives of Woody and his family, including his no nonsense wife Kate (June Squibb) and his other son Ross (another comic, Bob Odenkirk). Dern brings Woody's pain and boredom to the screen with a realism, allowing us to see him as a real person with flaws, but also vunerabilities that bring us closer to him. His character is no fool, he just believes in what he has been told......he has won a million dollars and he want to collect. You get the feeling he views getting this vast amount of money as a victory of sort, an achievement that his life has not been totally wasted. He revels in his new found celebrity status amongst his community as a rich man, although he has yet to receive a penny.
Here is a 2 minute featurette on 'Nebraska' with Bruce Dern and Will Forte:
Here is a 27 minute clip - 'Nebraska' Press Conference held at the 51st New York Film Festival with director Alexander Payne and stars Bruce Dern, Will Forte and June Squibb