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Nebraska

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Nebraska_PosterNebraska is a low-budget, black and white movie starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte (Saturday Night Live), as well as Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad). Nebraska was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where Dern won the Best Actor award. Since then, Nebraska has been nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Alexander Payne), Best Actor (Dern), Best Supporting Actress (June Squibb, who plays Dern’s wife), and Best Original Screenplay (Bob Nelson). Nebraska has also enjoyed generally positive reviews. Buoyed by its critical success, Nebraska is now showing around the country, but I urge you to skip it.

Nebraska is being sold as a heart-warming comedy/drama about rural, salt-of-the-earth white Americans in Montana and Nebraska. But it is exactly the kind of movie about such people that one would expect to find favor in Cannes and Hollywood: sneering, contemptuous, and vulgar—an insult to the very people who are being swindled into buying tickets.

But Nebraska is not just vicious, it is also inept. And it is not even spectacular in its ineptitude. It is just curiously flat, hollow, and dull. The acting, directing, and screenplay are utterly mediocre. I’ve seen better movies on Lifetime.

Why, then, has such a mediocre movie been nominated for so many honors? Simply because it plays to the prejudices of the critics: urban, liberal, Jewish or spiritually Judaized, and anti-American for all the wrong reasons. (The New Right is anti-American because America is anti-white. The Left are anti-American because they are anti-white.)

Dern plays Woody Grant, a senile old drunk who lives in Billings, Montana. Woody has received a letter informing him that he might have won $1 million. It is just a gimmick for selling magazines. But Woody believes he has won, and is determined to go to Lincoln, Nebraska, to collect his winnings. No longer allowed to drive, Woody sets off on foot, only to be brought home by the police.

Finally, Woody’s son David (Will Forte) agrees to drive his father to Lincoln, using it as an opportunity to spend time with his father, who turns out to be a thoroughly unlikeable, self-absorbed individual. On the way, they have many adventures. For instance, Woody gets drunk, loses his dentures, and falls and cuts his head.

Eventually, Woody and David stop by Woody’s home town of Hawthorne, Nebraska. They are then joined by Woody’s wife Kate (June Squibb) and their other son Ross (Bob Odenkirk) for a family reunion. Kate is portrayed as a hateful, sex-obsessed, foul-mouthed shrew. Woody’s family are portrayed as dullards, vacantly swilling beer, staring at the television, and mumbling in monosyllables.

When news of Woody’s winnings gets around, family and friends start remembering old debts and trying to share in his good fortune. Other trivial events ensue. Finally, Woody gets to Lincoln, where he is informed that he is not a millionaire after all. Then David, ever the enabler, humors his father yet again, and the movie ends on a note that is supposed to be heart-warming but is really just pathetic.

As drama, Nebraska is flat and uninvolving. The director, screenwriter, and actors are too concerned with holding the characters at arm’s length and sneering at them to actually inhabit them and turn them into interesting human beings. The comic elements of Nebraska are entirely at the expense of the characters, but the satire is not particularly cutting or clever. It is merely smug and self-congratulatory. This could be a really evil film, but the director and screenwriter simply lack the talent to bring something like that off.

I do not deny that there is truth in this movie’s satire of working-class and rural white Americans. There are lots of obese, alcoholic, petty, greedy, vulgar, heartless, and tasteless white people in America. And I am every bit the urban SWPL as the director Payne and screenwriter Nelson. If anything, I am a far better educated and a far bigger snob. I look down on people like this too. But in the end, they are still my people, and I do not wish to see them mocked in their degraded state, particularly by denizens and profiteers of the junk culture industry that is one of the major causes of their corruption. I want to see them raised up, not put down. I want them to have better jobs, better food, better culture, and better lives. I want to destroy the system that degrades them, the system that produces crap like Nebraska. The creators of this movie, however, view its subjects across an abyss of alienation so vast that empathy cannot span it.

The saddest thing about this gulf, though, is that it is entirely artificial. Director Payne and screenwriter Nelson as well as the rest of the cast (aside from a couple of Mexican bit players) are all white Americans. As are most of the smug, superior urbanites who get such a good chuckle and a warm feeling of superiority from this film. The gulf, in short, is not between Jew and gentile, but between white and white: between town and country, rich and poor, big people and little people, progressive, “educated” people and “those people.” It is an ancient wound in the flesh of our people, where Jews and maggots now feast. It is a wound that must be healed by an overarching sense of white kinship and solidarity if our race is to be saved.

The flaws of Nebraska can best be appreciated by contrasting it with a similar movie, David Lynch’s The Straight Story, which is based on the true story of Alvin Straight, an elderly Midwesterner who, no longer able to drive a car, decided to ride his lawnmower across three states to visit his long-estranged brother who’d had a stroke. Lynch, who grew up in Missoula, Montana, tells Straight’s story with affection and empathy because, ultimately, both director and subject belong to the same people, and Lynch knows and feels it. Thus we are led to admire Alvin for his strength and resourcefulness, as well as his wisdom and kindness. The Straight Story is a portrait of a man who deals with the debilities of age with dignity.

Nebraska is, in effect, a remake of The Straight Story by a mediocre director and screenwriter who feel nothing but contempt for white Americans. I suggest that you return the favor.

 

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18 Comments

  1. Jack
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    An artful, mystical, uplifting novel, TO DANCE WITH THE WHITE DOG, also deals with the journey, albeit mostly interior, of an aged man after the death of his wife. The novel was written in 1990 by Southerner Terry Kay. Highly recommended. A movie followed in 1993 with Hume Cronyn & Jessica Tandy that received pretty good reviews, although I have never seen it it. Mr. Kay’s short novel, though, would clearly be antivenin for anyone snakebit by NEBRASKA.

  2. Nate
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    “But in the end, they are still my people, and I do not wish to see them mocked in their degraded state, particularly by denizens and profiteers of the junk culture industry that is one of the major causes of their corruption. I want to see them raised up, not put down.”

    This sums up my feelings on the matter.

    A few weeks ago, my wife was watching that Sunday morning show and they did a piece on the two actors in this movie. They showed a clip of the old woman in the movie repeating the line about some man always trying to get in her pants. This is really a cheap laugh. The show didn’t really hit upon what the movie was about. The moment I heard the movie title, I thought, another movie making fun of rural white folk. Oooh so edgy. I brought this up to my wife and she said I am always negative. I laughed.

  3. Shaun
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    To think I was kind of excited about seeing this. Actually it’s the only film I’ve wanted to see for the last few months. I’m glad you saved me the time.

    • Stronza
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      Though Trevor’s review was good, still, you have no idea what a vast P.O.S. this “film” is. It is quite beyond belief. It does not know if it is satire or trying to tell a real story. The characters are one-dimensional. The old lady character, Woody’s wife – well, if any woman of her age actually behaved that way, she would have been placed in an institution for the insane. Woody’s relatives are all slackjawed yokels. The “humor” is so forced I felt embarrassed for everyone in the theater who larfed themselves silly. Is this what we have come to?

      The fact that the movie was titled Nebraska reveals the evil intention of the producer of this film. If it had been called, say, “Woody’s Silly Trip” or something it would not have been so offensive. But rural midwesterners are all like this, bien sur!

      I hope this film is put on youtube so you can watch it there for free some day.

  4. Jaego
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Yes, as Aragorn tells Barliman, a days march from here are Enemies that would freeze your very heart and mind. We must love the wholesomeness of our People with a tender love and a savage hatred for those who would despoil them.

  5. Justin Huber
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never seen the movie The Straight Story. I just got on the IMDB to verify that it was made by the same David Lynch that made Mulholland Drive, a movie I found to be truly awful. I don’t watch hardly any movies anymore, but I’ll be sure to avoid Nebraska.

  6. RobRoySimmons
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    If your interest in movies extends to lesser fare you might look up “Last Man Standing.” It is a Bruce Willis movie with Dern as a supporting actor, set in Texas on the Mexican border during Prohibition. Its Irish versus Italian mobsters with Anglo-Saxons as the doormats.

  7. Stronza
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Can’t thank you enough for your review, Trevor. I rarely go to the movies anymore, but I got talked into attending this movie. What a fkg waste of my precious few dollars! To add insult to injury my companion loved it and can’t stop recommending it. I am going to send him your review.

    Feh. But maybe I’ll feel better after I see The Straight Story.

    I was wondering if there is any other review, anywhere, that more or less agrees with you.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted February 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t read any other reviews of the movie. Having wasted 2 hours of my life watching it, I did not want to piss away any more time on this stinker. Yes, watch The Straight Story. It is very moving and affectionate and the kind of film that would be produced all the time if our movie industry were not in the hands of alienated cosmopolitans taking their cues and money from hateful, culture-wrecking Jews.

  8. Lance
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Payne is anything but “inept” and his movies are great with strong pro-traditionalist messages, like sticking with one person you really love and the importance of family, the exact opposite of “Urban, liberal, Jewish or spiritually Judaized” . The author is an intellectual cripple, but it’s expected from someone who praises the crude films of Nolan and Peter Jackson not to have the intellectual capacity to appreciate the subtleties and complexities of Payne’s movies.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted February 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Saying it doesn’t make it so.

  9. Maple Leaf
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    What “GoodFellas” did for Italians, the “Wild Bunch” did to express white angst!
    Clowns like Tarantino spew out violence and dumb unlikeable people, due to their polluted vision of Whiteness! They see us as old, with Alzheimer’s and not producing anything of use!
    Having been to Billings and the rest of Montana, I only met Mr Woody in my travels, he had a pickup with a gun rack and a good attitude towards life!
    Someday ‘Pike’ will return!

  10. Petronius
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Too bad, the trailers I saw looked as if it would a sympathetic movie towards the country folks.

    I always forget Lynch also made The Straight Story, which kind of quietly hides beneath his more spectacular trademark work. It has one of the most moving movie endings I know.

  11. tom goodrich
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    with neatness and dispatch, this is how you flush crap down a toilet. great review!

  12. Gunnar Tyrsson
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    How can our folk continue to pay good money and absorb this stuff? They no longer even bother to hide not just their contempt, but their outright hatred for us. What the hell will it take?

    Good point, though, about the film being truly evil if it was only any good. I’ve gotten that sense with some films that drip with contempt for us, but come off more as just some form of adolescent rage because they basically suck. I guess that the squamous alien things that breed in Hollywood let their emotions get in the way.

  13. Posted February 4, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Listened to people at ‘work’ last week talking about how ‘of course’ they loved this NY Critics-Certified Genius movie. I think it may be a good acid test for who’s an enemy and who isn’t.

    Your peroration on Lynch reminds me of Leavis on James’ The Bostonians:

    “James understands the finer civilization of New England, and is the
    more effective as an ironic critic of it because he is not merely an
    ironic critic. He understands it because he both knows it from
    inside and sees it from outside with the eye of a professional student
    of civilization who has had much experience of non-Puritan cultures.”

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