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post #1 of 44 Old 02-12-2014, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
86





Studio and Year: Paramount - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 114 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 3.0 Master Audio, French/Spanish/German Dolby Digital 3.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, German
Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, Stacy Keach, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Music by: Mark Orton
Written by: Bob Nelson
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 25, 2014







"Fathers and sons…."


Film Synopsis:

From Academy Award® winner Alexander Payne, the director of Sideways and The Descendants, comes the film that critics are calling “An American Masterpiece.” When a father (Bruce Dern) and his adult son (Will Forte) embark on a journey to claim a million-dollar prize, what begins as a fool’s errand becomes a search for the road to redemption.

My Take:

Nebraska is about a disconnected father and son that take a road trip from Montana to Lincoln Nebraska, after the father receives a sweepstakes letter informing him that he MAY be the winner of a million dollars. While that all sounds very simple, and it is, the film isn’t about whether or not he wins the money but it’s about the discoveries along the way as a son tries to break through to a father he doesn't understand.

Alexander Payne’s films aren’t difficult to spot. His characters are generally earthy, awkwardly funny, and the stories speak to the human condition from a place that seems genuinely identifiable at least on some level. As soon as I saw the trailer for Nebraska I was all in and couldn’t wait to see it. It is a wonderful dramatic film that takes a snapshot of a family that hasn’t had an easy time of it. Parents, Woody and Kate, come from a small town in central Nebraska where everyone knows everyone and everyone’s business. The couple has two adult sons, David and Ross, who are essentially products of having grown up in a household that began with parents who probably didn’t marry for the right reasons.

Woody was a disinterested father who drank and Kate was an overbearing mother who resented Woody’s callousness as well as her sons spurned affection towards their father. Ross is moderately successful, working as a local news broadcaster while David works in a home theater store and is dealing with the recent breakup of a two year relationship. Woody is getting on in years and suffers from a bit of absentmindedness which is exacerbated by years of boozing and a nagging complaining wife that relentlessly reminds him of how disappointing he is. David and Ross have few good memories of growing up with their father and vice versa.

When Woody receives the million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize it sets him off in a way that his family can’t understand as he is determined to get to Lincoln Nebraska in order to claim it. Despite everyone telling him that it is simply a marketing ploy Woody continues to attempt to get there on his own by hook or by crook. It’s when David finally acquiesces and agrees to take him that the best parts of this story take shape.

Nebraska is a character driven film derived from the relationship between a father and son who for years lived together but apart. What they discover is that the most important aspect of their journey is that they took it together. None of the situational drama in this film is overtly original. What makes it special is the nuance found in the subtext of the story as it pertains to the characters and their interaction. The things that are said and done have an authenticity based upon what could easily be understood given the circumstances. The drama is rarely melodramatic and is offset by awkward moments of levity that have a seamless quality that reminds us the barriers between generations can sometimes blur leading to an understanding and compassion we didn’t see upon first glance.

I loved the cast. Bruce Dern, Will Forte and June Squibb give terrific performances, with Dern and Squibb receiving Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively. As a unit the entire cast is deserving of praise as together they make the film what it is with each getting their moment to shine and doing so brilliantly. Overall Nebraska received 6 Academy Award Nominations including Best Picture and Best Director Alexander Payne. I watched it with my wife and we loved it. Nebraska is simply one of the best films of the year and entitled to all of the accolades bestowed upon it.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for language.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 80

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Monochrome reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699


Nebraska comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video with an average bitrate of 38 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 3.0 Master Audio sound with an average bitrate of 2 Mbps.

Looking at films from a “colorless” perspective is something that can take a little getting used. It isn’t an issue for me which allowed me to appreciate how wonderful this presentation is. Resolution is exquisite as images onscreen appear lucid and sharp with crisp definition that occasionally takes a near infinite perspective. Close ups reveal lots of fine detail in the faces, hair and clothing worn by the cast members. Some have expressive faces that reveal every crack, furrowed brow and wrinkle. Finer detail, that might otherwise be missed such as the etched/worn surfaces on old buildings or the texture of a road surface are clearly discernible.

This is the case with interior shots as well which adds a wonderful sense of dimension to the image making it appear more lifelike. Blacks and contrast have ample dynamic range which plays very well against the film’s gradational shades of gray. Whites exhibit multistage delineation so that the blend of mixed content onscreen has appreciable depth of field. While there is some natural loss of visibility in dark backgrounds the level of shadow detail is quite good. Even in black and white I could detect the differing tonal qualities among the fair skinned members of the cast. Grain is presented in fine layers that provide texture without overemphasis. This is a pristinely rendered video presentation that looks terrific in high definition.

The lossless DTS-HD MA 3.0 soundtrack won’t test the limits of your surround sound system but it capably handles this front loaded audio presentation. It yields crisp, well textured dialogue that reaches far into the room and renders even subtle variances in tonal character or vocal inflections clearly. Good dynamic range is apparent but rarely tested by the recorded elements however the sounds/dialogue contained therein has ample depth. This is decidedly a dialogue driven film. Based upon the thematic tone of the story I think this presentation is not only appropriate but sounds quite good.



Bonus Features:

  • (HD) The making of Nebraska – 28 minute featurette

  • Bonus DVD

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy




Final Thoughts:

Nominated for 6 Academy Awards, Nebraska is evocative, funny, wonderfully enacted/directed and simply one of the best films of 2013. It makes its way onto Blu-ray in a solid offering from Paramount Home Entertainment that features excellent high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound quality and a single but complimentary bonus feature that offers insights from the filmmakers and cast. This one comes highly recommended. Enjoy!




attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 44 Old 02-12-2014, 08:20 AM
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Thanks for reviewing this, Ralph.

I like the cast, and after reading your comments on it I definitely intend to check this one out on blu-ray! cool.gif

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post #3 of 44 Old 02-12-2014, 03:08 PM
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I am very interested in seeing this one too. It sounds like it has a similar vibe to The Straight Story from a few years back...which was very good also.

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post #4 of 44 Old 02-13-2014, 05:39 AM
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when I saw this movie in the theaters... it had a VERY ANNOYING grain and texture to the image... like snow from old cathode ray television tubes. does the BD release take care of that dither pattern in the image?

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post #5 of 44 Old 02-13-2014, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchu18 View Post

when I saw this movie in the theaters... it had a VERY ANNOYING grain and texture to the image... like snow from old cathode ray television tubes. does the BD release take care of that dither pattern in the image?

There were no issues of that kind when I saw Nebraska in the theater. I would hope the blu ray version has a great picture.

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post #6 of 44 Old 02-14-2014, 01:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchu18 View Post

when I saw this movie in the theaters... it had a VERY ANNOYING grain and texture to the image... like snow from old cathode ray television tubes. does the BD release take care of that dither pattern in the image?

Greetings,

As stated in my review the image quality is excellent. Grain is indeed present but its rendering is natural.


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post #7 of 44 Old 02-14-2014, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

As stated in my review the image quality is excellent. Grain is indeed present but its rendering is natural.


Regards,

thank you very much. it would have never stopped me from buying this title because the movie was so damn good... I just found it very unsettling to watch it like that in the theater. I guess it was more of a function of the digital file they had or the projector.

will buy this first day release.

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post #8 of 44 Old 02-14-2014, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchu18 View Post

thank you very much. it would have never stopped me from buying this title because the movie was so damn good... I just found it very unsettling to watch it like that in the theater. I guess it was more of a function of the digital file they had or the projector.

will buy this first day release.

Greetings,

You're welcome. Hope you enjoy it..! smile.gif


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post #9 of 44 Old 02-14-2014, 11:17 AM
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I went to the same high school as Alexander Payne (though he is quite a bit older).  I love the movie Sideways - my favorite Payne film. "Nebraska" portrays small town life pretty accurately though I grew up and live in Omaha.  A very enjoyable film but growing old does not look fun.   


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A good movie but really it was very slow and reminded me of Senfield. a movie about nothing but well told.
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slow is good...

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchu18 View Post

slow is good...

Exactly. Not every movie needs CGI and explosions. Plot driven movies are rare today and a breath of fresh air.

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post #13 of 44 Old 02-22-2014, 11:51 AM
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Not every movie needs CGI and explosions.
David O. Russell did American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, and The Fighter (2010).
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post #14 of 44 Old 02-23-2014, 03:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchu18 View Post

slow is good...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderDelarg View Post

Exactly. Not every movie needs CGI and explosions. Plot driven movies are rare today and a breath of fresh air.

Amen, guys...I usually use the term "deliberately paced", and I have no problem with that sort of direction at all. In fact, it would be nearly impossible for me to be a Jarmusch fan if I didn't feel that way!
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post #15 of 44 Old 02-25-2014, 01:09 PM
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^^ Talking about Jarmusch in the Nebraska thread makes sense to me, here are some little impressions I wrote about Nebraska a while ago:

"Nebraska - 8

Simple and competent in execution, dense thematic substance.
To me it was a contemplative and bittersweet experience which made me reflect about several things, mostly about the burden of senility and father-son/son-father relationship.
Stranger Than Paradise from Jim Jarmusch comes to my memory... the slow pace, the black and white cinematography and reminiscent camera work, the mix of comedy with drama in a plot where nothing spectacularly memorable happens no matter the absurdness of the situations the protagonists live through are some of the elements shared by both works, but they are still very different in premisse, substance and qualities. If not for occasional superfluous directing decisions to add comical moments which distracted more than anything else and a few lackluster acting performances, I'd rate Nebraska higher but I can not judge Jarmusch movie the same way, for example.
I enjoyed this Alexander Payne work very much, I wish it was just a bit more polished."
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkl10 View Post

^^ Talking about Jarmusch in the Nebraska thread makes sense to me, here are some little impressions I wrote about Nebraska a while ago:

"Nebraska - 8

Simple and competent in execution, dense thematic substance.
To me it was a contemplative and bittersweet experience which made me reflect about several things, mostly about the burden of senility and father-son/son-father relationship.
Stranger Than Paradise from Jim Jarmusch comes to my memory... the slow pace, the black and white cinematography and reminiscent camera work, the mix of comedy with drama in a plot where nothing spectacularly memorable happens no matter the absurdness of the situations the protagonists live through are some of the elements shared by both works, but they are still very different in premisse, substance and qualities. If not for occasional superfluous directing decisions to add comical moments which distracted more than anything else and a few lackluster acting performances, I'd rate Nebraska higher but I can not judge Jarmusch movie the same way, for example.
I enjoyed this Alexander Payne work very much, I wish it was just a bit more polished."


I love hearing other peoples' takes on Jarmusch...he's my favorite director and it's always interesting seeing how others react/relate to his style. I think I'm going to try and watch Nebraska tonight to compare and contrast. Although now I"m in the mood to watch a Jarmusch film lol...Down by Law has been calling to me for a third viewing for some time now.
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post #17 of 44 Old 02-25-2014, 05:40 PM
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My short impressions of Stranger than Paradise, I liked it very much.
https://www.avsforum.com/t/1259578/review-films-of-the-1980s-here/210#post_24219023

Still have to see other movies from Jarmusch.
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post #18 of 44 Old 02-25-2014, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkl10 View Post

My short impressions of Stranger than Paradise, I liked it very much.
https://www.avsforum.com/t/1259578/review-films-of-the-1980s-here/210#post_24219023

Still have to see other movies from Jarmusch.

Nice job on that...you wrote that up beautifully, and I agree 100% with what you said. If that was your first exposure to Jarmusch, you're in for a fun ride! I'd go to Down by Law next...it's a top 10 of all -time for me. I'm also a Roberto Benigni fan, so seeing him in this one with Tom Waits and John Lurie was really entertaining. Great chemistry among the three of them. If you like Roberto at all, then Night on Earth might be a good choice after that. But no matter which way you go, you'll find lots of interesting, yet subtle bits of entertainment smile.gif
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post #19 of 44 Old 02-26-2014, 08:12 AM
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Benigni is great in "Night on Earth"... and more recently I love both "Broken Flowers" and especially "Limits of Control"

both movies are very deep.
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Benigni is great in "Night on Earth"... and more recently I love both "Broken Flowers" and especially "Limits of Control"

both movies are very deep.

Limits of Control is the only one I haven't seen yet...I need to check that one out asap.

Just saw that Jim has a new one coming out in April...looks like he's put together an amazing pair of leads in Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston. Film is called "Only Lovers Left Alive" and has a vampire theme...this is going to be very interesting!
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post #21 of 44 Old 03-09-2014, 08:19 PM
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Ralph,

I watched Nebraska and thoroughly enjoyed it. After pointing this out in the Sony 1000ES thread, our good friend Mark Haflich guessed that I watched this film at my standard 6500K color temp setting and told me that I made a mistake by not using the 5400k color temp setting. He said this would make a much more pleasant viewing experience. What color temp did you use? Did you know about this approach, and if so, what are your thoughts? I'm sure your loyal fans would be interested in your opinion.

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post #22 of 44 Old 03-10-2014, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Ralph,

I watched Nebraska and thoroughly enjoyed it. After pointing this out in the Sony 1000ES thread, our good friend Mark Haflich guessed that I watched this film at my standard 6500K color temp setting and told me that I made a mistake by not using the 5400k color temp setting. He said this would make a much more pleasant viewing experience. What color temp did you use? Did you know about this approach, and if so, what are your thoughts? I'm sure your loyal fans would be interested in your opinion.

Greetings,

Ben, I calibrate my projector to the D6500k color temperature. This is how I watch all of the films that I review. I am not saying that what Mark suggests is wrong but setting my projector to the D5500k preset (there is no D5400k setting on my JVC) isn't something that I would do. Properly calibrated there shouldn't be any reason that a given display wouldn't be able to provide and accurate and pleasing viewing experience at D6500k.

As you can see based upon my review of Nebraska I was very pleased indeed... wink.gif


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post #23 of 44 Old 03-10-2014, 07:41 AM
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Thanks Ralph. My thought process is aligned with yours, but I may try it out on the next BW movie and experiment. It was an interesting thought from a guy who always seems on his video game.

Here's a link with some background for those that are interested: http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/secrets-q-a/secrets-home-theater-q-a/black-and-white-movies-how-to-calibrate.html

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post #24 of 44 Old 03-10-2014, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ben Withrow View Post

Thanks Ralph. My thought process is aligned with yours, but I may try it out on the next BW movie and experiment. It was an interesting thought from a guy who always seems on his video game.

Here's a link with some background for those that are interested: http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/secrets-q-a/secrets-home-theater-q-a/black-and-white-movies-how-to-calibrate.html

Greetings,

I have read that Ben and while I certainly think that it makes for an interesting option I wouldn't use it for review purposes. Thanks again for posing the question.. smile.gif


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post #25 of 44 Old 03-10-2014, 08:00 AM
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I'm not trying to convince anyone, it just peaked my curiosity. Keep up the great work.

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post #26 of 44 Old 03-26-2014, 07:05 AM
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I finally got around to seeing this, and wow, what an absolutely beautiful piece of film making. I connected with this story on a deeper level than I expected. It brought back so many memories of when I would go back to my hometown of Erie PA to visit my grandparents. I had a lot of great aunts and uncles, so elderly relatives played a significant role in my upbringing and I have just an endless number of memories related to that. Some of the houses in Hawthorne looked SO much like the house my grandparents lived in. So it already felt very familiar to me even before I began getting much into the characters and the story....but once I did, I was hooked.

Sideways is a top-10 favorite film for me, and I think Alexander Payne and I see life in much the same way...at least I have to assume we do, because there is an authenticity to the components of his films that really allow me to immerse in all that is going on. Movies like this one are among my very favorite...simple, yet layers upon layers of family and interpersonal dynamics that allow you to feel as if you really know these characters in a way that extends well beyond a 2-hour introduction. I truly enjoyed this film....thanks for putting it on my radar, Ralph!
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post #27 of 44 Old 03-26-2014, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I finally got around to seeing this, and wow, what an absolutely beautiful piece of film making. I connected with this story on a deeper level than I expected. It brought back so many memories of when I would go back to my hometown of Erie PA to visit my grandparents. I had a lot of great aunts and uncles, so elderly relatives played a significant role in my upbringing and I have just an endless number of memories related to that. Some of the houses in Hawthorne looked SO much like the house my grandparents lived in. So it already felt very familiar to me even before I began getting much into the characters and the story....but once I did, I was hooked.

Sideways is a top-10 favorite film for me, and I think Alexander Payne and I see life in much the same way...at least I have to assume we do, because there is an authenticity to the components of his films that really allow me to immerse in all that is going on. Movies like this one are among my very favorite...simple, yet layers upon layers of family and interpersonal dynamics that allow you to feel as if you really know these characters in a way that extends well beyond a 2-hour introduction. I truly enjoyed this film....thanks for putting it on my radar, Ralph!

Greetings,

Terrific! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this AJ.. smile.gif


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post #28 of 44 Old 03-26-2014, 08:33 AM
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Greetings,

Terrific! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this AJ.. smile.gif


Regards,


It really ended up being therapy for me...you probably saw that Ralph Wilson, owner of the Bills, passed away a couple days ago. I've been a diehard Bills fan since I moved to Rochester back in 1986...they Bills are an absolutely massive part of my life, so this was really a huge blow for all Bills fans. Not only have we lost our pioneer owner and a great man, but the prospect of being without a team has now become a very real fear. So following your recommendation for Nebraska was a diversion I was in great need of!
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post #29 of 44 Old 03-26-2014, 03:32 PM
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Ralph -- Thanks as always for an informative review. I saw Nebraska in the theater and really liked it. Bruce Dern was wonderful but June Squibb, who played the Dern character's wife blew me away. Her Oscar nominated performance was a performance of a lifetime in the role of a lifetime. As others have said, Nebraska takes its time, to say the least. Nevertheless, its languid pace works well with the often elegiac but also often hilarious tone of the film. Despite its measured pace, it was still less that two hours long. Highly recommended, 8 Stars out of 10.
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post #30 of 44 Old 03-31-2014, 06:52 AM
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The movie was paced like a standard Alexander Payne movie, even Election had a measured pace, and I felt the pacing was better than standard Jarmusch. I just wanted to toss in my $0.02, really liked this movie, but I couldn't help letting out a big ol "Man, getting old f'n sucks" near the end. It definitely resonates.
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