MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Bruce Dern, Will Forte. Drama. Written by Bob Nelson. Directed by Alexander Payne.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A self-centered, alcoholic old man desperately wants to believe that he has won a sweepstakes. Determined to go to Lincoln, Nebraska in order to retrieve his million dollar prize, he keeps sneaking out of the house and attempting to walk through the dead of winter from Billings, Montana to Lincoln. Finally, his estranged son drives him there in hope the two can bond along the way. They stop over to visit relatives and former friends from the old manís youth, only to find them greedy to get some of the money (even though there is not money). Itís a road picture without Bob or Bing or Dorothy Lamour.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I appreciate the technical and artistic proficiency associated with this production, as well as the visual style and the deadpan humor, and certainly Mr. Dern is worthy of Oscar attention this year for his pickled grump. ButÖyes, thereís a but attached (so to speak), but itís kind of depressing to view a film so full of family strife. I guess we learn from watching the greed, the selfishness and the stupidity of characters on the screen. Hopefully weíll examine our own relationships after viewing such a storyline, and see if we can improve them before itís too late. But, Lord, itís depressing watching this bunch. I guess, for me, the main complaint comes from the fact that among their faults, they are also portrayed as a family absolutely devoid of spiritual awareness. Godís name and Christís are thrown around with secularist abandon by nearly everyone. And I couldnít find one portrayal of a religious person in the entire cast of characters. They make a film about Midwesterners and never show a Christian? I live in the Midwest, and I can attest that only a filmmaker with an agenda could manage that. Perhaps he is from the Midwest and perhaps his little world consisted of non-churchgoers, but to do a story about the Midwest and leave out the Christian component seems myopic.

At a gravesite, the elderly leadís wife sees a tombstone of a former suitor. The old woman stands before the stone, raises her dress and says, ďSee what you missed,Ē or something to that effect. I mention this because much of the humor in this dark film comes from crudity. Crudity, or what appears to be making fun of the Midwest temperament.

I suppose the film could remind me of how fortunate I have been in my life to have such close relationships with my parents. But I didnít need this film for that.

DVD Alternatives: Places in the Heart. A literate script presents a determined widow (Sally Field) bent on saving her farm during the '30s Depression. Contains perhaps the greatest ending to a film this buff has ever seen. A repentant adulterer is finally forgiven, when his wife, moved by the pastor's sermon, takes her husband's hand during the service, signifying the restoring of a relationship through Christ's love. Just as we put our hankies away after that moving moment, another symbolic healing occurs. I won't give that one away. Trust me, it's powerful! Rated PG (some mild language, implied adulterous affair Ė but it furthers the story and it is not explicit).

The Trip to Bountiful. Geraldine Page won an Oscar for her role in this simple but well-told tale of a discontented widow who decides to make a last pilgrimage to her childhood home. The beautiful rendition of Softly and Tenderly by Christian performer Cynthia Clawson is worth the rental price. PG (contains a couple of expletives).

The Straight Story. True story of Alvin Straightís patient odyssey from Laurens, Iowa to Mt. Zion, Wisconsin to visit an estranged brother. Unable to drive and with no other option open to him, Alvin was forced to make the journey on a lawnmower. He encounters a number of strangers, from a teenage runaway to a fellow WWII veteran. By sharing his lifeís earned wisdom, Alvin has a profound impact on these people. Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Harry Dean Stanton. Rated G.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Paramount Vantage

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Coarse and crude language throughout, nearly every character uses offensive language.

Profanity: At least 13 profane uses of Godís name or Christís.

Violence: A man gets punched in the face; an elderly man, intoxicated, falls and bumps his head, calling for stitches, which the filmmaker shows in detail.

Sex: Several sexual conversations, mostly from an old woman.

Nudity: I caught none

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Lots of drinking.

Other: None

Running Time: 115 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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