The Playlist

Watch: Alexander Payne's 15-Minute 1985 UCLA Film School Short 'Carmen'

  • By Cain Rodriguez
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  • April 22, 2014 11:00 AM
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It’s always fun to see the evolution of a filmmaker’s voice and thanks to the power of the internet we can peer even further back through a director’s body of work. Case in point, an odd short film from Alexander Payne has been unearthed, an effort that was completed over a decade before the “Nebraska” director would get a shot at his feature-length film.

Review: Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska' Starring Bruce Dern, Will Forte & Bob Odenkirk

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • November 15, 2013 11:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Nebraska
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," 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.

Interview: Will Forte Talks 'Nebraska,' What He Learned From Alexander Payne & Bruce Dern & Status Of 'MacGruber 2'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 14, 2013 2:53 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Nebraska
There are a number of surprises nestled within Alexander Payne's warmly homespun "Nebraska." Like all of Payne's films, it dangles on the precipice between drama and comedy, this time following an elderly man (a revelatory Bruce Dern) as he travels to Nebraska to collect his winnings from a phony sweepstakes mailer he's received. Accompanying him on the journey is his son, played by Will Forte, who is both humoring him and looking for a way to connect with his emotionally distant father. And it's Forte's performance that might be the biggest, most delightful surprise in "Nebraska." This is, after all, an actor who, just a couple of years ago, waddled around on screen with a stalk of celery sticking out of his butthole. Talk about range.

Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska' Unloads A State Full Of New Photos, Plus Soundtrack Deets & A First Listen

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 4, 2013 2:20 PM
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Nebraska
The long road, the vast underpopulated horizons of the Midwest and feelings of regret and pangs of remorse—these are familiar ingredients for filmmaker Alexander Payne, and he spins them into widescreen black-and-white for his latest, "Nebraska." Earning Bruce Dern a Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival and stopping by New York and Savannah on its way to theaters in a few weeks, the last push is being made for the low-key film with a batch of stills and more arriving, hoping to shine a little more attention on the small movie that packs a bigger emotional wallop.

Savannah Film Fest: Alexander Payne Talks 'Nebraska,' Visual Effects & Asks Where Adult Dramas Have Gone

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 28, 2013 1:02 PM
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“I believe in movies,” Alexander Payne emphatically states during our interview at the Savannah Film Festival over the weekend. The director was not only on hand to present “Nebraska,” which served as the opening film of the festival, but also to receive the Outstanding Achievement in Cinema award, presented by the movie’s star, Bruce Dern. And Payne’s passion for film is clearly present in his approach for his latest effort. The road trip story about a stubborn, determined father (Dern) and his put-upon son (played by Will Forte) journeying to claim a sweepstakes prize, is presented in black and white, and shot in widescreen—certainly not the usual elements one expects these days in a movie that blends drama, comedy and Payne’s always focused eye on the textures of the Midwest.

NYFF: Alexander Payne, Bruce Dern & Will Forte Talk The Particular Tone Of ‘Nebraska’

  • By Edward Davis
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  • October 9, 2013 4:06 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Nebraska, Bruce Dern, Payne
An alcoholic father suffering from the early onsets of dementia gets a sweepstakes notice that he’s won a million dollars. It’s a scam obviously, but the elderly man is determined to see it through, despite his wife and older son’s protests to the contrary. What’s the youngest son to do? Perhaps trying to relate and bond on a level they’ve never connected before, as he agrees to drive his father from Montana to Nebraska to track down the prize, but many detours await, including a protracted pit stop in his dad’s hometown.

Alexander Payne Signs 'The Judge’s Will' With Fox Searchlight

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 8, 2013 4:54 PM
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alexander Payne, cannes
While Alexander Payne has carved out a niche for himself as a filmmaker sharply attuned to the nuances of human relationships, he's always had a couple projects brewing that are wildly different than the milieu he's become known for. Most famously would be "Downsizing," a high-concept social satire that was to star Paul Giamatti, Reese Witherspoon and Sacha Baron Cohen, following a married couple who are low on money and decide they can have a much nicer life retiring as little people.

Watch: Brand New Trailer For Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska' Plus New Pics & Poster

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 17, 2013 12:37 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Nebraska
Do you let your old man live out his lingering dream and delusion, even if it means turning the small world he inhabits upside down? For Woody Grant, he's clinging to the news he's received in the mail from a sweepstakes company that he has $1 million dollars coming his way, but he needs someone to drive him to Nebraska to claim his "prize." The only one willing to help? His son David.

Watch: New Clip From Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska,' Movie Will Open 16th Annual Savannah Film Festival

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 12, 2013 11:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Nebraska
After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, "Nebraska" has seemingly been playing it cool when it comes to its fall, stateside debut. Skipping Telluride and Toronto, the movie will make its North American premiere at the New York Film Festival, which kicks off later this month, and right after that, it will continue to roll out hitting a rising fest out of the south.

Violence? Sex? Nudity? Nope, Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska' Rated R For "Some Language" After Losing Appeal

  • By Cain Rodriguez
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  • July 19, 2013 10:17 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Nebraska, Bruce Dern, Payne
This summer we’ve seen entire cities decimated (“Man of Steel” and “Pacific Rim”), we’ve seen massacres (“The Lone Ranger”) and countless other scenes of violence and destruction. The common thread of all these scenes is that they’ve mostly appeared in films rated PG-13 and aimed at the whole family for maximum profit. Which makes this latest ratings news somewhat troubling.

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