Tag: Bruce Dern


Chappaquiddick

April 4th, 2018 — 12:28am

*****

Chappaquiddick

If you were around in July 1969 when Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon, you may or may not remember another big news story that took place at the same time. Senator Edward Kennedy, youngest brother of John and Robert Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a small bridge in Chappaquiddick, which resulted in the death of a young woman by the name of Mary Jo Kopechne. Up until that moment, many people felt that the younger Kennedy was destined to become President of the United States. The actions of Edward Kennedy on that evening and in the subsequent week are a fascinating study of a man at the crossroads of his life where his honesty and integrity were truly tested and his human frailties were exposed.

This was a very well done script, which was written by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan who were too young to have remembered or experienced this event as it unfolded in this country. They apparently reconstructed the story mainly from the voluminous record of the inquest of the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.

Jason Clarke was outstanding as Edward Kennedy and the supporting cast was excellent including Kate Mara as Mary Jo Kopechne and a superb performance by Ed Helms who played Kennedy’s cousin who was a key player in the aftermath of this tragedy. Credit must also go to director Joe Curran for recreating a very realistic depiction of the events of this tragedy as well as an in depth character study. The story also shows an insight into the dominant role that the patriarch Joe Kennedy (Bruce Dern) had on his family even in the later years ,of his life.

We had the pleasure of meeting two of the producers of this film, Mark Ciardi and Campbell McInnes who tried very hard to bring to the screen this even-handed view of the events of this major news story and historic event. It appears that they may have gotten very close to the truth, but we probably will never know for sure.

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama, History, Politics

Nebraska

December 7th, 2013 — 8:38am

 ****KjVyXLVBE8Pv2M0hKRSnVhOpeWe543_O4ucfYjQ1gytKeSSxvuiy9a-L_Z-WXKnuk1UCY8U=s142 Nebraska-rm You might say that this is a “road movie.” However, the guys who go traveling on an adventure here are father and son. The Dad is Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), a not quite with it, aging alcoholic Korean War Veteran, probably in his 80s who his family thinks is ready for a nursing home. His traveling companion is his younger son David (Will Forte) a not very successful television and audio component salesman who has just separated from his long-term girl friend. The purpose of their trip is to go from Montana to Nebraska to claim the million dollars mentioned in the letter that Woody has received which makes him thinks he has won the money  but is clearly just another worthless magazine sweepstakes advertisement. Prior to their departure we meet his older son Ross (Bob Odenkirk), a local “wannabe” TV anchor and Kate (June Squibb) Woody’s feisty, outspoken wife. On the way, they stop in Woody’s old hometown where there is a family reunion of sorts. While we could understand Woody as a taciturn man who has lost some of his mental prowess with age and drinking, we were not sure of what to think of all his relatives and old friends most of whom didn’t seem very bright, barely said a word to a close relative or friend they haven’t seen in years and could have dinner and watch a football game on TV without talking and one who was content to sit in front of his house just to watch the occasional car go by. We would hope there might be some blow back of these depictions from the folks in Nebraska and Montana or maybe we just aren’t familiar with the lifestyle out there. The real essence of this movie is the father son relationship as we appreciate David’s tender caring for his Dad. The subtle connection between these two is conveyed by the sensitive acting of both Forte and Dern, who say a great deal with non-verbal communications. Whereas June Squibb, as the wife, delivers her dialogue in clear and times a humorous manner but the content also helps us understand the underlying character of old Woody. The reaction of old friends and family to Woody when they believe he may have won a million dollars is another sad commentary on human nature, which this screenplay by Bob Nelson effectively delivers. Director Alexander Payne (Sideways) was born in Nebraska so we will assume that he is bringing a certain authenticity to the setting and the people. He also chose to shoot the film in black and white, which set the tone and nudged us to appreciate the starkness of the setting and the characters. (2013)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

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