Tag Archives: Comedy

Nebraska – Comedy from the Heartland

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, filmmaker Alexander Payne has a knack for finding poetry and wit in the everyday mundane lives of ordinary Americans.  So, he’s the perfect director for Bob Nelson’s story from the Heartland titled “Nebraska”, filmed entirely in black and white.

Screen legend Bruce Dern plays Woody, a man in his senior years who like so many ordinary Americans today, finds himself at the end of a long road of missed opportunities, dashed dreams and futile choices.

Bruce Dern (Woody) and Will Forte (Dave) in Alexander Payne's "Nebraska".

Bruce Dern (Woody) and Will Forte (Dave) in Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska”.

A road trip, “Nebraska” follows Woody and his son Dave (played by Will Forte) as they drive across the open bluffs and pastures of the Midwest to collect money from a mail-sweepstakes prize that really doesn’t exist.  A journey that challenges a father and son’s dysfunctional relationship and forces each of them to examine their own personal struggles to “be somebody” in life.

I attended the 2013 AFI FEST Gala screening of “Nebraska”.  And having grown up in the Midwest myself, it’s refreshing to see a film that so accurately portrays its people and culture, and with such grace and humor.

Bruce and Will are supported by an equally talented cast of actors, which include Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach and June Squibb.

Revisiting Milos Forman’s 1965 Comedy “Loves of a Blonde”

Recently, I’ve been revisiting vintage films that have become celebrated as seminal, classic cinema.  Milos Forman’s 1965 comedy “Loves of a Blonde” completely blows me away with its simplicity and raw honesty.

In the story, an impressionable young woman Andula (Hana Brejchova) has a one-night stand with Milda (Vladimir Pucholt), a young but worldly jazz pianist she meets at a dance in her small working class town.  The next day, Milda returns to his home in Prague.  But Andula is so taken with him and his talent for poetic flattery–I mean, this dude really pours it on–that she goes looking for him, and shows up unannounced at his crowded little apartment where he’s still living with his parents.

Milda is not there at first and much to the displeasure of his parents, Andula waits for him.  But by the time their son gets home it’s too late to send her away and the parents insist that she stay the night.  Milda, of course, has no interest in Andula anymore and is mortified that she’s there.

The scene where Milda squeezes uninvited into the middle of a crowded bed with his disgruntled parents because he doesn’t want to be near Andula and because there’s nowhere else to sleep, is one of the funniest moments I have ever seen in a film.  It’s also one of the most heartbreaking moments, because the whole time Milda is in bed bickering with his parents, he’s also bad mouthing Andula.  She can easily hear them from the other room and she’s humiliated.

If you enjoy comedies that explore humor in realistic human relationships as much as I do, you should definitely add “Loves of a Blonde” to your viewing library.