As follow-up to his Academy Award-winning Hawaii-set dramedy The Descendants, writer-director Alexander Payne traveled to Middle America for Nebraska. And with its US premiere set for October 10th at the New York Film Festival, Paramount Pictures has debuted the film’s first trailer, which you can check out above or in hi-res at Apple.

Written by Bob Nelson, this drama centers on the strained father-son relationship between Woody and David Grant. Bruce Dern stars as Woody, an old, booze-addled and cantankerous coot who believes he has a fortune awaiting him after receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail. Will Forte plays his son, whose confident there’s no treasure in store for his dad, but nonetheless agrees to accompany him on a road trip across four states to pick this possible prize money up. Also on board for this black-and-white venture are June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach, and Devin Ratray, who memorably played Kevin McCallister’s bullying brother Buzz in Home Alone.

Nebraska marks Forte’s second recent turn to drama, the first being the bittersweet indie Run & Jump, which we reviewed at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. At the time, I said of Forte’s performance in the Steph Green-directed feature, “his overall performance is a little lackluster. Cloaked in a beard, he seems to have stripped away too many colors from his usual performance style to do this drama. So, while charming, his portrayal is ultimately a little flat. Still, he's affecting and shows promise here, so I'd be down to see Forte's second shot at drama in a minute.” Today I stand by that, believing Forte may do better in the hands of a director as experience as Payne, and with a subject that allows for him to be stern while silly.

Upon its world debut last May at the Cannes Film Festival, Nebraska won praise from critics who called it “whimsical,” “poignant,” and “a showcase opportunity for national treasure Bruce Dern.” We’ll weigh in on Payne’s latest as it makes debut at NYFF, ahead of its theatrical release on November 22nd. In the meantime, enjoy a little father-son bonding time with this clip:

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