Woody Grant of Billings Montana is yet another example of the tragic failure of private medicine in the USofA. He’s senile, alcoholic and suffering from Alzheimers, or something like it, and in his confusion, he’s fairly determined to travel to Nebraska to collect a spurious million dollar sweepstakes prize he’s received in the mail. Accompanied by his well-meaning younger son David, the trip takes a detour to the town of Hawthorne, where Woody and his foul-mouthed wife Kate grew up, and where all sorts of family secrets and histories are revealed…


It’s part comedy of errors (the whole town believes Woody’s won the jackpot), part kitchen-sink drama (Woody’s illness is really depressing.) It’s a beautiful though, starkly filmed in black and white, and the cinematography conveys an unsettling combination of all the melancholy and bullshit and tenderness and hardscrabble choices gone wrong. (So no film tourism spin-off, I fear.)

Oh, and lastly: Bruce Dern is fantastic as Woody. In my opinion his is a far more Oscar worthy performance than self-referential Matt McConnaughey’s meh weight-loss.