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Peter Travers’s “Nebraska” Brims With Personality

In response to Peter Travers’s 478‑word review of Nebraska on Rolling Stone

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Peter Travers’s reviews are nothing if not entertaining. The guy has a gift for crafting captivating prose and his “Nebraska” is the latest example.

It’s a very personable, offhand affair, as if Travers does his critiquing while reclining in his La-Z-Boy.

It’s almost a form of improvisation, which is easily the world’s most annoying art form in the wrong hands. Thankfully, Travers is a master and his extemporizing comes off as fun and amiable rather than lazy or irritating.

Travers’s Nebraska’s prose darts to and fro, hovering in one place for a moment before zipping off to touch on other subjects and that makes for an engaging, and often fascinating read.

It’s never dull, but Travers could have (and should have) placed more emphasis on the criticism. He pauses to praise the actors’ performances, especially Dern, who “gives a performance worth cheering,” and he gives kudos to the film’s cinematographer and its composer, but doesn’t give readers enough on the film itself. Alexander Payne is a true auteur and Nebraska is his oeuvre through and through, but Travers fails to offer any analysis of his direction.

Aside from a lapse or two, Travers is his usual effervescent self and that alone makes this one worth a look.    

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