Entries in June Squibb (2)




Lost somewhere along many of small towns are secrets. Some not so impressive, some that will never be told, and some that the entire town seems to be in on. That last description can describe the Maine fishing town that BLOW THE MAN DOWN takes place in. It’s a town lost in time and one that’s not begging to be found.

The Connolly sisters (Sophie Lowe, Morgan Saylor) are here for their Mother’s funeral. Priscilla (Lowe) is the good girl, determined to keep the family’s name strong in this town. Mary Beth (Saylor) is a woman who can’t be pinned down and although she was there for her Mother in the end, she’s ready to hit the road. Their Mother’s best friends (June Squibb, Annette O’Toole, Marceline Hugot) are a trio of older women who seems light and innocent but hold a lot of power in this town. A friend from their younger days, the always electric Margo Martindale, own the town brothel and seems indebted to the women.

However, that’s all just the backing of the town’s story. The plot of the film kicks in when Mary Beth ends up going home with a guy whose bad news and attacks her. When he ends up dead, the sisters devise a cover-up, which sets all the pieces in motion. And that’s not even the only dead body that appears. This quiet, innocent town is anything but, and the ghosts of the past can’t stay buried for long.


The entire cast are sly, moody, and overall perfect. Danielle Krudy & Bridget Savage Cole’s script is punctuated with great dialogue and a whip smart plot that keeps you intrigued, as long as you keep paying attention. BLOW THE MAN DOWN takes the typical elements of a mystery and twists them around, making them feel fresh and unsettling. It’s a sharp film, one that will linger with you, long after the fog clears away.


WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy STARRING Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, Margo Martindale, June Squibb, Annette O'Toole, Marceline Hugot. Playing as part of the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. For more information: http://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/blow-the-man-down-2019



Alexander Payne returned to the NYFF with a story of a father and son on an unusual road trip. NEBRASKA follows Woody, a curmudgeonly man who has received a very special piece of mail informing him that he is the winner of a million-dollar sweepstakes. Son David and wife Kate have had enough of his odd behavior. Woody tries on a daily basis to walk to Lincoln, Nebraska, where the sweepstakes headquarters stands; 750 miles from Billings, Montana. David concedes to his father’s emotional needs and agrees to drive him to Lincoln. On the way, they stop in the family’s former home town, Hawthorne, Nebraska. There, they are met with an eclectic lot of family members and townsfolk, all wanting a piece of Woody’s new found “fortune”.


The film is shot in black and white Cinemascope. I thought at first that this was going to bug me, but a few minutes in I was completely engaged in the look. The more quiet and extended shots of family members are elegantly emphasized with this choice. They appear as living family portraits, snapshots that will give you flashbacks to your on family gatherings. Payne explains that his choice to shoot in black and white was to mimic the landscape. It does this and much more. It lets you focus on the performances, which are incredible. Bruce Dern plays Woody. He is gritty and honest. His alzheimer's-esque portrayal of a man at his emotional wit’s end is perfection. Expect to see his name come awards season. Will Forte is easily able to drop the quirks he was so famous for on SNL. He bounces off Dern like a champion. The real queen of the screen is June Squibb. As Kate, the sharp-witted, sassy matriarch of the Grant family, Squibb is dynamite. She has one of the funniest scenes in the entire film, set in the town graveyard. I would be shocked if she didn’t get a best supporting actress nod.  Nebraska is a lovely dramedy. Payne’s direction should be appreciated. Bob Nelson’s script is both heartwarming and heart breaking. One of the best films I have seen, ever.




Directed by: Alexander Payne Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacey Keach Written by: Bob Nelson  Content Advisory: Adult Language


BOTTOM LINE: The film only has limited release, so when you see it as any theater, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket. No matter what your family is like, Nebraska will make you want to call your folks.