Russ Batenhorst There is no movie like ‘Nebraska’

One last day of February is upon us. March is tomorrow and none too soon. It seems every year I’m more weary of winter and ready for spring. Even though it is supposed to be lousy this weekend, it will warm me up to flip the calendar.

Until then, here’s just a couple of almost related topics:

 Movie magic

The Academy Awards are on TV Sunday night. It’s almost an embarrassing self-disclosure, but it’s kind of destination TV at our house. I can’t really remember how long it has been this way, but it’s hard to miss.

It doesn’t quite reach Super Bowl dimensions of “must see,” but I’ll be there in my chair Sunday night ready to watch.

I must say of the movies nominated for Best Picture, “Nebraska” is the one I liked best. Oh, wait a minute, “Nebraska” is the only one of the nine I’ve seen.

So, I’m sure that “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” “Her,” “Philomena,” “12 Years a Slave” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” were all wonderful pictures, but I have to give the award to “Nebraska” by default.

I’m sure Omaha native Alexander Payne will appreciate my vote for the movie he directed.

 I guess I could go movie rental crazy over the weekend and try to hit as many as possible. And, in fact, I do hope to see “Gravity” at the Hastings Museum before showtime. So, that would be two out of nine.

 I did hear that a theater in Lincoln might be offering a weekend special where for $25 a day for two days will get you into all nine. I figure if I did that I’d be so burned out that I’d watch “Perry Mason” reruns instead of the Academy Awards, so that’s out.

Why make such a big deal about Hollywood types patting themselves on the back with awards for movies I haven’t seen? Don’t make me answer that. If I think about it too long it may start to lose a little of its luster.

Before movies

If I wasn’t going to movies or watching the awards on TV, what does that leave? I could always read a book  I’ve been telling myself I should do more of that lately than I’ve even said I should go see nominated movies. I even made it a goal last year to read a certain number of books. I fell a little short.
It’s not that I don’t like to read. Between newspapers, magazines and the Internet, I manage to get some reading in every day. (Maybe it’s the fact that one of the magazines we get at home is People might explain the Academy Awards curiosity.) But, for some reason, books don’t get as much of my attention.

Having said that, browsing through a bookstore is still a fun way to spend some time. It’s something I do about as often as I go to an Oscar-nominated movie, but it’s enjoyable just the same.

We were baby gift shopping for books last weekend so I spent some time in a little, stand- alone bookstore — if that’s the right description for a non-chain, super-sized store. There’s just something relaxing about checking out what’s new in books, as well as a few old classics.

Even in the kid’s books section, a rediscovery of books we used to read our now grown son brought back instant memory flashes. And the store owner was even nice enough not to point out that it was a store, not a library, and I could maybe buy something more than a couple of little kid’s books. 

The thing is, when the need arises, I will. I prefer stores like that over mega-chain stores whenever possible. And while I don’t read a lot of books, my wife does, so it’s a good present for special occasions that I’ve more than a time or two. So, I’ll be back.

I do like the mega-stores for browsing, too, though. But I understand how the small stores can worry about the big dogs giving them trouble.

Hey, wasn’t there a movie about that? Oh yeah, “You’ve Got Mail.” I’ve seen that one.
But I just checked: it wasn’t nominated for any Academy Awards. 

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