I’m having a personal Alexander Payne festival. Started with Citizen Ruth, which I’d never seen, and followed it with About Schmidt and Election, both of which I saw but really didn’t remember. I’ve got The Descendants and Nebraska next, both of which I remember quite well. I really don’t need to see Sideways again, since I’ve seen it at least thirty times, but I probably will anyway.
I wasn’t aware that Payne has a few actors he likes to work with. They’re an interesting group. I was aware that his home state of Nebraska is the setting for several of his films (all but The Descendants and Sideways). something that definitely contributes to his aesthetic.
He’s an interesting director, and I’m enjoying revisting all this work. I don’t think I’ve noticed yet any signature moves, although at least three of his films ends with his main character completely alone.
I was super disappointed that About Schmidt didn’t come with a director’s commentary, but there is an extensive collection of deleted scenes, with written notes by Payne, and that helped a lot with getting a grip on his thinking. I’m hoping I’ll find time tomorrow for the commentary on Election.