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Creator / Alexander Payne

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Alexander Payne (born February 10, 1961) is an acclaimed American filmmaker from Omaha, Nebraska.

  • Citizen Ruth (1996) — A drug addict's latest pregnancy becomes a political football in the abortion debate.
  • Election (1999) — An idealistic high school teacher tries to sabotage a haughty overachiever's chances of becoming the class president.
  • About Schmidt (2002) — A recently retired/widowed actuary drives to his daughter's wedding. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Sideways (2004) — Two former college roommates go on a road trip through Santa Barbara Wine Country before one of them gets married. The same guy has sex with a lot of women, the other...not so much.
  • The Descendants (2011) — A Hawaiian aristocrat tries to reconnect with his daughters when his wife goes into a coma.
  • Nebraska! (2013) — An elderly man has his son drive him from Montana to Nebraska so the father can claim a million-dollar prize he thinks he's won. Along the way, they meet many of the old man's friends and relatives and try to repair their strained relationship.
  • Downsizing (2017) — A social satire in which an average man thinks he would have a better life if he were to shrink.
  • The Holdovers (2023) — A curmudgeonly teacher at a private boarding school is tasked with supervising the students who can't go home for the holidays.

His films provide examples of:

  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: His films are about the modern person, fallible but complex. Heroes are not perfect and any character that seems antagonistic still has redeeming qualities.
  • Sliding Scaleof Idealism Vs Cynicism: His films generally lie a tad more towards the cynical end of the spectrum, however his films aren't generally mean spirited. His protagonists are still pretty likable to route for and care about.
  • The Film of the Book: Citizen Ruth, Nebraska, Downsizing, and The Holdovers are the only films he's directed which are not adaptations of novels.
  • Uncredited Role: He was an uncredited script doctor for Meet the Parents and Jurassic Park 3.