From Nebraska to The Indian Runner

Popmatters has a pretty good look back at Springsteen's bleak and haunting 1982 record Nebraska, a record that sits firmly next to say Woody Guthrie's Dust Bowl Ballads followed by a viewing of Terrence Malick's fantastic film Badlands.

But whenever I listen to Nebraska (which is often), I find myself first lost on the Jersey Turnpike at 3am (which again, for many years, was quite often) or the impact I felt watching Sean Penn's 1991 directorial debut The Indian Runner, which was actually based on the Nebraska track "Highway Patrolman." Starring Viggo Mortensen, David Morse, Patricia Arquette and Dennis Hopper, I saw The Indian Runner at age 18 or 19 and the images and horrors brought Nebraska to life. Prior to seeing the movie, my callow mind at the time saw Nebraska simply as a "dark" record. The Penn film made it much bigger. And after viewing this fantastic movie, I went back to Nebraska and its true meaning came alive.