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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Better head for ‘Nebraska’ on Friday

Though it has been known to change, initial word is that Friday might prove fairly interesting for mainstream moviegoers — even those who aren't necessarily looking forward to seeing Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," which opens Thursday night.

In addition to what my brother likes to refer to as "Lord of the Rings Lite," the rest of the week's openings look potentially like this:

"Nebraska." Writer-director Alexander Payne tells the serio-comic story of an elderly man (Bruce Dern) who, accompanied by his son (Will Forte), goes on a quest to claim a questionable million-dollar sweepstakes prize. Dern's performance won him a Best Actor prize at the Cannes International Film Festival. (AMC River Park Square only)

"Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas." Tyler Perry (as Madea) pairs himself with, among others, Larry the Cable Guy. Do you really need to know more? (All mainstream venues)

"Blue Jasmine." This is a second run for Woody Allen's film starring Cate Blanchett as a drug/alcohol-addled woman who, struggling to deal with a messy divorce and financial ruin, goes to live with her estranged sister (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco. (Likely AMC only)

"The Armstrong Lie." Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney interviews disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, intending to get at the heart of the long deception he perpetrated regarding performance-enhancing drugs while winning the Tour de France seven consecutive times. (AMC only)

Make sure to double check on Thursday and/or Friday to see if the scheduled openings hold up.