It’s been seven years since Alexander Payne has directed a feature length film, and he’s coming out of the gate with The Descendants – a film featuring George Clooney that apparently isn’t a biopic of the punk band. Instead, it’s the story of a father trying to forge new bonds with his daughters. According to the fine folks at The Playlist, Payne will continue to explore those paternal instincts (and his road-tripping ways) with Nebraska, a story about a father taking a trip to Nebraska to claim his Publisher’s Clearing House Prize with a son (who doesn’t believe the ticket is really a winner) in tow. The bonding ensues. It’s exciting to see so much work from Payne after a nearly decade-long drought. The director has an incredible talent for choosing subject matter and getting dynamic performances out of actors taking on emotionally corrosive material. Somehow, he does it all with a smile on his face. That’s a skill few possess, and it’ll be a sunny day at the theater when both The Descendants and Nebraska get released.