Posts Tagged ‘Jordan Peele’

Us (2019)

October 14, 2019

When I was a preteen, my family used to go to Busch Gardens Williamsburg which I loved the theming of. Part of the theming at the time was that each section of the park was patterned after a European country. My favorite was Banbury Cross (Olde England) but that is not relevant here. One of the sections was themed after Germany, most of which was based on the yearly celebration of Oktoberfest. One of the attractions that I actually chose to ride was a riverboat that cruised up and down the river gently. However, the boat that we boarded was called The Doppelganger. It was during this trip that the tour guide decided to explain what the boat’s namesake was. He told us that everybody in the world has a doppelganger out there. If you ever meet your doppelganger, they could easily kill you and take over your life. The thought terrified me. Back then I really believed in such things and the thought of another me, itching to get rid of me chilled me to the bone. It stuck with me even if it passed from my mind from time to time.

The idea has been explored to some extent before. This idea that we are our own worst enemy is nothing new. We are our own worst critic but also our best advocate and those sides of us are in constant war with each other. If that dark side of ourselves were to manifest as an actual being, all of our worst energies, it would be most dangerous to ourselves. My anxiety and periodic depression have made me very critical of me and I come down hard on myself in my bluest periods. The thought of that darkness leaking out into the world and coming against me and the ones that I love is a bad, bad thought. To have it literally happen is even worse than the few times I have shot my mouth off and made things worse. The clearest example of it I can remember is Invasion of the Body Snatchers and also an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I feel like the concept could use more exploring so I am glad to see it here.

The first thing I noticed was how psychological this movie is. Jordan Peele has proven that he does not need fancy effects to make things absolutely eerie. He does a lot with camera shots, music, and the expressions of his actors that absolutely makes me incredibly tense. He plays with light and shadow and simple optical tricks that mess with your head. Long silences left me stuck in anticipation, waiting for what horrible thing might happen next. Even things I expected to happen ended up scaring me. That is the sign of a great horror movie. I spent a lot of the movie filled with both the dread of what I knew was probably going to happen but also the fear of not knowing for sure if that was what would happen. Of course, being Jordan Peele, there are greater things at work too. The symbolism itself is scary as Hell. The concepts themselves bring a lot to the table. There are great political messages that are reflected in horrible ways.

Part of what makes this movie so good is the brilliant cast that they were able to get. For example, Peele was able to nab Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke fresh off of their star-making turn in Black Panther. Nyong’o plays a loving mother who is already fraying at the edges at the start of the movie from childhood trauma. Duke plays her husband, a nerdy but lovable certified dad who is just trying to figure his family out. Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex play their young children who are quirky but normal kids. Of course, as you might expect they all play double duty and they are fantastic at it. The cast is rounded out by Tim Heidecker and Elizabeth Moss who are pretty creepy as well.

Overall, the movie had me on the edge of my seat the entire run. I was absolutely gripped by this movie in the same way that I was gripped by Get Out. I prayed both for a good ending and for somebody to explain to me what was happening. I also really loved the message in this one. While many horror movies have a message, some of the best ones have political messages. They are a dark reflection of our human condition and this one is no different. I absolutely recommend this.

Media Update 1/18/18

January 18, 2018


Coco

I have loved Mexican culture for a long time and, as I stated when reviewing The Book of Life, I love Day of the Dead most of all. I do not love it because I love Halloween because I have studied it enough to know how different the customs are. Both have magical origins but The Day of the Dead is primarily about remembering loved ones who passed away. The traditions are both touching and inspiring and I kind of wish we did more of it in the United States. It is akin to Japan’s culture of respect for their ancestors. The movie is about the balance between living your life and your family. The central message is Family Above All Else but also that your family should reciprocate that sentiment and support your dreams. The movie is also about music and is thus a musical film but not a Musical, more in the style of Oh Brother Where Art Thou? and Sing! than a traditional Disney musical. The Day of the Dead is a respectful but jubilant holiday and, from what I can see as an outsider, is about being happy about the memories you have of your departed family members. So, there is plenty of good food, candy, games, and music. That is what this movie feels like. There is the usual Disney/Pixar sweet sadness but there is also an air of celebration and togetherness that just feels really warm. I cannot recommend this movie enough.


Get Out

I had heard so many good things about this movie. I was such a fan of Jordan Peele on Key & Peele that I was intrigued by any horror movie he might have written. Comedians are all about timing and timing is also a huge element in horror as well. Also, I knew from the trailers that the plot had something to do with the black experience. The only reason that I have waited this long to watch the movie is that hypnosis is a large part of the movie. Hypnosis terrifies me and it really did a number on me while watching this movie. I was also more than correct about the movie confronting racial and cultural issues. It does so in such a new and horrific way that I think it is important for people to watch. The plot points of the movie took me by surprise as they unfolded but each of them made so much sense. There is a mystery in this movie and I will not ruin the suspense by revealing any of it here. The acting was so great but most of all I have to shout out Daniel Kaluuya who is rightfully getting nominated for his starring role. He was a fantastic character to follow around. I definitely recommend this one as it is scary but important.


The Disaster Artist

First, yes James Franco is definitely at best a problematic person. I felt that I had to push past that to watch this movie because I have been on a journey ever since I first caught The Room on Adult Swim. I clued into the Internet buzz and I was excited when Greg Sestero published a book on his experiences surrounding the movie. By the way, the movie actually cuts out some crazy bits from the book so I recommend that you pick up the book. It is not often that a truly horrible movie inspires people quite as much as The Room did. This movie goes to painstaking lengths to capture the insanity from the book and The Room itself. It recreates the look of the actors and the weird culture that Tommy Wiseau created. The Franco brothers play Wiseau and Sestero and they really do capture their weird friendship. They detail the arduous, torturous, and nonsensical path that they dragged other human beings down in order to put out a mediocre movie. The movie was interesting to me because I had only read or imagined excerpts from the book but seeing it in motion was fun. The movie is at the same time funny and horrifying as everything goes wrong. The movie celebrates Wiseau and probably lets him off the hook too much but at this point, he has probably been tortured enough. I also recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:
Jan Terri – Journey To Mars

Marlon Craft – Workin’

That Poppy – Lowlife

Bad Seed Rising – Hey Kid

Red Warszawa – Technoparty

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is Award Season 2018
– I started watching Season 6 of Longmire
– I continued watching Season 2 of The Magicians
– I continued watching Season 1 of Gurren Lagann
– I continued watching Season 1 of Puella Magi Madoka Magica
– I continued watching Season 2 of Schitt’s Creek
– I continued watching Season 2 of Little Witch Academia
– I continued watching Season 1 of DuckTales
– As usual, I watched Game Grumps, GTLive and Critical Role


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