MOVIE NIGHTS: Jordan Peele’s Films

Graphic of title for 'movie nights', large red title in centre on pink background. A crescent moon is in the centre and stars surround the title
issue no. 4

JORDAN PEELE’S FILMS

As my last movie post mentioned, I want to watch more horror movies. Jordan Peele has been a pivotal director in this genre, celebrated for his thrilling films and diversity. This has been one of my favourite “movie nights”. The cinematography is stunning, and the concepts are so fascinating. These are definitely movies you want to discuss afterwards. The characters themselves don’t have to say much, but you will still love them. What is said matters. There are no throw-away comments. I admire Peele’s storytelling skills, even when the movies aren’t for me.

🎥 issue no. 1: book-to-movie adaptation

🎥 issue no. 2: women take the lead

🎥 issue no. 3: horror-comedies

movie one: get out [2017]

synopsisA young African-American visits his white girlfriend’s parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point. [view trailer]

age rating: 15

genre: horror, mystery, thriller

my rating: ★★★★★★ 6/10

favourite character(s): Rod, Chris

I believe this is the first movie Jordan Peele both wrote and directed. It quickly became established as an iconic film, not only for Peele but the thriller genre itself.

I was excited to experience this film. I had imagined what the plot would be from the premise and buzz, following a Black man attending a gathering at his white girlfriend’s family’s house. I envisioned the pleasant start, the horrible family and the overall trapped feeling. I was thinking too small.

This movie stretched itself to more intelligent social conversations giving an uncomfortable sensation to audiences in a far more thrilling capacity. This film demonstrated how little creative decisions can sometimes have the most significant effects. The girlfriend’s behaviour. The parent’s comments. Chris’ reactions. It says a lot without being obvious, which is often the most effective way. Daniel Kaluuya is a talented actor and his facial reactions are their own story. It enhanced this movie a lot.

Certain scenes really stood out to me. First, the one from the gif I have used. I don’t want to spoil the scene, as you need to experience the orchestration of these characters’ behaviour yourself. But it was a piece about race, freedom, and neglect in a very chilling way. The other scene was when Chris wanted to leave. I felt so on edge, and the emotions Chris showed were perfect and gut-wrenching.

I have offered a lot of praise to the film here, so you may wonder why I didn’t rate it higher. Whilst I think it was a great example of a thriller, it is not my kind of film. Too slow for me. I am only just accepting this about myself. But the fact that I enjoyed and admired “Get Out”‘s effectiveness is a credit to its storytelling. Just a case of thrillers never being a favourite for me.

final thoughts: I’d recommend it to the right audience.

movie two: us [2019]

synopsisA family’s serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them. [view trailer]

age rating: 15

genre: horror, mystery, thriller

my rating: ★★★★★★★★ 8/10

favourite character(s): Adelaide

Of Peele’s big 3 films (as I am temporarily calling them), this is the movie I expected the least from because I had barely heard of it in comparison. But, my oh my, did I love it.

It was my kind of horror, almost reminiscent of the classics but revolutionary in its own right. It follows a family in a new setting as they begin to get haunted. The steady start into the disturbing, haunting imagery of the chase. It made me get out of my chair and check the locks. It was so suspenseful and haunting.

The imagery was very distant. It could easily become Halloween costumes and iconic screenshots, like horrors before. It had the straightforward creep factor too– the doppelgangers outside the house, their body language, the eyes (Lupita!), the chase, and, of course, the opening scene. It was all engrossing, full of disturbing and sometimes bloody action. I loved it.

I can understand why it hasn’t been revered as much as Get Out (and now Nope) because it is less about thinking and more about doing. You will most likely walk out of the movie with a few questions, but on a pure horror enjoyment level, this blew it out of the park for me. The family characters, the creepiness, the action, the imagery. All of it. Plus, it is still a very inventive concept with a great twist at the end.

final thoughts: I loved it ✨

movie three: nope [2022]

synopsisThe residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery. [view trailer]

age rating: 15

genre: horror, mystery, sci-fi

my rating: ★★★★★★ 6/10

favourite character(s): Angel, Emerald

*Alexa play, I wasn’t expecting that* Knowing that I would be watching this movie, I knew nothing about it going. So getting a sci-fi, modern cowboys vs aliens was not what I imagined.

Nope was so unique and in pursuit of a bigger picture. I can see why cinephiles would relish this movie. You want to talk about it, and I loved reading fan theory/analysis about it. Because every time you do, you realise something else about the movie and appreciate it a little more.

Are you feeling a but coming? Because it is. It was rightfully slow-paced, but it gave me patches of boredom. There were a lot of silences, powerful silences. The acting and intentional dialogue were bang-on. It is just this style doesn’t always grip my attention in the same way. I love seeing it, but I am never left feeling fully entertained afterwards. Still, the plot got my curiosity and provided good commentary on wild animals. Sadly, I just wasn’t as engaged compared to the previous movies.

However (what another “but”?), the cinematography was outstanding. Perhaps my favourite of all three films despite having my least favourite plot. It was distant, playful for its environment and straight-up beautiful. The last scene did have me in a choke-hold and will forever live in my head rent-free. I would advise seeing this movie on that alone.

Perhaps a case of a good movie, wrong audience. Yet I think on a rewatch, I would enjoy it more. I know (for a fact) I will never forget some scenes.

final thoughts: I’d recommend it to the right audience.

Thank you for joining me for this watch party. Until next time…

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graphic of a retro pink & red cinema ticket on the left... ticket is surrounded by pink stars and an arrow off the right states 'grab your ticket for the next theme'.
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period pieces

have you watched any of Jordan Peele’s films? did you enjoy them?

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