Tag Archives: jordan peele

Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on Get Out

2 Apr

Disclaimer: neither of us are black, though one of us is white-passing biracial (Chinese/white), so whatever we have to say about the film will be filtered through a non-black lens, and should not be taken with the same gravity as what black reviewers and audiences have said.

So, I (drift partner) am biracial, much like director/writer Jordan Peele, though since I’m extremely light-skinned and white-passing my experiences with racism and whiteness have been completely difference than Peele’s. While people frequently erase Peele’s experiences having grown up with a white mother, I have had people say to my face that I can’t be Chinese. I’ve had people express disbelief that my Chinese father is related to me, my identity has been used as an excuse to tell racist jokes, and been tasked to explain why the slur “Ch*naman” is racist. I look white, but I’m not. And I’m sure I haven’t experienced half of the racism and microaggressions that Peele has as a black man in the US.

Get Out is a horror/comedy, but most of the comedy is probably going to be lost on white audiences, because the jokes are Peele’s nods to the experiences he and other black people face when (sometimes) well-meaning white people try to engage with them. “You know, I would’ve voted for Obama for a third term.” “I know Tiger Woods. Let’s see your golf stance!” “If you worked out, you’d be a beast!” I lost count of the microaggressions in this film, the little things the white characters said or did that communicated to Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) that they definitely saw him as Other. The audience in our screening didn’t seem to be laughing that much, but I was, because I recognized most of these jokes. They’re not really for the white audience members at all – they’re for the black viewers, who have probably had similar experiences and will laugh and nod knowingly and whisper “white people.”

That being said, this movie also doesn’t pull its punches – it’s got a lot of tension that builds from the very first scene, and really knows how to use simple things like a plush lion or a spoon rubbing on the inside of a teacup to unsettle you. I was spoiled for most of the movie going in, but even I didn’t quite guess the final twist, and it’s over-the-top and horrifying in the best way. From the beginning you know something weird is going on, but you’re not sure how deep it goes, and you’ll want to keep watching to find out. I’m sort of a wuss when it comes to horror movies, but I like them like this: creepy and unsettling with lots of moments that give you chills, but not unnecessarily gory, and with explanations for why everything is happening. Every actor is giving perfect performances that are unsettling without tipping over into parody levels – Bradley Whitford has never been scarier to me, and Allison Williams finally seems to have found a job that lets her truly (unnervingly) shine. Daniel Kaluuya is also brilliant and likable and I was rooting for him every step of the way; he’s supposed to be in Black Panther, which thrills me. It’s a real pity that horror movies tend to get passed over by the major awards, because if any genre film ever had performances that merited consideration, it’s this one.

As of today, Get Out has passed The Blair Witch Project as the highest-grossing original screenplay in history. I can’t think of a film that’s more deserving, and I’m so glad it’s managed to get the audience it has. Please do yourself a favor and watch it (just be aware, if you’re white, that it’s laughing at you, not with you).

–your fangirl heroines.

wildeyed

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Spoiler Alert Saturday :: my thoughts on Wanderlust

3 Mar

I knew almost nothing about this movie when I sat down for it.  I knew Paul Rudd was there (and I’m always okay with that), and I knew there was something about wacky hippies.  (Are there any other sort in movies?)  What I didn’t realize was that, with obvious different nouns changed, I would be sitting down to watch the exact same fundamental story as seen in Rudd’s other lovable flick, I Love You, Man.  Or the same story as Role Models, or Knocked Up, or Forgetting Sarah Marshall, or… lots of things.

Sure, with Wanderlust there were some small differences.  But really, a lot of adult-centered comedies follow this pattern:

  1. Central couple is/are at a pivotal point in their relationship/lives.  (Here, buying a new place/losing the new place.)
  2. The central couple’s relations/in-laws are dysfunctional.  (Here, it was Ken Marino and Michaela Watkins as Rudd’s nutty brother and sister-in-law.)
  3. Central couple/character decides to try something out of the ordinary.  (Here, living at an “intentional community.”)
  4. One part of the couple is considerably more enthused about this plan.  (Here, it was Rudd’s George.)
  5. In their efforts, they are surrounded by other dysfunctional characters.  (Here, a bunch of the hippies: a nudist novelist/winemaker [Joe Lo Truglio, late of every other comedy Paul Rudd is in], the pretentious d-bag who will turn on everyone [Justin Theroux], the old man who forgets things [Alan Alda], the pretty and free-spirited blonde who also serves as sexual temptation [Malin Akerman], the also pretentious mother [Kerri Kenney-Silver] of a small and wacky child [Ian Patrick], the pretentious bitchy one [Kathryn Hahn, playing almost the same role she did in Our Idiot Brother, with a few minor modifications], the pregnant redhead [Lauren Ambrose] and her African-American lover who often states the obvious in a daze [Jordan Peele], etcetera etcetera.)
  6. Some of the characters make intentionally awkward jokes and intentionally awkward things happen.  (More times than I could count.)
  7. The one that is initially hesitant accidentally discovers that they enjoy this out of the ordinary thing more than they thought.  (Here, it was Jennifer Aniston’s Linda discovering commune life seemed to suit her.)
  8. Something wacky happens.  (Here, it was a drug trip.)
  9. Paul Rudd (sometimes Jason Segal or Seth Rogen) is awkward.  (Here, culminating in a multiple-minute monologue of attempted and terrible dirty talk performed in a mirror.)
  10. There is a conflict, and the central couple parts ways.  (Here, the conflict involved Aniston removing her shirt, the two agreeing to sexual freedom, Linda sleeping with Theroux’s Seth, George deciding that this life just wasn’t going to happen, and then George storming out.)
  11. Paul Rudd (sometimes Jason Segal or Seth Rogen) realizes the error of his ways.  (Self-explanatory.)
  12. Paul Rudd returns to his ladyfriend and gives her a speech that involves the phrases “I’m so sorry” and “I love you and I would do anything for you.”  (Also self-explanatory; Jason Segal partakes in similar actions, Seth Rogen sort of does.)
  13. Wacky things happen and it is wrapped up in a neat, comedic fashion.

There are a lot of things that happen in between, of course, and it’s not like it’s bad, entirely.  These are all humorous movies that I can enjoy somewhat, and the people who show up in all of them are amusing, but I think I just figured out how to write a Judd Apatow-esque movie.

–your fangirl heroine.