Sunday, February 26, 2017


Interracial relationships on the big screen seem to be a “thing” right now. Loving, a solid film that went a little unnoticed & under the radar, came out a few months ago and A United Kingdom, the true story about the relationship between an African King & his British wife, is set to be released in the near future. But Get Out is kind of the “anti-Loving” or “anti-United Kingdom” in that it isn’t trying to pull at any heart strings (which Loving did in a natural & organic way) or win awards (sorry, but United Kingdom looks like misfired oscar bait).

Full disclosure – I’m Black and my fiancée is White. We’re also from parts of the country that are more tolerant of interracial relationships than say…parts of Alabama or Bensonhurst Brooklyn (she’s from New York and I’m from Massachusetts). But it should be noted that both Massachusetts & New York (Long Island specifically, which is where my fiancee is from) certainly have their share of racism (while I'm not from Boston, Boston is still the most recognizable place in the state of Massachusetts and is quite possibly the most racist place in the northeast region of America). I’ve always felt an above-average connection to director/comedian Jordan Peele. We both have a light fascination with The Shining (see the continental breakfast skit from Key & Peele), we’re both Black men in relationships with white women (an obvious source of inspiration for Get Out), and I’ve been told on more than one occasion in my life so far that I “talk white” (an ongoing subject that comes up in Jordan Peele’s work).

And putting aside all the racial/interracial stuff for a second - I was incredibly excited for this film because the art of mixing genuine horror with comedy is damn near non-existent in movies these days (some of you may not find Get Out funny but in my opinion there is a thin layer of humor that laminates the entire movie from start to finish).


For those of you that don’t know, Bob Balaban’s underrated/underappreciated Parents is one of my all-time all-time favorite movies and the perfect example of what I feel a horror-comedy should be (something that’s just as funny as it is creepy & unsettling). And, in my opinion, Get Out invoked the spirit of Parents because it’s just as funny (in a dark & twisted way) as it is scary (the tone, ambiance, music, etc). In fact, there are some strong yet basic similarities between the execution of Parents & Get Out. While Get Out is a film that plays off of the modern Black man's fears, Parents is a film that plays off of the fear that children have of adults. Both movies contain real social commentary hidden under a seemingly entertaining popcorn movie. Jordan Peele really understands the traditional tropes & pacing that makes a horror movie work. Sure there are predictable jolts & jump scares in Get Out but he also takes his time in certain parts and doesn't rush the story along (the movie takes place over the course of a weekend). And based on certain Key & Peele skits ("Baby Forest Whitaker", "Make-A-Wish" & the final moments of "Continental Breakfast") it’s almost like Jordan Peele was working towards Get Out for quite some time.

This isn’t the first movie to do what it did (convey a message concerning race & racism through horror), but it’s definitely the first (good) movie to do it in quite some time (plus the science fiction behind everything is pretty clever).
I put Get Out in the same lane of “social horror” films as White Dog, Candyman, Tales From The Hood, People Under The Stairs and, most importantly, The Night Of The Living Dead. I'm sorry but no matter how much George Romero has denied this, I am absolutely convinced that race was a factor in that film. Do you really expect us to believe a movie made in the 1960’s that ends with an innocent Black man being murdered by a mob of old white men has nothing to do with race??

Just look at the final moments of Night Of The Living Dead (left) alongside this photo of a real lynching…

Get Out is a success in my eyes because everything about it is so on the nose & obvious yet it still cuts deep and gets its point across. For those that don’t know, Get Out is the story of a young Black man going to meet his white girlfriend’s family for the first time and, as you’ve all seen in the trailer at this point, things don’t go well (one of my few criticisms surrounding this movie is that the trailer gives away too much and doesn’t leave anything for the imagination going in). On the surface that sounds like such a predictable & overused storyline. An updated/warped reworking of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner / Get Out

But Get Out touches on that elephant in the room that a lot of people don’t want to deal with or genuinely cant see (there are people who really think that because we had two terms of Barak Obama that we’re in a post-racial society which couldn’t be further from the truth). This film touches on the fear that some Black men have living in this country (the opening scene really hammers this home). But, generally speaking, Black men on film are often big, strong, tough and/or stoic (Idris Elba, Mike Colter, The Rock, Denzel Washington, etc). None of these are characteristics associated with fear or weakness. But Black men get scared from time to time.
A (dark) source of inspiration for Jordan Peele in writing Get Out was the Trayvon Martin murder. Based on this country’s history with Black people, it’s understandable why we (Black American males) tense up when a cop car pulls up behind us or beside us. I’ve been in situations before where I’ve literally done nothing wrong and have nothing to feel guilty about but the feeling of a cop near me just made me feel guilty. As a matter of fact, the cops "escorted" me to my friend's house in Beverly Massachusetts not too long ago (by escorted I mean I was literally tailed by a cop car for a good 10 minutes until I got to my destination).

Get Out is in no way a representation of the first time I met my fiancee’s family (they're awesome and have made me feel like family right away).
My fiancée & I have certainly had the kind of minor examples of silly intolerance that one might expect a modern-day interracial couple to experience from time to time (strange yet transparent looks from both Black people & White people), but nothing too crazy (I don’t want to present this as a sob story or anything). I’m also a large Black man so I sometimes draw attention to myself – depending on the setting – just by existing or entering a room. So, depending on the situation, a large Black man with a white girlfriend/fiancée/wife can bring on a potential double-take or a quick stare. And that stuff has certainly happened to us but I find that stuff more funny than I do upsetting. I’m too busy planning a wedding with the love of my life to worry about what someone I don’t even know/care about thinks.

And there’s a flip side to the negativity that can sometimes come along with interracial intolerance. There’s this strange immediate/on-site comradery that comes up between interracial couples. It’s like there’s a secret society of interracial relationships out there that have each other’s back. Actually that kind of sounds like a skit that Jordan Peele would have come up with for the Key & Peele show…

I don't know if I'd give Get Out a 100% rating (there are a few joke moments that validate the stereotype that Black men are easily attracted to white women simply because they're white and I found Caleb Landry Jones' performance as the brother a little annoying). I also don't think a well executed movie about race can ever be "perfect" or even almost perfect because race is a messy subject (I'm sure Jordan Peele is aware of this). But it's definitely a fulfilling movie-going experience at the end of the day


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