Wednesday, August 10, 2022


I’m surprised PeTA hasn’t tried to hijack Jordan Peele’s Nope as the unofficial movie for their sometimes warped mission statement. This movie is new so I don’t want to get in to any spoilers but at the end of the day the film is mostly about the potential dangers of trying to “tame the beast” (horses, monkeys, mysterious lifeforms, etc). I promise I haven’t checked yet but I’m sure there’s already an assessment or two on Nope that has to do with animal abuse.
Not only does this movie play off of the famous phrase; “tame the beast”, but it also takes the phrase; “belly of the beast” quite literally at one point in a scene reminiscent of the climax in Pinocchio…

I enjoyed Nope overall but if easter egg-y/reference-heavy movies aren’t your thing (a Jordan Peele staple some folks aren’t too crazy about despite his immense overall popularity as a filmmaker), you might want to avoid this. That almost feels like a pointless statement because, like I just mentioned, Jordan Peele is very popular and I imagine most folks will see this without much coaxing.
Nope falls in line perfectly with the rest of Peele’s filmography. The basic plot is different from Get Out & Us, but it still touches on some of the same broad topics (social commentary & subtle nods to somewhat vague issues concerning race, the importance of family and tons of obvious movie references). Peele’s latest is a major improvement from Us (Nope is, in my opinion, his best paced movie thus far). I’m sorry but Us made no sense. I don’t care if I’m in the minority on this. And for folks who think that’s a weak excuse to dislike a movie, I call bullshit in this specific case because Jordan Peele clearly tried to connect the dots and have the film make (some) sense and I don’t think he succeeded. I understand Jordan Peele is a fan-favorite but it’s ok to admit when something didn’t work. You won’t lose any made-up film twitter or letterboxd points for giving a fair critique of something that’s popular.

Anyway, from the scissors on Jupe’s desk (an obvious nod to the scissors in Us) to the visual homages to folks like Spielberg & James Cameron, Jordan Peele does the Tarantino thing in a not-so obnoxious way…

The Forgotten /

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind / Nope

The War Of The Worlds /

A similarity pointed out to me by Toronto Film review:
 10 Cloverfield Lane /

This movie is new so I don’t have the images or gifs to show yet but the final act of Nope is essentially a slightly reworked final showdown from Jaws meets The Abyss (click here & here to read my thoughts on Get Out & Us and to see more of Peele’s movie references).

The Abyss / Nope

Peele even throws in a pinch of Pinocchio 
Pinocchio / Nope

If you keep your eye open (maybe on the second viewing) you’ll catch a nod to Buck and the Preacher.
I’m also convinced the casting of Keith David was a specific nod to his appearances in sci-fi classics like The Thing and They Live (I don’t want to give too much away but there are some similarities between the mysterious organism in The Thing and the entity in Nope). Black people as background players in Hollywood seems to be an underlying theme in Nope…

The Horse In Motion

It should be pointed out that Jordan Peele makes a few incorrect claims about the history of The Horse In Motion short film that he prominently features in Nope but it is still an important early artifact, and the technology used to make the short kind of comes in to play towards the end of the movie.

I guess I should also mention the most obvious homage…

The Wizard Of Oz /

What stood out the most to me in Nope was the “Gordy’s Home” subplot concerning Steven Yeun’s Jupe character. The way these flashback segments are shot are a bit different from the rest of the movie and is the kind of lane that I think I’ve always wanted Jordan Peele to follow as a director (darkly comical with an emphasis on the dark part). The “Gordy’s Home” section is the closest thing anyone has directed for folks like me that were brought up on Clifford (1994) & Bob Balaban’s Parents with pinches of the unspoken twisted side to sitcoms like Different Stokes & Small Wonder (with an obvious nod to Alf as well). 

Jupe’s backstory ties in heavily to the main plot of Nope in that he felt he could tame the beast in his adult life the same way he thought he tamed the beast from his childhood (I have to credit my wife for that point). 

Something about “Gordy’s Home” reminded me of the good sketches from Key & Peele (I wish Peele embraced more of his comedic roots). 
Nope is a success in my book that shows growth as a filmmaker. I just worry the more “prestigious” folks make Jordan Peele out to be, the more pretentious he may become.


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