Jordan Peele is the latest darling of the movie industry. That’s what happens when you make a film for $5-million and it grosses more than $230-million. Hollywood loves movies but more than that, it loves money.
Peele – of the comedy duo Key and Peele – released his debut flick Get Out in February and audiences mostly kept its storyline a secret. Get Out doesn’t quite have a Crying-Game-level twist (which, by the way, I guessed the first time I saw her. Him. On screen) but it’s a story that starts out as one thing and ends up being another, a mashup between Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and the Stepford Wives.
Chris and Rose have been dating for a few months and it’s time to bring her new boyfriend home to meet the parents. Chris is black and Rose is white. My reaction to that is, so what? I mean, aren’t we past all of this yet? And then I remember that Jordan Peele is a biracial man from New York City whose life experiences are vastly different from that of this white lady who grew up in Canada. Rose (Allison Williams) assures Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) that her parents aren’t racist and they don’t appear to be. Dad (Bradley Whitford) and Mom (Catherine Keener) are serenely accepting of their daughter’s choice of beau. Then things get weird. I love wondering where a movie is going, respecting the director enough to not have to figure it out until they want me to. Peele takes us along for a five-coupon ride at the fair as his incredible story unfolds.
Peele’s ownership of Get Out was a lot like Sly Stallone and his script for Rocky back in the 1970s. Peele held onto the movie and wouldn’t give it up to another director. It would only get made if he made it and finally someone took a flyer on him. Get Out has a rare R-rating (they used to be more common) and is now the second-highest-grossing restricted film in US history. The Exorcist is still number one.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t suggest a horror film as a good time. It’s not my thing. But this isn’t just a typical horror movie. It’s an intelligent social commentary written by a super-smart man. Plus, you ease into the genre after a half hour or so of lighter romantic comedy-ish scenes. Rent it On Demand and you’ll see the alternate ending he scrapped after the political climate changed, including commentary from Peele about why he did it. Stephen Root proves his range in this film as a blind art dealer. And watch for Chris’s best friend, played by Lil Rel Howery, who is excellent. Get Out works as entertainment, as a sign of the times and as a highlight reel for what I hope will be a long career from Jordan Peele.
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