(Check out the list so far)
The Movie: Get Out (2017)
One Sentence Plot Summary: Jordan Peele made the best horror movie, hands down, and I’d have watched it a third time to make sure it got on this list.
Why It’s on the List: I’m sad I was in China when this movie came out in February 2017 and read a lot of the discourse before I had a chance to see it. When I did see it, to say I was impressed would be an underestimate. Even though horror is the genre I’m least into as a rule, this was incredibly well done. A great allegory. Great performances. A really tight script. Everything about this movie just works, and I can’t imagine a better first directorial effort coming forth any time soon. I can imagine Peele’s experience on previous shows allowing him time to hone his voice. If you watch Key and Peele, you can see a lot of horror elements mixed with social satire on what was purported to be a comedy show. Peele took himself completely off camera and put this into the hands of great actors.
The cast for this movie is incredible. Alison Williams and Bradley Whitford might not be the best actors, but their personas are perfectly calibrated for these roles. LaKeith Stanfield has already established himself as a great character actor in his own. He straddles the line between weird and a romantic lead or detective quite well. You’ve also got Stephen Root and Catherine Keener, actors who have been primarily known for smaller movies. This was intended to be a smaller movie, but this exploded into something much bigger. The budget was tiny, as are many Blumhouse films, but made so much money and became the biggest cultural phenomenon that it almost won Best Picture a year later.
Peele got his Oscar for Best Screenplay, so he at least got something for what has become one of the most influential and best movies of the century in the first two decades. He addresses the racial themes in the best possible way, attacking white liberals for their behavior. Going after racist cops or the KKK is easy. It’s something even a movie like Green Book does. What makes this movie more nuanced is the way Peele addresses the kind of people who would vote for Obama for a third time without realizing their own white privilege. Given the release date, this has to be conceived and filmed in Obama’s last year or so. However, in a lot of ways, this is the defining movie of the Trump era, not because it goes after the blatant racists but because it calls out the people who don’t think they’re racist and are blinded by their own ignorance.
Get Out is a movie we’ll be examining and discussing for a long time. It deserves to be for all there is a lot to chew on in relation to race relations and the wilder elements.
MVP: Jordan Peele was a part of what I think is the best sketch comedy show ever, and even if the rest of his career was fledging acting work, I’d feel confident about his standing as a comedic performer. What he did instead was make one of the greatest transitions ever. There are certainly elements of comedy still in his work, but he seems 100% committed to the horror genre as a director and even as an executive producer.
Best Performance: Daniel Kaluuya is probably going to be associated with this film for the rest of his career regardless of his other choices. He’s had supporting roles in another excellent movies like Widows and Black Panther and finally got another lead role in Queen and Slim. He’s someone who will hopefully get nominated a number of times and pick up a win at some point. What he’s able to do here is magnificent. He’s annoyed for much of the first half hour as he’s around a cliched white liberal family. Then he has to become extremely sympathetic as the chaos increases. By the end, he’s almost a Lead in an action movie as he fights his way out of the house and has to kill multiple members of the household.
Best Quote: “By the way, I would have voted for Obama for a third term, if I could. Best President in my lifetime, hands down.” – Dean Armitage
Is there a sequel? Not yet. I personally help if he returns to this world, that none of the same characters are involved.
Check out Ben & Matt’s podcast review of this movie as part of There Will Be Movies.