Nope Isn’t a Movie – It’s a Social Experience

I’ll refrain from spoilers, because you should just watch the movie. This is more about the nature of the film, rather than the content. It’s also a recap of a ‘discussion’ Burnt Orange and I had (which consisted of me gushing over the film and him hating on it).

Here’s what we eventually agreed on: the movie isn’t really a movie. It’s an experience. It’s a ritual. It’s a funhouse. It’s an Instagram post. It’s a water-cooler conversation. But it’s not a movie, not in the way that Us and Get Out were movies.

With Get Out and Us, the premises sold themselves and stood on their own. Get Out: a black guy visits his white girlfriend’s creepy family. Boom. Perfect setup for horror, comedy, and social commentary. Us: a family gets attacked by their evil doppelgängers. Again, it’s simple, intense, and if it’s done well at all, it’ll be a hit.

But Nope, as Burnt Orange pointed out, was essentially marketed as: Jordan Peele’s next movie. It’s about aliens, and… well… commentary? Sci-fi? Horror? But it’s JORDAN PEELE. Go watch the newest JORDAN PEELE MOVIE!! Don’t you like JORDAN PEELE? His movies are so TRIPPY and ART and JORDAN PEELE!

Ironically, Peele has made such a name for himself that he can now make whatever the fuck he wants, regardless of whether the premise is cohesive, marketable, or stand-alone. He no longer needs the premise to sell the movie – slapping a ‘Jordan Peele’ sticker on it is all he needs.

Which, personally, I think is perfect. I think the ideal Hollywood model is one in which directors are given free rein to make their passion projects. I love watching movies by David Lynch, Robert Eggers, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Jordan Peele, because I trust their creative instincts and I want to see something original.

And Nope is mind-blowingly original. Jordan is an expert at cramming in symbolism left and right, even though most of it probably doesn’t mean anything. He just stuffs the story with images and icons galore, knowing that his audience will eat that shit up and think they’re ‘smart’ for noticing two out of several thousand possible hidden meanings, most of which he probably never intended.

Now, I agree with Burnt Orange that the movie thrives almost entirely on its unpredictability, although I don’t think that’s inherently problematic. But in his defense, if you read the online reviews: most of them are some form of ‘I didn’t know what was happening’ or ‘The story was completely unexpected’. And that’s not necessarily proof of a good film. As Burnt Orange put it, it could just as easily be misdirection to distract from a sparse, ridiculous, self-indulgent plot.

Regardless, you can’t deny that the movie is hella entertaining, it sticks with you, it provokes endless conversations, and ultimately, I want to see more movies like it. It’s one hundred percent an experience worth having.

Rating: Yep / 10