Nope (2022)
July 22, 2022 6:42 AM - Subscribe

Caretakers at a California horse ranch encounter a mysterious force that affects human and animal behavior. The third feature film written and directed by Jordan Peele.

Sitting at 81% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Now playing in US theaters.
posted by DirtyOldTown (81 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
* got my ticket for tonight, cannot wait *
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:30 AM on July 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

When someone sees this, can they tell me if there's any animal cruelty? Thanks.
posted by praemunire at 8:47 AM on July 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

praemunire, you're in luck: already has a report on this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:59 AM on July 22, 2022 [11 favorites]

looking forward to this!!!!!!
posted by supermedusa at 9:22 AM on July 22, 2022

Seeing it tonight at a Cinébistro location, with comfy seats and dinner service.
posted by emelenjr at 9:43 AM on July 22, 2022

The commercials I’ve seen make this look a bit like a very dark UFO movie. Is that about right?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:52 PM on July 22, 2022

Um. I am not a scary movie person and this movie is mostly okay but there’s an animal-related subplot that is very disturbing. I would keep away if you’re sensitive about that.
posted by chrchr at 4:10 PM on July 22, 2022 [1 favorite]


I felt like some scenes were missing from this - that the movie was asking us to make inferences from not a lot of information. I may just be kind of dense (and I felt like my theater's sound was mushy/muffled so maybe I missed some dialog) and tbh I watched a lot of this behind my hands, but I felt we could have used a scene that illustrated the Jupiter dude was baiting the alien with horses - I think this also would have connected the main story better with the flashback/subplot about the chimp. I also didn't understand how the protagonists knew the alien didn't like the flags.

But overall I thought this was good and the creature design was top-notch. I also really appreciated the brief views we got of the people inside the creature, as terrifying as it was.
posted by jeoc at 5:38 PM on July 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

jeoc, it took me a few hours after the movie to make the connection myself—but I think what you're looking for is Jupe deflecting from OJ's plan to buy back the horses (and proceeding to talk about his TV past) because there are no horses to sell back.
posted by channaher at 6:01 PM on July 22, 2022 [17 favorites]

I thought the plot hung together really well. I got both the baiting with horses thing and the aliens didn't like the flags thing plainly enough.

I'm not 100% sure I have fully registered what he was going for thematically though. At first blush, I'm inclined to say it's a metaphor for how, for people of color, they basically have to get witnesses or get it on film or it didn't happen. That doesn't tie to all the threads though so I may yet change my mind.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:11 PM on July 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

My one-word review:

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:40 PM on July 22, 2022 [10 favorites]

Also: big ups to M's Jesus Lizard shirt.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:49 PM on July 22, 2022 [15 favorites]

Also, even being inorganic, the flags might not be as important as the line they were attached to, sort of like us eating floss, string, etc.
posted by channaher at 7:09 PM on July 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Did the ship become the creature at the end? I feel like I missed a beat and all of a sudden there was this giant creature but no ship. It seemed like the creature was a practical effect, too, not CGI, but

Anyway, I loved a lot about this. It was too long — I couldn't believe how long it took for the pretentious director to arrive at the ranch — but there were so many beautiful shots. The big hole in the underside of the ship made it look like a huge flying 10-gallon hat.

Netflix beat Jordan Peele to the title Don't Look Up.
posted by emelenjr at 8:25 PM on July 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Did the ship become the creature at the end? I feel like I missed a beat and all of a sudden there was this giant creature but no ship.

There was no ship, it was always the creature. It just was in the shape of a ship most of the time.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:35 AM on July 23, 2022 [11 favorites]

The more I think about the film, the more the scene where Jupiter recounts the sitcom chimp tragedy not by recounting his own memories, but by describing the SNL parody, seems crucial.

There's a major thread about how we deal with crisis by commidifying it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:27 AM on July 23, 2022 [33 favorites]

Does Michael Wincott's character, without it being remarked upon, wear calf/ankle length skirts the entire time?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:43 PM on July 23, 2022

Does Michael Wincott's character, without it being remarked upon, wear calf/ankle length skirts the entire time?

I ducked out for a minute just before the third act, but I don't think it came up at all, and within the narrative he's certainly treated as a figure of genuine artistic importance.

I also just came here to say, what a sly joke from Peele: he gets us to cheer for OJ on a bronco, fleeing an aerial pursuer.
posted by reclusive_thousandaire at 6:29 PM on July 23, 2022 [48 favorites]

I got stumped by someone yesterday - I mentioned I'd been to see it and endorsed it. They asked me what one of the things I liked it was. ....And one of the things I liked was the creature itself, and its design - but I realized that if I even said anything it would be a spoiler.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:50 AM on July 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

Does Michael Wincott's character, without it being remarked upon, wear calf/ankle length skirts the entire time?

He's in pants in the commercial shoot, no?

And I took the outfit in the rest of the film as "bathrobe", actually. Which made perfect sense when he was at home playing around with footage. And then felt like eccentricity when he showed up at the ranch - just like that dramatic recitation of the lyrics to "One-Eyed One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:13 AM on July 24, 2022

I saw it and liked it but didn't love it. The Signs comparisons being made are apt, in that it is very beautiful, has some great performances, has a couple of REALLY terrific setpieces, and is suffused with a great degree of dread. But like Signs, the male lead doesn't end up having that much to do, it can feel a little up its own ass at times (the Purple People Eater scene!), and the ending is a bit of a mess. On that last point, I want to make sure I'm being clear when I say Nope's ending was just a bit of a mess, it wasn't even in the same ballpark of messiness as the ending to Signs was.

Still a lot of fun though, very much worth seeing, and as others have alluded to there's a thoughtfulness and deliberateness about it that are really impressive. And if you're on the fence about it due to worrying that it will be too scary, I would all but guarantee you'll be fine. Lots of dread, a tiny bit of gore, but really no major scares.
posted by saladin at 10:34 AM on July 24, 2022 [1 favorite]


To me, when the guy was singing? Jaws. A wonderful call back to Jaws, which seems to be in the family tree of this movie?

I think an understated (and delectably so) subplot here is that Jupe is entranced by the visitor because of (and probably without fully realizing?) his childhood trauma. I think he knows that it’s a dangerous creature but can’t really articulate it.

And speaking of articulation, OJ: I would love to know if he was written as being on the spectrum. It just jumped out to me where he saw the reflection at the beginning, knew what to do/not to do but couldn’t clearly get across how urgent that was, then again when he just hyperfocused on his belief that it was an animal (despite very much not reading the room). The inward focus as things became too much, but maybe I’m reading too much into certain scenes.

The whole movie is spent making the creature seem cheap and rubbery on the inside, plain and a bit horrifying externally. Then at the end when it’s “won” it unfurls into this beautiful alien.

Then Em finally getting closure on her Father and the opportunities she missed out on by collaring Jean Jacket (and major win for OJ by naming it that and making this a thing for her to win).

There’s so much more to digest (hehehe) in this as well. Like, does the alien just need the meat and flesh for the sails and the blood/liquids it can use to generate the cloud/blood rain?

Man, this is a masterpiece to me.
posted by Slackermagee at 4:30 PM on July 24, 2022 [21 favorites]


Saw it last night and loved it. It's hilarious and tense and had some seriously disturbing bits (Gordy... yikes). I'm going to have to watch it again and again. There's so much in there!

Does anyone have theories and explanations for why the alien changed shape near the end? Every take I've read says it's some kind of beautiful metamorphosis. The shape change is seen as a triumphant unveiling of the beast's true form. But if so, I am SUPER confused - *why* would it change shape?? I can't think of any reason for it to randomly shape-shift... not on a story level (it has no impact on the narrative, and it raises the question of why it was hiding its shapeshifting abilities for 6 months only to transform at this moment), not on a thematic level (metamorphosis isn't referenced anywhere else in the movie), nor on the level of allusion/allegory (but maybe there's an allusion I am unaware of?).

It's a fantastic visual, to be sure. But here's my theory about why it really changed shape - it's a theory that also allows for the spectacular visual impact to happen while making perfect sense on a story level too.

I thought it changed shape because it got cut open from the inside, because the unfurling (as it were) happens immediately after Angel tricks it into eating barbed wire. In other words, its final form was the result of being badly, but not fatally, wounded. Like, it even moves a lot slower after the unfurling and can no longer seem to properly hide. In any movie of this genre, there's always that last few minutes when the creature has been wounded and is maybe *slightly* less powerful than before but it's still coming after you. It's a standard creature feature trope - off the top of my head I recall it being in Jaws, Predator, Terminator (Terminator 2 not quite because T-1000 is a madlad), The Edge, etc.
posted by MiraK at 7:42 AM on July 25, 2022 [9 favorites]

A reminder... offered in the most genial, gentle way...

You do not need to give spoiler warnings for a comment in a FF post anymore than you need to give a spoiler warning before you begin to speak at a book club.

While it's extra considerate (though still not at all required) not to lead off the first comment or two with spoilers, people who click into a discussion of the film understand they are taking their chances on spoilers and by a scroll or two down the page, no reasonable person could suppose there is a page of discussion that does not mention plot points.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:16 AM on July 25, 2022 [10 favorites]

Does anyone have theories and explanations for why the alien changed shape near the end?

My hunch is that it was feeling....a little cocky, maybe? Like, the saucer shape was its "stealth mode", the shape it took when it did most of its hunting, but the final form was more of a casual "oh, I don't need to hold the stealth pose any more, these stupid humans aren't going to be able to escape from me and I can just pick 'em off."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:21 AM on July 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

In addition to the OJ/Bronco/Aeria pursuit bit, I think there's a "Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread" joke too.

Angel wasn't moving out of cover, Antler ran in and got got.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:15 AM on July 25, 2022

My take on the metamorphosis was that it was a threat display. It’s common for animals to try to make themselves look bigger when threatened. (You can assume that the barbed wire triggered the display, but I don’t think it’s necessary, the UFO knew it was being messed with at that point.) The square eye with the green tendrils snapping out was part of the display—and also nicely evoked a camera shutter, to bring it all back to Muybridge.
posted by ejs at 10:55 AM on July 25, 2022 [15 favorites]

I loved this film! It was not as focused as Get Out or Us, and the third act climax weirdly dragged in spots, but it was excellent and I’ve been thinking about it a lot since I saw it yesterday. I did not see the twist coming that the UFO was a creature and not a ship, and the reveal happening as you see all those people get eaten alive was extremely disturbing (though still only the second most disturbing scene in the movie).

Interestingly there is absolutely nothing in the text that confirms the UFO was an alien. It was unearthly, sure, but between its cloud camouflage and it’s anti-electric field, there could be whole populations of them around the world that humankind has just never been able to detect before….
posted by ejs at 11:03 AM on July 25, 2022 [10 favorites]

A really great discussion of the UFO’s design with the consulting scientist who worked on the film.
posted by mykescipark at 9:35 PM on July 25, 2022 [14 favorites]

Because Nope is so Hollywood-savvy and references the history of film, the entertainment adage "Never work with children or animals" immediately came to mind. This site cites the first mention of the saying in a 1931 article in the Milwaukee Journal titled, "Stage Traditions Fall Before Films." As fall stage traditions to films, so also fall still photographic images to moving pictures? In Nope the analog camera operated by a black woman captures what no digital, electronic, or motion picture camera operated by a white man can.

The acting truism implies that kids and animals are too difficult to control or too cute to outshine. In both cases, it's the ego and power of the main (historically male, white) actor that are threatened. But what if you are the kid or the animal? What if you're Jupe, Gordy, Ghost, or Lucky? What if, like OJ, Em, and Jupe, your livelihoods and identities are interdependent with children or animals? What if your ego and power aren't tied to competing with or outshining those "lesser" than you? Jupe's fate seems to show what happens when you learn to internalize the oppressor ego and instrumentalize (or commodify) those around you. Oj and Em's fates seem to show what happens when you don't.

For those wondering about the interleaved scenes from the sitcom "Gordy's Home", I wonder if one of the movie's influences is Kaitlyn Greenidge's book, We Love You, Charlie Freeman (New York Times review, 2016, author's site). In the book, a Black family (the Freemans), is given a chimpanzee to integrate as a family member. The Freemans agree to move into a home built like a set within a research institute. Their lives there are filmed. Each of the family members is affected in different ways by Charlie the chimpanzee, and (book spoiler) the family structure does not survive his presence.
posted by cocoagirl at 3:34 PM on July 29, 2022 [12 favorites]

I liked this, but wound up a bit surprised that, at least on the surface, it's a pretty straightforward creature feature without much of the sharp social commentary that was in Peele's last two movies. (I was also hoping for something a skosh scarier, but that's just me.)

My favorite reference in it was undoubtedly the Akira bike slide.
posted by whir at 7:02 PM on July 29, 2022 [4 favorites]

Black cowboy gets killed by George Washington pocket change. Westerns don't make money anymore. A bunch of people operating on the margins of Hollywood try to gain benefit from a giant monster without it devouring them and spitting out the bits.

"Gordy's Home" made me think of "Cobby's Hobbies" which I saw a documentary on semi-recently.

From all the space references in the sitcom, Gordy is a chimp that was sent into space. Gordo was the name of a squirrel monkey launched on a Jupiter rocket. The parachute malfunctioned and Gordo's body was never recovered.
posted by RobotHero at 8:09 PM on July 30, 2022 [5 favorites]

Oh yeah I loved this movie a lot, and keep turning the details over in my head. One that I thought was brilliant was the inclusion of the 'tall boys,' the inflatable men that you see outside of mattress stores and car dealerships. The fact that those eye-catchers began as a Trinidadian carnival artistic director's vision of Afro-Trinidadian dancing to be included in the olympics is such an utterly perfect tie-in to the themes of spectacle, race and commodification. I can think of almost no other example of a cultural form that has been so unmoored from its origins and thought of as pure commerce now.
posted by umbú at 11:43 PM on July 30, 2022 [11 favorites]

I really enjoyed the weirdness, asthetic vision, performances, and overall vibes. So many movies look like they came down an assembly line and this one is shot from outside the assembly line's distorted window, with commentary on movie assembly lines generally and through time. I did have to read up how others understand the commentary though. Peele clearly is saying something about SPECTACLE, but I'm not sure exactly what. I guess mostly that it's dangerous and once unleashed it can't be controlled.
Maybe there's something about Trump and the other real world results of our society of the spectacle. He also is really interested in animals as symbols in his movies and I presume part of that speaks to our human hubris in how we exploit the natural world, to our peril.
posted by latkes at 8:16 AM on July 31, 2022 [1 favorite]

The coin that kills Otis Sr (OJ and Em's father) is a nickle, not a quarter. The nickle has Thomas Jefferson, the founding father most noted for enslaving hundreds of people, raping his slaves, and then enslaving his own children.

Also, nice bit of foreshadowing when you see his x-ray in the hospital, and the coin shows up as a bright white perfect circle so it looks like an inverse-color image of the UFO monster.

Also, Otis Sr. is literally killed by capitalism.
posted by AlSweigart at 6:05 AM on August 1, 2022 [10 favorites]

Ah, nickle, I misidentified which president that was. So I was definitely thinking "killed by capitalism" but I lost any significance around using Jefferson specifically.
posted by RobotHero at 8:19 AM on August 1, 2022

I found the film a bit disjointed, and the stated objective "get the Oprah shot" didn't seem to provide enough drive to more the plot forward. I did like the weirdness and some of the non-linearity, and there was enough symbolism to give you something to think about.

For me, the western setting (including the cowboy hat-like shape of the alien) definitely references the idea that our history is mythology, created by storytellers for a willing public. The need for getting video also seems to reference current events, POC just aren't believed unless there's documentation. That Poole chose to do this wish analog film rather that cell phones is a callback to the Muybridge images: "we've always been here."
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:35 PM on August 2, 2022 [4 favorites]

A bunch of people operating on the margins of Hollywood try to gain benefit from a giant monster without it devouring them and spitting out the bits.

The people living on the fringe, on their frontier, choosing to deal with an existential threat on their own terms, to solve their own personal problems, rather than calling in the cavalry and civilization to handle it, felt very much like what could happen in a western.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:15 PM on August 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

saladin: "the male lead doesn't end up having that much to do". I believe OJ is the one who figured out the basics of dealing with the alien-- that it doesn't want to be looked at, that it can be attracted by balloons and flags, but they're bad for it. To my mind, he was very clear-headed about animals, and that was what was crucially needed. Em gets the heroic fight, but she couldn't have done it without his insights.

Does anyone want to take a crack at the balloon theme? Note that a *big* balloon is what kills the creature. I think balloons are about empty display.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 8:53 AM on August 10, 2022 [6 favorites]

OK so I furiously tried to make my own mind up about the movie before reading anything else, and what I came up with is this: it’s about social media, and specifically the act of witnessing. Watching, filming, photographing, witnessing – it’s obviously threaded throughout the movie. The crucial question is what the watching is for.

Why was Jupe the only one to survive, amongst all the TV show actors? Gordy was on film to be exploited, as an animal. Jupe was the only non-white person there. To be sure, we didn’t see any overt act of racism toward him, but it is baked into history.

OK, so why does Jupe later get killed by the UFO? Because he has become “white” and is literally seeing the UFO merely as a way to make money. See his laughable costume versus that of OJ, who works with horses for his actual job.

The people at Jupiter’s Claim who are also killed? Taking photos for social media. Gawking. Spectators.

Antlers Holst, the cinematographer. He gets closer; he is fascinated by animals, seeks to understand them – but only insomuch as he can capture them on film. It seems to be a surface obsession. He meets his downfall simply because he wants a better shot.

OJ. Why does the UFO open up at the end? It’s not a threat display. Throughout the film, OJ has repeatedly said “nope”. It’s funny! He’s refusing to look at the scary thing, because often that thing will try and kill him. But at the end, he looks at it it in wonder. He is trying to truly see it and understand it, and it lets him.

And finally, the UFO. Well, it meets its downfall because it, ultimately, only wants to capture.
posted by adrianhon at 3:56 PM on August 12, 2022 [5 favorites]

Why was Jupe the only one to survive, amongst all the TV show actors?

The girl, Mary Jo(?), also survived. She is Jupiter's special guest at the first Star Lasso Experience; he calls her his "former co-star and first crush." When the wind starts to kick up as The Being approaches, the veil of her sunhat is lifted for a moment and you can see that her face is severely disfigured from when Gordy beat her and ate the skin on her face.

Question for those who know about horses: On the commercial set, what was it that spooked the horse? I know it was something to do with that giant reflective ball, but what exactly -- was it that Lucky saw his own reflection? Or was it about the distorted vision or seeing the reflection of the other people?

When the TMZ-esque motorcyclist came on the scene, I was momentarily confused by his shiny silver helmet. I thought that perhaps that guy had some knowledge of the alien and was wearing the helmet specially so that it would hide his gaze and protect him from the creature, but I guess it worked in the exact opposite way and attracted the being to him. I'm assuming that the psychology behind Lucky the horse's reaction is the same as what's going on with the creature -- maybe sort of like when a dog sees itself in the mirror?

On the last shot of OJ on horseback -- anyone think it might have been a nod to the end of Django Unchained, when Django performs some horsemanship tricks to entertain Broomhilda?
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:16 PM on August 12, 2022 [5 favorites]

Also, it's spelled "nickel"
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:18 PM on August 12, 2022

I suppose I’d say that Mary Jo, like all child actors, is also being exploited to an extent!
posted by adrianhon at 4:29 PM on August 12, 2022

Jupe was exploited as well as a child actor. I think Jupe is about how those who are exploited then exploit others. Even the nod to his disfigured colleague is about that.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:42 PM on August 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

I think Jupiter inviting her to the debut of his new Alien Wrangling show was also his way of making things up to her/showing off for her. He couldn't protect her from Gordy when they were both kids, but he thinks he can now control this giant creature from space. Gordy trying to give him the fist-bump before getting shot convinced him that there was something special about him -- he was witness, he was spared, he maybe even had the power to prevent Gordy's attack. So he can both do now what he couldn't do then, and he also gets to impress his first love, even if she has been horribly mutilated.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:12 PM on August 12, 2022 [5 favorites]

Possibly OJ riding the horse is also about being able to work with animals if you actually understand them.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 4:43 AM on August 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

I loved this! Just saw it in the cinema, it was the first horror I have seen at the cinema as I am not a horror fan but I am a Jordan Peele fan! And a Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya fan, they were fantastic.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:08 AM on August 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

Michael is wearing a skirt according to the costume designer, and a sarong rather than trousers [Vulture / Archive]
posted by ellieBOA at 12:24 PM on August 17, 2022

I always have articles saved to read after I’ve watched a movie, here are my favourites!
What You Can and Can’t See in Nope [Vulture / Archive]
Keke Palmer’s Whole Career Has Been Leading Up to Nope [Slate]
“Nope” Review: Keke Palmer’s Lesbian Character Is Miraculously Alive [Autostraddle]
And I really enjoyed this cast and director interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers.
posted by ellieBOA at 6:45 AM on August 18, 2022 [4 favorites]

Loved this movie! Bit more gruesome than I was expecting but fantastic.

Gordy's Home! opening credits.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:26 AM on August 19, 2022 [5 favorites]

This is the pettiest of nits to pick, but I have to pick it:

At some point, Jupe discusses an SNL skit which poked fun at the Gordy attack incident, and says that they had Chris Kattan playing his character "Mango" standing in for Gordy.

The monkey character Chris Kattan played in SNL sketches was named Mr. Peepers. "Mango" was the weirdly enigmatic dude in a beret he says he based on one of his exes, his dog, and an Orlando stripper.

....This probably bothers me because I also got that mixed up as well for the longest time and I'm still a bit embarrassed about it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:35 AM on August 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

About the initial post: I thought OJ and Em owned the horse ranch as well as being caretakers.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 5:27 AM on August 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

They do, following the loss of their dad, they talked about Steven Yeun’s character making an offer to buy it.
posted by ellieBOA at 3:18 PM on August 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

I couldn't believe how much story telling there was in the first 5 minutes -- from the audio over the company logos to the first shot with Gordy and then telling so much about Keith David's character instantly as he's teaching the horse a trick. I immediately understood the whole setup with the horse training. And then zing --

Likewise the wonderful shorthand with Jupe Park his theme park. Named "Claim" because he probably, eventually, after years, won a settlement from the trauma he endured in 1998. There's a poster of the Kid Sheriff western he was on previously shot from inside the well, reinforcing that setup. You've got to admire a guy who has three kids yet still maintains an immaculate hidden secret memento room. There must have been a whole story going on with the Park family losing horse after horse, and planning to put on a show to profit off it. That OJ doesn't freak out about the kids because he knows them, he's been selling them horses over there to keep things going.

So many details just sliding by in this movie, trusting the viewer, it's brilliant.
posted by Catblack at 8:35 PM on August 26, 2022 [4 favorites]

What a remarkable and well made movie. I'm not sure I liked it; horror's not my thing and something about this movie felt so claustrophobic, with the small cast and remote set. But those are minor complaints compared to what I liked so much about this and about Us, seeing Peele's personal vision of horror.

Like latkes says above this film's perspective is fresh. Partly the African-American cultural elements, for sure, for me it was loving all the soul music and the defiance and pride of the Haywood Hollywood Horses. But I also liked all the original and strange details: the film cinematographer, the mirrored helmet, the balanced shoe, the air dancers, the camera in the well. Peele's drawing from a lot of personal images here and communicates them so well.

I agree that a scene showing Jupiter using horses to bait the UFO/creature would have made the plot make a lot more narrative sense. I wasn't even clear watching this if the whole Star Lasso thing was just a corny coincidence.

The part of the plot that confounds me most is the Gordy story. It is literally the story of an animal wrangler job gone wrong and so it feels like it should dovetail narratively with the story about professional animal wranglers grappling with an extraterrestrial menace. I don't think the Heywoods were literally wrangling Gordy. But I was expecting more than a completely separate thing, Jupe's tragic backstory. But that frame of Gordy there, hands and mouth bloodied and staring into our eyes; that's clearly an image deep from Peele's psyche.

One thing I appreciate about both Nope and Us is the themes in the stories are much more complex than one specific thing. I agree with the critical articles written above that this film is about the American quest for spectacle. But then it's also about a particular kind of Black experience, and aliens and horses, and backcounty California, and a complicated and loving brother/sister relationship, and a child actor emotionally scarred by watching a chimpanzee eat his fellow cast members' faces. It's also very much a movie about LA culture. Just so much going on, it feels like David Lynch's later films in the complexities and personal obsessions.

PS: Am I making this up or did the creature briefly look like a giant Wu-Tang logo on its way to fully unfurling to a jellyfish shape? Hilarious. There's lots of other references scattered in the film, thanks to whir for pointing out the Akira slide.
posted by Nelson at 8:58 AM on August 29, 2022 [1 favorite]

Science Friday: The Surprising Animal Science Behind Jordan Peele’s ‘Nope’. An interview with marine biologist Kelsi Rutledge who consulted on the film.
She even gave it a scientific name: Occulonimbus edoequus, meaning “hidden dark cloud stallion eater.”
Talks about the marine and avian animal inspirations for the creature. One particularly chilling point; the reason Jean Jacket eats and spits out coins and wheelchairs is something like why birds swallow pebbles to grind creatures they eat in their gizzards.
posted by Nelson at 11:57 AM on September 2, 2022 [5 favorites]

Saw it tonight with my partner; thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of accolades for the main cast, but I thought Steven Yeun delivered something really haunted and nuanced.

There were... four songs, maybe?.... that were prominent in the film, and it leapt out at me that two of them were Canadian '80s pop hits -- Gowan's "Strange Animal" was arguably the perfect fit as the Gordy's Home theme, given when the show was supposed to have aired, but a chunk of the plot also rotates around Corey Hart's "Sunglasses At Night" slowing down and stopping and starting and stopping again. Maybe just a coincidence, but it's an interesting one. I have to watch Get Out and Us again now with an ear out for Canuck pop.

Audio was my one quibble -- it makes perfect sense for a record player to audibly slow down when there's a brownout or power cut, but there's no sense at all in having a digital radio or CD player or MP3 player do that, or voices on walkie-talkies. It's not like you're running out the battery on a Walkman. They'd just stop. But I'll allow it for dramatic effect.
posted by Shepherd at 6:24 PM on September 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

Filming began in Fall 2021, according to Google. Fry's Electronics went bankrupt in February 2021. This article makes it sound like the film requested to use the location after the bankruptcy. But it's still left unclear to me when in the production process it was decided to make Fry's such a large, easily noticed presence in the film.

I have to read it as intentional. This movie, with all of its themes about spectacle and capitalism and exploitation, also features the branding of a bankrupt tech superstore known for its spectacle-rich storefronts.
posted by meese at 9:49 PM on September 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

Also, this movie absolutely needs to be a double feature with Nathan Fielder's The Rehearsal.
posted by meese at 9:54 PM on September 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Okay, I have a bit of a spoiler-heavy question:

I have a low threshhold for some gore if I'm unprepared or on the first time I'm seeing something, but if someone tells me what I'm likely to be seeing I can brace myself.

During the scene when the audience got sucked up into the Beast, I had my hand over my eyes when it was showing the people Inside Its Mouth. For those people who did see it - exactly how oogy/icky/gory was that moment, and do we think I can handle actually seeing it?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:42 AM on September 8, 2022

That bit wasn't too gory. You basically see the people screaming inside a set of fabric-looking tubes, but not a lot visibly happens to them.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:48 AM on September 8, 2022

From what I remember EmpressCallipygos (and I saw it twice), there's no gore when they're in the creature. People are conscious and being bangled about by the digestion, but it looks more like big fabric walls.
posted by cocoagirl at 9:49 AM on September 8, 2022

I have zero tolerance for gore at the moment and it was gore free, exactly like cocoagirl describes.
posted by ellieBOA at 10:59 PM on September 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

A wonderful call back to Jaws, which seems to be in the family tree of this movie?

The shark and the alien basically die the same way. I was expecting a "smile you sonofabitch" as she took the final photo and before it exploded.

I loved the movie and all the layers. Little lines like "a couple of clouds won't kill us" from Jupe's wife when in fact that's exactly what happens a few minutes later are delightful nods to people paying attention.

The image of the creature vomiting a torrent of blood onto the house is one of the most iconic horror images I have seen for a long time.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:50 AM on September 15, 2022 [2 favorites]

Hoyte Hoytema on how he achieved the look with an infra red camera.
posted by jouke at 4:19 AM on September 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

Cool photo plus a second one of how they lit the house at night, via.
posted by ellieBOA at 8:13 AM on September 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

What a terrific movie. My sense is that the primary theme is trauma, its effects, how we process and manage it.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:59 AM on September 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

I got the strong Jaws vibes. Obviously Antlers is a Quinn character — the act of cranking the film is even similar to a fishing reel. But there’s also a tonal shift when the monopoly pieces come out very similar to the third act of Jaws. It goes from being horror to adventure. The line of flags is also reminiscent of the barrels in Jaws.
posted by condour75 at 3:44 PM on September 26, 2022

Saw this last night and liked it a lot, but agree with the few folks above who thought it felt a bit choppy. It's a rare film I think could use just a tad more explainium, but this one could have on the Star Lasso show subplot, for sure, and the kids in alien costume in the stable eventually made sense as more than a cheap scare, I guess. And yeah, it was also a bit skimpy on the social commentary I expected, but sure Peele can make a fairly straightforward creature feature if he likes. Especially with *that* creature, wow. And the characters were great; I would have liked to see them interact even more.

The blu-ray is out at a Redbox near you, which means the deleted scenes are up on YouTube. One of them shows the impressive actor with prosthetic arms in motion capture gear they used as the foundation for the chimp, and another one is an early scene that clearly shows Emerald flirting with another woman on a Hollywood street. Shame that was cut from the film; it would have been nice to have some more overt representation like that in addition to the couple of quick, vague you'll-see-them-if-you're-queer nods we got.

The other extras include a 14-min piece on Jean Jacket, which notes that in addition to the sea creatures mentioned in the Science Friday piece above, one "early reference point" for the creature was Robert Mapplethorpe's 1980s photos of orchids, along with Robert Morris felt sculptures, the famous Marilyn Monroe skirt photo and the billowing sails of large ships from the Age of Sail.

It also has a sequence of stills that shows the unfurling process as the sand dollar shape turns into that gorgeous flowing floating thing; that was neat to linger over.
posted by mediareport at 1:23 PM on October 29, 2022 [4 favorites]

immaculate hidden secret memento room.

One parallel I found affecting was the way Jupe and OJ display their traumas. One has a secret memento room he rents to thrillseekers, the other has a bloody nickel in a biohazard ziplock bag thumbtacked to the wall.
posted by zamboni at 3:38 AM on December 31, 2022 [3 favorites]

also features the branding of a bankrupt tech superstore known for its spectacle-rich storefronts.

Specifically the Alien Invasion themed Burbank Fry’s. It’s incredible that Peele toyed with removing the physical crashed UFO with CGI.
"We changed the UFO to a 1960s convertible in post[-production]. I created the 1960s Cadillac rear end with the taillights. We went through so many iterations," said De Jong. "I think Jordan didn't want to – just at that moment – be so on-the-nose. But I think ultimately, he just was like, 'Let's make it what it actually is.'"
Added layer of symbolism: the owner of Fry’s and his wife have a cameo as spectators devoured at the Star Lasso show.
posted by zamboni at 3:53 AM on December 31, 2022 [3 favorites]

At some point, Jupe discusses an SNL skit which poked fun at the Gordy attack incident, and says that they had Chris Kattan playing his character "Mango" standing in for Gordy.

The monkey character Chris Kattan played in SNL sketches was named Mr. Peepers .

I do wonder whether, in a movie about gaze and averting gaze, whether avoiding the name Peepers is meaningful.
posted by zamboni at 4:20 AM on December 31, 2022 [1 favorite]

and says that they had Chris Kattan playing his character "Mango" standing in for Gordy.

Looking back at the scene again, I don’t see where Mango is mentioned at all.
posted by zamboni at 4:50 AM on December 31, 2022

Do you have a link? I will find the timestamp.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:02 AM on December 31, 2022

The start of the monologue on Yarn.
Jupe: You haven't seen the bad Gordy sketch on SNL? I mean, they pretty much nailed it better than I could. No? Saturday Night Live? Darrell Hammond as Tom. Ana Gasteyer as Phyllis. Cheri Oteri is Mary-Jo Elliot. Scott Wolf is the host, he's me. But, of course, the star of the sketch is Chris Goddamn Kattan as Gordy, and he is... undeniable, 'kay? Bit goes like this: Everyone's trying to celebrate Gordy's birthday, but every time Gordy hears something about the jungle... Gordy -- Kattan -- goes off, and it's-- It's Kattan. He's just crushing it, he is a force of nature, he is killing on that stage. Yeah. It's legendary. Legendary shit.
posted by zamboni at 2:12 PM on December 31, 2022

Does anyone have theories and explanations for why the alien changed shape near the end?

The Science Friday interview Nelson linked mentions that Peele intended it as a performance, a lure:
Jordan, for the unfurled shape, he really wanted to create something that was really hard for the characters to look away from. So he described it as peacocking, so trying to get the character’s attention because if you looked at it for too long, you know, it would eat you.
Thematically, I thought the metamorphosis also toyed with a bunch of different things- the black hat/white hat Western movie trope, themes of blackness and whiteness, masking and assimilation.
posted by zamboni at 2:56 PM on December 31, 2022

On the shoe: I figure one theme in Nope is responses to trauma, and how it affects what we see. Film, and older horror movies in particular, often puts the viewer in the position of privileged observer, where we have an external viewpoint that the character does not, where we eventually receive context, and can judge the character’s reactions accordingly. The shoe chips away at that dispassionate viewpoint. Are we seeing reality? Do we have all the facts?
posted by zamboni at 6:16 PM on December 31, 2022

My first take on the overall theme was that the creature is Hollywood - it'll chew you up and spit you out. And so the key for me was OJ describing how you can't tame a wild animal, but you can have a kind of contract with it, if you're careful.

Now that I've read more from Peele about "the spectacle", I think Hollywood is just one example of it. I'm getting more of a thing about how we let the spectacle take over our attention, to the point where our memories and understanding of events are squashed under the weight of the depiction of the event. Westerns (or war movies, or sitcoms, etc etc) aren't historically accurate, but they form our ideas of what life is and was. Jupe can't speak of his trauma, but he can tell people about an SNL skit about the event. Everyone knows the Muybridge images of horse and rider, but no-one thinks of the rider as a real person with a job and a family. The creature doesn't *really* matter until it can be captured (on film, or just kept in the area by Jupe) and shown to others.

I saw someone on Letterboxd suggest that the shoe standing on end might not even be how it really happened - it's that Jupe has it displayed vertically and that image has kind of over-written his original memory of it. Which is definitely a thing that happens sometimes. Another take I like is that the shoe is another example of a bad miracle.
posted by harriet vane at 6:39 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]

OJ spends most of his working week communicating with animals and finds it difficult to switch from non-verbal to verbal methods. I don't think that proves or disproves him being neurodivergent, I assume ND people will be better placed than I am to make that reading. Just mentioning it because it has plot and character relevance, and it annoys me to see a lot of comments (outside of MeFi) saying that Kaluuya didn't do much. He did heaps as an actor, he just didn't have a line saying "well as someone who spends a lot of time learning how to communicate with intelligent yet potentially dangerous creatures, [insert exposition here]". Honestly I think sometimes people forget that movies are a visual medium.
posted by harriet vane at 6:51 AM on January 1 [2 favorites]

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