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Why 'Nope' is the most important movie of Jordan Peele's career

Movies

Why ‘Nope’ is the most important movie of Jordan Peele’s career

More Tarantino than Hopper.

Get Out is one of the most important movies of the 21st century. It is frightening, topical, and funny. On a personal level, it provided me with one of the greatest theater going experiences of my life. I saw the movie in a sold out theater on opening night. As the chaotic final moments came to a crescendo, the audience roared with applause and approval. Sure, there were sniffles after the snap in Infinity Warbut Get Out provided a genuine emotional outburst unlike anything I have ever seen in a movie theater.

It has also been something of an albatross for writer-director Jordan Peele. No matter what he does for the rest of his career, everything will be compared to his directorial debut. This is not necessarily fair, but Kevin Smith and John Singleton are examples of how the expectations following a strong first film can affect filmmakers. Singleton never quite matched the success of Boyz in the Hood while Clerks will always be the bar for every Smith movie.

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Peele faced backlash almost immediately. For all the good that Us did critically and commercially, there was still a sense of disappointment from audiences. Some cited its lack of scares while others thought there was too much going on. The real problem was a easier to define. It simply was not as good as Get Out. A strong argument can be made that this is an unfair comparison, but audiences made their decision.

Peele has branched out to other projects that have been met with lukewarm receptions after initial excitement. His remake of The Twilight Zone was particularly disappointing. The show had so much promise and failed to deliver on any level. However, Peele had built up so much goodwill thanks to Get Out, people were willing to forgive and forget to watch.

nope

Which brings us to Nope. Peele’s latest movie is a science fiction horror movie set in California. Even after the first trailer was released on February 13, 2022, there was little known about the actual plot. Though it was shown way too much – it seemed to be on before every movie released after the Super Bowl – it is a great trailer. But after seeing it for most of 2022, it raises a question. At first, it was great to see something new from Peele; in time, the obvious question arose. Will it be good enough to make people not think about Get Out for just a little while?

Therein lies Peele’s problem. He never has to make anything better than Get Out, but he needs to make something that is good enough to stand on its own. Peele will never be seen as a one hit wonder and has shown a knack for horror that makes him one of the most interesting filmmakers to watch. But for many, he has also failed to live up to expectations more often than not. Nope is a chance to put an exclamation point on his legacy. It is an opportunity to get ahead of the narrative before someone writes it. Ultimately, it may end up being the film that defines his career.

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