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Jordan Peele's NOPE (2022) Movie Review

Reviewing movies I've personally seen makes me as close to an expert as you need.

Diving right into it, the movie was the worst movie I have seen since the debacle called Boesman and Lena (2000) starring Angela Basset and Danny Glover. I wasted hours of my life seeing the most incomprehensible art, and money I could have used for another activity. Money's tight. I feel cheated by Jordan Peele because of this movie.

  1. Did I like the movie? NOPE!
  2. Was there character development? NOPE!
  3. Was the movie engaging? NOPE!
  4. Was the plot easy to follow? NOPE!

I was confused most of the movie. Granted, I could just be that intellectually challenged that I cannot understand the mangled mess I watched. I've come to expect a little eccentricity from Mr. Peele, but this NOPE (2022)business is beyond me. The fact that I had to go on Youtube and find what others said of the movie to get a coherent storyline speaks volumes about this newest feature.

I want to leave a spoiler alert, but the movie is so convoluted, I don't know what I would spoil. The movie has transcended the ability to be spoiled, which must be why Peele made it. I like the guy's work too much to give up on him, but I am hanging on by a flag banner, a little bit of NOPE survivor humor.

I like the guy's work too much to give up on him, but I am hanging on by a flag banner, a little bit of NOPE survivor humor.

I Did Not Like the Movie.

It starts out interestingly enough with one of the main characters chatting with his father. Now, if you plan to see the movie, stop reading because I am about to reveal a spoiler. Something horrible happens to the father leaving the business of running a horse training ranch to a sibling duo.

I did not learn that from the movie I watched, however. Apparently, Peele's art required the passage of time to somehow infer itself on the audience, because the father was alive one moment, and then dead, buried, and the son, failing, was trying to keep things going.

I sat in the movie theater confounded the entire time, looking around to see what the other audience members were doing. They all quietly mumbled about the movie in ways I could not hear, so I said out loud in the theater, "This is the worst movie I have ever seen."

I received a few chuckles. My wife laughed uncontrollably because she could not fathom why I was so upset about that wasted three hours, at least it seemed like three hours. She wasted those same hours with me, trying to find meaning in the images that were so blurry and dark most of the time, until a few moments at the end of the movie. I did not like the movie because it ended stupidly and it was boring. I did not like it, nope. It is two hours and eleven minutes.

None of the dialogue made sense to me, only in small snippets. The entire script came from snippets. The F-word and the N-word seemed to fit effortlessly in the mouths of the characters, characters who have no substance. It is an R-rated movie. At least there was no sexual content.

It is an R-rated movie. At least there was no sexual content.

Was there character development?

Of course, there was no character development in the movie. The only reason I understood some of what went on had to do with the series Yellowstone on peacock. The previews pale to capture the true lack of personality in the characters in the film. The previews are much more entertaining.

One of the protagonists wanted to be famous and spoke with pizzaz each time she spoke. She spoke too much and too annoyingly for my tastes, She has one setting, party time. Keke Palmer's portrayal of Emerald Haywood left me hoping the character disappeared. Keke's character seemed irresponsible and unreliable. The interesting thing about Keke's portrayal is that she reminds me of my little sister, her spunk and readiness to act. Peele could have used all of that bubbling energy, but it went untapped. There were times I thought the two sibling protagonist would have a meaningful exchange to build some connection with me, the audience member. It is my understanding that artists want their craft to help people find a connection to it. I felt the biggest disconnection with those characters.

There was no character development in Boesman and Lena (2000) either, but at least the setting is comprehensible. At least there existed a relationship between the characters, however minuscule it was, where conversation interactions occurred.

In Nope (2022), the only kind of acting was one-dimensional if that's possible. Everything had to be "understood" or comprehended on a higher plane. The movie reveals a true mystery of a phenome in the sky, so the actors in the movie do not have to be convincing. Every actor and actress probably performed so well that my feeble understanding of the media arts ranks me the class idiot.

Could I have prematurely judged the movie? No, the cast did a bang-up job, and not in the good way. I thought because Daniel Kaluuya appeared in the movie, known to me from Get Out (2017) that I was in for the show of a lifetime. Nope.

Get Out (2017) Actor Daniel Kaluuya

I felt the biggest disconnection with those characters.

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This movie has fallen into "The Sunken Place." Everything and everyone seem so disconnected and unimportant. The characters elicited no feelings of compassion in me or anyone sitting around me, no bond came into existence over a tragedy, even though it should have over the father's death. Peele could have milked a connection with the brother-character, O. J. Hayward, apprising us of the trauma of seeing his father die. The scenes seemed to jump too much to develop the characters. There must be a director's cut unless Peele put everything into the movie, and that's why it's so horrible.

Keke Palmer


Was the movie engaging? NOPE!

Okay, maybe I was engaged trying to figure out what was going on the entire movie. I turned to my wife about 20 times asking her if she saw or understood something I did not. Both of us sat puzzling about the movie thinking that there would come some great "reveal" because Peele always bats a thousand, and I don't know what "bats a thousand" means, but it seemed appropriate to type.

The movie engaged my pocket because Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya tricked me into seeing something l thought was a summer hit and not an enigma of inferences. I could not emotionally invest in the movie, though I invested my money and time.

Was the plot easy to follow? NOPE!

What was the phenome in the sky attacking people? Why did it start attacking people or was it always doing that? I could not decide what direction the movie would take, which is normally great; however, in this movie, there was no continuity. Art needs to make sense to connect to people. If it is cryptic and elitist in nature, how can it make money?

I read praising reviews from other watchers, people far more qualified to critique the movie. I represent the average generic audience member who may be too out of touch with the ways of the world to understand the content of that cinema piece.

I did appreciate the lack of sexual content, though the Emerald character did make a pass at another woman, but that pass was not the focus of the movie. The movie had a focus on the phenome I would rather the reader experience if you choose. I don't want to ruin a horrible time for you.

Peele used an interesting approach to reveal the characters and unfold the movie, unconventional. I don't like it. I like what works, and Marvel has the formula that works for movies. Jordan Peele needs to continue with his art, but take the normal unartistic person like me into consideration. I enjoyed Get Out (2017), Us (2019), and Them (2021). Nope (2022) does nothing for me. It wounded my heart.

Rating the Movie

On a scale of one to ten, I give the movie a two.

I did not like the movie. I did not like the artistic approach Peele took because I could not understand it. It seems that his creative genius has finally left me in the quagmire of my limited scope. I'm serious. Maybe I am not "woke" enough to get this film. It could be true. I own that possibility--still a two out of ten.

One moviegoer reviewed this film, in part, using words best left to the original, a reviewer by the name of WillieVille Je'Quan, who also gave the movie two stars overall:

“Nope” will leave it’s audience confused and with questions. Not totally unsatisfied but, it will be no mistake that the audience wouldn’t be satisfied. I give the acting five stars . I give the visuals five stars. The plot and storyline, if I could define it using one word “amateur.” [1]

I disagree with his rating on the acting. All of it was horrible because the film was horrible. The ONLY redeeming quality of the film is its visual effects. The visceral emotional moments in the film fail due to the overarching discontinuity of the story that never gets explained. Never!

I agree with David Ehrlich, of IndieWire, in his sentiment that

watching the movie, you can just about taste the DNA of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Nope mirrors the trajectory of other films that have been made in the shadow of Close Encounters, like M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs and Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival. Here, as in those films, the anticipation works better than the payoff. [2]

I did not pay to see a movie that left me wanting for so much at the end as Nope does. I did not like or ever want to see again Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Signs, or Arrival. I enjoy science fiction, but not when humankind seems always to be the victim of some malevolent force or nothing more than a "bug" in another more advanced species' world. This movie was dystopian in nature, dark.

I am a Star Trek fan, all of them. I enjoy the hope it inspires in its viewers. Nope offers no hope. It offers unexplained triumph over a predator. I want more than a "win" after enduring that hodge-podge of visual effects with forced and unsuccessful character chemistry. I said it before, it looks like someone forgot to make the final edits to the movie. Maybe we will get a redo, like Zack Snyder's Justice League

Reference Sources

I could not find a proper link to the review, so I copied it here for convenience.

WillieVille Je'Quan [1]

So clearly the five stars reviews posted Regarding this movie are clearly posted by people paid to post positive reviews. One of the reviewers recommended that we forget the previous films done by Jordan Peele ( “get out” or “us” ) didn’t exist, so se wouldn’t compare and contrast NOPE to those films. Which makes it clear there if we had to pretend those films didn’t exist than this film must cannot live up to the standards and quality of those previous films. With that being said I’m going to have to give this film a struggling two STARZ….. I understand a director’s need to try to insert symbolic meaning into films but those symbolic symbols and meanings must at some point in the film be translated to the audience not to leave the audience confused upon the end of such films. In the case of this movie the structuring was terrible none of the sequences came together by the end of the film the acting with superb Keke Palmer did a superb job as well as the other supporting cast but Jordan Peele (as he did in the movie US) has a bad way of delivering exposition. We’ve seen other films about aliens and UFOs such as Signs, which also included flashbacks and confus[ing] sequences that may have the audience confused at moments, But Director M. Night Shyamalan did a great job tying all those sequences together to paint a perfect picture and deliver a great message “Everything Happens For A Reason.” As a Black man, it’s unfortunate for me to say, Jordan Peele didn’t hit his mark. Nope will leave its audience confused and with questions. Not totally unsatisfied but, it will be no mistake that the audience wouldn’t be satisfied. I give the acting five stars. I give the visuals five stars. The plot and storyline, if I could define it using one word, “amateur.” Jordan Peele is 1 for 3. I’m sure his next film will be straight to Netflix.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Rodric Anthony Johnson

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