'Nope' Gets a Yup From Me

Digital Editor Mike Nam
While Jordan Peele seemed to receive almost universal praise for his debut horror flick Get Out, his sophomore follow-up Us seemed to get some mixed reviews. Now his third directorial project, Nope, is stirring up some debate as well. Members of the Cheddar News Digital Team (the team behind the weekly What to Stream column) shared their thoughts after opening weekend and the reviews came in across the board.
While I see the point of view of audiences that found it somewhat opaque and seemingly incoherent, I had a more visceral, personal response to it and really enjoyed the ride. 
On the surface, it's about a brother and sister, heirs to the only Black-owned horse ranch and wrangler business for Hollywood productions, being terrorized by something in the sky on their remote property. But, an entanglement with their neighbor — a former child actor and the owner of a kitschy Wild West theme park — plus their dealings with film and media, point to themes about the long history of Hollywood exploitation of animals, children, and Black workers and performers, and the movie industry's inability to be aware of its own provocations against them. Daniel Kaluuya as OJ Haywood, Keke Palmer as his sister Emerald, and Steven Yeun as the neighbor, Jupe Park, really shine as well.
Without spoiling anything, Nope really played upon some very specific childhood fears of mine, so understandably your mileage may vary. Setting that aside, to me it was a heady mix of modern art house horror (which is a divisive subgenre all by itself) and B-movies about alien monsters. Seemingly disconnected moments of dread, terror, and occasional gore dance separately all the way to a conclusion that asks the viewer to pay attention to see the pattern as a waltz — maybe a little unfairly. It certainly isn't flawless, but the payoff felt complete and satisfying. 
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Daniel Kaluuya in a scene from "Nope." (Universal Pictures via AP)

Is Peele's latest a Masterpiece? 'Nope' But It's Pretty Darn Good

By Reporter Alex Vuocolo 
Splitting the difference here, let me just say that I'm sympathetic to both the lovers and the haters of Jordan Peele's latest. When it comes to direction and visual ambition, Nope frankly blows Peele's previous movies out of the water. It's filled to bursting with inventive, big-budget images and set pieces that give Steven Spielberg and James Cameron a run for their money. At the same time, at two hours and 10 minutes long, it feels like Peele's most overstuffed and thematically scattered film. While Get Out and Us delivered unapologetic, in-your-face social commentaries about race and class in America, Nope is more subtle, or perhaps more obscure, depending on your perspective. I fall into the latter camp. I found the movie's subtext about violent spectacle and the subjugation of animals for cinema (if I'm reading it correctly, and only Peele can know for sure) an awkward match for its old-school monster movie trappings. In short, as my colleague Mike Nam wrote, mileage will vary greatly with this one, but it's undeniable that Peele remains an artist to watch. 
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Keke Palmer in a scene from "Nope." (Universal Pictures via AP)

Jordan Peele: I Have Questions About 'Nope'

Digital Reporter Lawrence Banton
Jordan Peele has another box office success on his hands with Nope as it raked in $44 million in its opening weekend, but the conversation around the sci-fi thriller isn't just about dollar signs. There is strong debate about the film's plot and I definitely feel like I need to watch it again.
My initial reaction was, 'Hmm, did I miss something?' That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy the film but with Peele, there can be several underlying meanings to events taking place on the screen and I'm sure this is one of those occasions.
After the untimely and somewhat mysterious death of OJ's and Emerald's father, caused by falling debris from the sky, the two inherit his ranch. When the horses start to vanish and run off as if looking to escape danger, the two begin to look to the sky for answers.
Without giving away too many details, an entity in the sky begins to wreak havoc on the ranch and anyone willing to invade its territory. This is really where the questions begin to arise for me. What is this alluding to? Peele often uses film to add to the conversation about real-world issues, whether it be race relations or tackling social constructs, but with Nope I had a hard time connecting those dots.