Watch the skies...
Welcome to Pop ‘n’ Pizza, a weekly newsletter highlighting what’s new in pop culture and pulp fiction. This week, I’m talking about Jordan Peele’s new sci-fi horror film NOPE. 🍕🥤
Genre: Science Fiction Horror
Release Date: July 22, 2022
Running Time: 131 Minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures
Behind the Scenes
Directed by Jordan Peele
Written by Jordan Peele
Cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema
Music by Michael Abels
In Front of the Camera
Daniel Kaluuya (GET OUT, WIDOWS)
Keke Palmer (HUSTLERS, LIGHTYEAR)
Brandon Perea (THE OA)
Steven Yeun (MAYHEM, MINARI)
Keith David (THE THING, THEY LIVE)
Michael Wincott (THE CROW, DEAD MAN)
What’s It About?
“Caretakers at a California horse ranch encounter a mysterious force that affects human and animal behavior.” — Universal Pictures
Why You Should Check It Out
From A TRIP TO THE MOON (1902) to THE FLYING SAUCER (1950) to CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977), FIRE IN THE SKY (1993), and ARRIVAL (2016), movies about extraterrestrials have been around for as long as the art form itself. With NOPE, Jordan Peele looks to pay homage to what’s come before while offering up a new spin on the alien visitation subgenre.
Written and directed by Peele (GET OUT, US) and lensed by cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, INTERSTELLAR), NOPE transports us to Southern California’s Santa Clarita Valley, where siblings OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald (Keke Palmer) have inherited a horse ranch from their father, Otis Haywood Sr. (Keith David), a legendary animal wrangler for Hollywood.
One night, OJ and Emerald witness something they can’t explain — a flying disc silently gliding through the clouds above the ranch. Things escalate as the siblings enlist the expert help of Fry’s Electronics employee Angel Torres (Brandon Perea) and eccentric cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott) to capture the mystery on camera. Meanwhile, at nearby theme park Jupiter’s Claim, owner Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun) attempts to cash in on the phenomena with a new attraction, The Star Lasso Experience.
NOPE is a movie that could not have been without the success of GET OUT and US — an original film starring people of color, directed by a person of color, with a big budget ($68 million) and even bigger ideas in it. In a cinematic landscape filled with remakes, reboots, sequels, and spin-offs based on existing intellectual property, it’s a fresh, unique blockbuster that actually has something to say about our addiction to spectacle.
An intense, anxiety-inducing slow burn punctuated by genuine moments of awe and dread, with excellent performances, gorgeous cinematography, a nerve-shattering score by Michael Abels, and outstanding special effects, NOPE is one of the best films of the year and an absolute must-see in theaters. It’s Peele’s love letter to JAWS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND — and it’s a letter I look forward to re-reading many, many times.
PS: If possible, check out NOPE in a premium format like Dolby Cinema or IMAX — the massive scope of the visuals and the seat-shaking sound really add to the overall experience.
Slices (Out of 5)
You May Also Like…
If you dig this, you may also enjoy:
GET OUT (2017)
FIRE IN THE SKY (1993)
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