‘Us’ Movie Review

If you told me 10 years ago that Jordan Peele would be a spectacular filmmaker that effortlessly blends social commentary and elements of terror together, I’d say you were crazy.  I’d go on to say that Jordan Peele is a comedian—albeit a hilarious comedian—that kills it every week on Mad TV, not a filmmaker, and damn sure not a master of horror.  However, after Mad TV and Key and Peele’s respective runs ended, Jordan surprised us all with Get Out, and now he’s struck gold again with Us.

Us tells the story of Adelaide Wilson (played by Lupita Nyong’o) and her family, who take a summer vacay to Santa Cruz, CA, the location of Adelaide’s old family home.  Adelaide is a bit uneasy about the trip due to a traumatic event she experienced there as a child, and her unease continues to heighten as the day rolls on.  It raises to a boil once she and her husband find a family outside the house later that night, threatening to invade their home.  What’s even more frightening is that the family that eventually takes over the house are the Wilson’s doppelgangers.

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You’re probably thinking what one of my co-workers said when I gave her the breakdown, “I got all that from the trailer!”  Unfortunately, that’s all I can say about the overall plot without spoiling the movie, and trust me, you don’t want this movie to be spoiled for you.  I greatly enjoyed Us.  I didn’t expect the film to be another Get Out—and it isn’t—and I ended up adoring what it is:  a creepy and nail-biting science fiction tale.  I have admit, I didn’t like it quite as much as Get Out, but that’s not to say the movie is weak.  It was just the opposite, actually.  I didn’t really catch the social commentary in it at first, but after checking out some other videos further explaining the symbolism and deeper themes, I got it.  Unlike Get Out, which focused on race relations and white liberalism, Us explores the subject of materialism and taking small things for granted.  I really want to watch the film again with new eyes to catch a lot of the things that I missed.

As usual, Lupita killed it.  I also loved Winston Duke as Adelaide’s clueless husband, Gabe.  In case you’re wondering who Winston Duke is, he played M’Baku in Black Panther.  Gabe’s character is a complete 180º from M’Baku, and it really shows Winston’s range.  All the actors had great performances, and coupled with the intense plot and symbolism throughout, it proves that Jordan Peele is a force to be reckoned with in the genre of horror as well as overall film making.

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To be honest, I don’t have anything bad to say about this film, other than it comes in a close second to Get Out, which remains Jordan Peele’s magnum opus.  I’ve noticed that some folks in my neck of the woods have been saying that Us was a grave disappointment, and one of the first things they do is compare it to Get Out.  I believe these folks went into the theatre expecting a Get Out clone.  Don’t do that.  You’ll be doing yourself a disservice and setting yourself up for disappointment.  It’s basically like watching Jackie Brown expecting an exact double (pun slightly intended) of Pulp Fiction.  Yeah, I agree that Get Out was the better movie between the two, but I also believe I was able to get a lot of satisfaction out of Us due to the fact that I didn’t expect to be a replica of its predecessor.

Y’all, go check this film out.  It’s already made back its budget and then some, so that should tell you something.  Just be sure to go into the theatre with an open mind.  If you do that, and take the film for what it is—which is excellent—you’ll have a great experience.

—Written by Nadiya

What did you think about Us?  Was it as good as Get Out?  Was it better?  Did you expect Us to be just like Get Out, or did you expect it to be an entirely different film?  Did you catch all the themes throughout the film?  Would you consider Jordan Peele to be a new master of horror/film making, or should he go back to comedy?  Let me know in the comments section!  

 

Luke Perry: 1966 – 2019

When I was a child back in the early ’90s, it was all about Beverly Hills, 90210.  There were board games, dolls, clothes; no matter where you went, someone was talking about the show.  After my mother jumped on the 90210 train when I was in sixth grade, I decided to get on it myself, and I didn’t get off until I finished my freshman year of college in 2000.  That was the year the original show went off the air (I didn’t bother with the reboot).  From the time the show started until the time it ended, the character that everyone talked about the most was Dylan, played by none other than Luke Perry.

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I started watching 90210 when the Dylan-Brenda-Kelly love triangle came to a head, resulting in Dylan choosing Kelly over his long-time love Brenda.  It was a choice I never agreed with—even to this day—but nonetheless, Dylan still ended up being one of my favorite characters.  He was definitely flawed (a struggling junkie/alcoholic), not to mention brooding, but he was also cute, charming, humble and had a big heart.  It was easy to see why he was just about everyone’s favorite character.  As a matter of fact, Dylan wasn’t an original member of the show.  He was only meant to guest star on one episode, but he made such an impression, Dylan McKay became a permanent part of the series.

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He left the show temporarily circa 1995 and came back again sometime around 1998, and his reappearance was all anyone talked about.  When he returned, he stayed until the show’s end, and needless to say he stole all the scenes he was in.  During and after Beverly Hills, 90210‘s run, I continued to be a fan of Luke Perry’s and I checked out more of his body of work such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the film, not the TV show), The Fifth Element (yes, he was in that movie…check out the first five minutes), Lifebreath (thanks to this film, I refuse to be an organ donor), Oz, The Simpsons, Indiscreet, and Windfall.  I have to be honest, Windfall as a whole sucked, but I was really happy to see Luke Perry on TV again.  Being even more honest, I was already watching Oz by the time Luke did his stint—I was hooked on that show from the first episode—but when I heard Luke would be guest starring on it, I was psyched.  His character’s conclusion on Oz puzzled me for years.  As time went on, I didn’t see as much of him, but I never forgot about him.  Sadly, I didn’t even realize he played Archie’s father on Riverdale until after he had his stroke.  Luke was still a young man, so I hoped he would make it through, but he didn’t.

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I remember during a 90210 reunion show, Ian Ziering (the actor that played Steve Sanders) saying that deep down, Luke was a down-to-earth farm boy that loved his family and the simple things in life.  I can tell from the outpouring of tweets and Instagram posts that have been released in the last few days that there was definitely truth to that statement.  Luke, you will be sorely missed.  Thanks so much for helping to shape my childhood.

Coy Luther Perry, III:  October 11, 1966 – March 4, 2019

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 —Written by Nadiya

 

The 2019 Oscars: The Things I Loved

Yeah…I know this year’s Oscars was last week (Sun. Feb. 24, 2019), but y’all know I’m late with just about everything, especially this year (damn sinuses).  Anyway, I watched the Academy Awards ceremony last Sunday, and I greatly enjoyed just about the entire three hour show.  To be honest, it pretty much flew by.  There was even a time I had to miss a few minutes, and you best believe I rushed back as quickly as I could.  With that being said, allow me to run down everything I loved about the 2019 Oscars.  Let’s do this!

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The Stars Didn’t Come To Play, They Came To Slay

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Just about everyone (except Pharrell) came to the ceremony dressed to doggone kill.  The guests were so glamorous, I felt like I was watching Old Hollywood stars walk the red carpet during The Golden Age.  Here’s some examples in GIF form (can’t really use the red carpet stills thanks to copyright):

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The Awards Show Didn’t Really Need a Host

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As I’m sure you all know, Kevin Hart was asked to host the Oscars this year, but after his past inflammatory tweets regarding the LGBT community resurfaced, he stepped down.  That left the ceremony without a host, but as the late, great Freddie Mercury once said, “The show must go on.”  I was curious to see how the Oscars would fare without a host, and to be honest, they killed it.  There were one or two cringeworthy jokes, but for the most part, everything flowed.  The best part about there not being a host is that there was less time wasted on monologues and more time spent on the nominees and winners.  Also, Queen and Adam Lambert opening up the show was the bomb!

So Much Diversity!

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Over the years, mostly Caucasian actors and actresses were honored at the Academy Awards, so much so that the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite was created in protest during 2015.  However, in 2019, the Academy took some steps to include people of all races.  The esteemed Mahershala Ali won for Best Supporting Actor; Regina King, who I’ve been a fan of since she was Brenda on 227, took home the Best Supporting Actress award, and my boy Rami Malek aka Elliot won Best Actor for Bohemian Rhapsody, the first Egyptian-American to do so (more on that later!).  There were also other people of color that took home Oscars such as Alfonso Cuarón, Ruth Carter, and Spike Lee.  Speaking of which…

Spike Lee Wins (‘Bout Doggone Time)!

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Spike finally took home a coveted Academy Award after all his years of being a legend in the film industry.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t for Best Director (that went to Alfonso Cuarón for Roma), but he did win Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKKKlansman.  His mini celebration on stage with Samuel L. Jackson when he heard the news was gold.  I’ve loved Spike Lee ever since I was a small child (Do the Right Thing remains one of my favorite movies), and I was more than happy to see him finally bring the gold home.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Get Cozy

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Midway through the show, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performed their song, “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born.  Everyone tuning in—including myself—couldn’t help but notice how much chemistry these two had onstage…not to mention the fact that they were miiiiighty cushy with each other during the performance.  Hmmm…  In fact, Gaga and Bradley were so lovey-dovey that the rumor mill started to turn, suggesting that they may be involved in an actual relationship.  Gaga later went on Jimmy Kimmel Live and debunked the rumors.   She even went so far as to say that social media is “the toilet of the internet.”  Burrrrrnnnnnn.

Olivia Colman’s Speech

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I’ve been a fan of Olivia Colman ever since I saw her on The Night Manager three years ago.  She’s a great actress, but I have to admit that another reason I love her is because she reminds me a lot of a family friend.  With that being said, you can imagine how happy I was when she took home the Best Actress award for The FavouriteWhat made the moment even sweeter was Olivia’s speech.  It was was just downright adorable the way she showed admiration for Glenn Close (and how much she hated beating her role model), love for her husband and kids, and she even shouted out Lady Gaga at the end.  You have to see it to get what I mean, so go to the link.

And last, but certainly not least…

Rami Malek Won Best Actor! ❤️

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A big reason I watched the awards show this year was to see if Rami would win the award or not, and I wasn’t disappointed.  Despite what all the haters had to say about Rami and Bohemian Rhapsody throughout the awards season (and by the way, the BoRhap hate didn’t piss me off…it actually tickled me), Rami still walked away with a Golden Globe, a SAG award, a BAFTA, and last week he took home the Oscar for Best Actor.  Needless to say, I couldn’t have been more psyched.  As I mentioned earlier, Rami made history, as he was the first Egyptian-American/Arab-American to win an Academy Award.  What made the moment even more special is the smooch Rami laid on his girlfriend, Lucy Boyton, when his name was called.  Wow.

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Yeah, my poor baby fell off the stage later that night and folks got a good laugh off of it, but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that he earned the win.  Plus, it didn’t stop him from partyin’ all night.  You go, boy.

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Ouch.  I’m just glad that didn’t happen during the show.

Honorable Mention:  Chris Evans Actually Being Captain America

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He is such a gentleman (and fine, too)!  Love that guy. ❤️❤️❤️

—Written by Nadiya

So what did you think about the Oscars this year?  Did you love the fashions?  Do you think there was more diversity this year?  Did Rami Malek deserve his Best Actor win?  Do you think the show works without a host?  If you liked the show, what aspects of it did you like that I didn’t mention?  What didn’t you like about the ceremony?  Let me know in the comments section!