Fun Things from the Get Out Commentary

Fun Things from the Get Out Commentary

Not going to lie, this is an article I’ve been waiting to write for a while. After seeing Get Out on it’s opening weekend I was enamored with the film and was dying to hear writer/director Jordan Peele discuss every aspect of the film. Before we dig in I’d like to throw out my two cents about the film. It is hands down one of the best films of the year and is sure to become a staple in the horror genre. It’s so good I actually had to see it twice in theatres to pick up all the subtle bits of foreshadowing Peele placed in the story. As a story of race relations in the U.S. it’s searing and thought provoking. (Yes, this coming from a white guy who was born and raised in one of the whitest areas of America.) So without further ado, lets dig into some of the fantastic anecdotes Jordan Peele lays on the viewer.

-Subverting the Genre-

The cold opening of the film is loosely based around the 1978 horror classic Halloween. We’re shown the perfect white suburb, but this time the character is already uncomfortable in this environment.

-Who’s on the Other End of the Line?-

While it’s never confirmed in the film we find out that Andre is more than likely on the phone with Rose who is baiting the trap.

-Homages to the Classics-

Throughout the commentary Jordan Peele discusses he numerous horror film influences. The man knows the genre in and out. Point of fact here’s his thoughts on the car in the opening, “I sort of wanted this Porsche to be like Jaws. Like it has this music coming from it, it has this menace. And also pulling from Christine a little bit. Also Duel a little bit.”

-Setting Up the Lore-

The Knights Templar helmet Jeremy wears to abduct Andre is our first clue into the origins of the Red Alchemist Society. Peele postulates that this is the way the society channels the immortality of the Holy Grail through their techniques.

-The Score-

This is composer Michael Abels first film. He’s a classical composer who has worked in a wide variety of genres including: blues, jazz, and bluegrass. “I chose him because I really wanted the soundtrack here and the score to have this new different sound. Something we’ve never heard before.”

-The Main Musical Theme-

To quote the director himself this was the quality he was looking for in the composer and score, “If you could give me black voices with a sinister sound that’s not voodoo. Maybe something that sounds almost like a disembodied or satanic negro spiritual.”

-Picking Additional Songs-

The use of the Childish Gambino song “Redbone” was to signal to the audience that Chris is an intelligent and alert person who makes the right decisions. The scene was originally scored, but it apparently felt too heavy and needed something more chill.

-Foreshadowing: Part I-

The first time we see Chris he is putting shaving cream on his face. This was the audience’s first hint at what the 3rd act would entail for Chris.

-Foreshadowing: Part II-

Rose’s smile when she is selecting pastries in the opening is the same one that can be seen in the photos Chris later finds in her bedroom closet.

-Filming Locations-

The entirety of the film was shot in Alabama. The apartment Chris and Rose have was filmed in Mobile and was suppose to give off the vibe of Brooklyn without being specific.

-Tough Parts of Filming-

Hiding the Rose reveal was the toughest part of the story. Jordan Peele wasn’t sure it would work. He commends the actress for making the reveal work so well “The character is as good an actor as she is.”

-Day One-

Jordan Peele’s first scene he shot as a director was the introduction of Rod. It was actually shot at a cruise ship terminal rather than an airport.

-Foreshadowing: Part III-

The close up shot of Chris stepping off the pavement into the woods was to show a transition in the story. Chris is going from the city (his comfort zone) into country (the wild).

-Foreshadowing: Part IV-

The scene where Rose is arguing with the cop about asking for Chris’ ID looks like her standing up for Chris on initial viewing, but it’s actually her covering her tracks. I picked up on this the second time I saw it and thought it was one of the most brilliant plant and pay offs in the film. It shows just how much of a sociopath Rose truly is.

-Directorial Instincts-

When Chris meets Rose’s parent’s on the doorstep coverage was shot in spite of Peele knowing he wanted it to play out in a wide. He said he should’ve trusted his instincts instead of wasting part of a 23 day shooting schedule on footage he knew would never get used.

-Who to Satire?-

While multiple films have taken aim at the blue collar red state racism Peele wanted to dig deeper. He wanted take on the liberal elites and show racism knows no class boundaries even in 2017.

-Jeremy’s Backstory-

Of all the people in the Armitage family when Jeremy was younger he knew what the family was doing was wrong. In the end he was turned into a monster because of the corruption from his family’s influence.

-The Hypnosis Scene-

Peele states that this is his favorite scene in the film. He wanted the Chris/Missy dynamic to be similar to the Clarice/Lecter conversations from Silence of the Lambs. He also wanted Chris to keep his composure and be resistant and grounded to the hypnosis.

-The Sunken Place-

We get a lot of great details about The Sunken Place. The basis comes from the feeling of falling you sometimes have before falling asleep. “Well what if you never caught yourself? Where would you fall. What would you go into?” The Sunken Place is a construct of Chris’ mind and worst fear, sitting alone powerless watching television. And The Sunken Place could potentially be different for every victim. “It’s a state of mind that is created by your own brain based on Missy latching onto your deepest fear or darkest moment.”

-The Party Scene-

The party scenes were the most difficult to film. The larger number of people made it harder to shoot. Peele wanted to give the partygoers an international flavor to show the scope of the Red Alchemist Society’s size.

-The Blind Art Dealer-

At one point it was discussed whether or not such an idea for a character would be too over the top. But in the end it’s just over the top enough. It also gives the audience the feeling that Chris may have found an ally.

-Dream Influence-

The scene where Chris goes upstairs and the party guests go silent staring at the ceiling is based off a dream Jordan Peele once had.

-The Phone Issue-

Instead of the cliche, “There is no cell phone service” plot point Peele wanted to deal with it in a more believable way. Having Georgina constantly unplug it to kill the battery makes more sense.

-Peele’s Performance-

While he doesn’t have an acting role in the film Peele did provide the voice on the opposite end of the phone during the Chris/Rod conversations during filming. “That’s one of the advantages to being a sketch performer. As a director you can do half assed versions of these characters.”

-Another Comedian’s In-Law-

It turns out that actor Yasuhiko Oyama is the father in-law of Ken Marino (Best known from Wet Hot American Summer, Party Down, and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster).

-Bingo-

The auction scene was deliberately vague as to how/what the bidders are placing. Peele hypothesizes that since the Red Alchemists are descended from the Knights Templar each card represents different artifacts the group has amassed that are up for trade.

-Rod to the Rescue-

Once “all is lost” for Chris the audience’s only hope is Rod. He becomes the Dick Halloran (Scatman Crothers from The Shining) or Buster (Richard Farnsworth from Misery) to the story. Thankfully unlike the other two Rod survives.

-Alternate Music Choice-

When Chris wakes up restrained in the rec room originally James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend” was going to be playing on a continuous loop. It turned out the licensing fees for the song were too high so they went with the video of Rose’s grandfather explaining the procedure.

-The “Real” Reason Jordan Peele Made the Film-

Peele jokingly states that he made Get Out to curry favor with TSA so he’d get great treatment at airports.

-The Surgery-

It was originally going to be that the person who’s body is being taken over were going to die. The idea of them being forced to live on while someone else controls their body was tantamount to modern slavery and far more horrifying.

-The Sophomore Slump-

Peele knows that he’s going to have trouble trying to follow-up Get Out. He asks the audience to, “give him a little rope” to make a worse film.

-Racist Irony-

It was intentional that picking cotton from the arm rest cushion was the thing that would end up saving Chris from slavery.

-Prop Origin-

The ceremonial box that contained Dean’s surgical tools was in fact a box used to hold poker chips.

-Exploring the Mythology-

With the extensive amount of mythology surrounding the Red Alchemists Jordan Peele promises he’ll divulge more about them down the line. I guess that means I’ll be buying the special edition blu-ray when it comes out.

-Spielberg Influence-

While the car in the beginning was likened to Duel there is another homage to Spielberg. The reveal of Georgina’s scar in the car was influenced by the reveal of the velociraptor’s ability to open doors in Jurassic Park.

-An NC-17 Rating?-

Peele states that he assumes if a movie had been made ten years ago where at the end a black man is choking a white woman to death and the audience being on his side it would’ve gotten an NC-17 rating. I can’t say he’s wrong about that.

-The Main Song-

The song in Swahili is translated to, “Trust Your Ancestors”.

These are just a handful of interesting tid bits Jordan Peele revealed in this track. And I have to say, this is one of the best tracks I’ve listened to in a long time. While we get a lot behind the scenes information it’s fantastic hearing him discuss the mythology of the story. I can not recommend it enough. I can not wait to see where Jordan Peele goes as a director from this fantastic directorial debut. As usual, what are your thoughts? Did you like Get Out? Are you going to pick up the blu-ray? If you do, do check out the alternate ending. Remember, you can follow me on Twitter @sdfilmthoughts and as always thank you so much for reading.

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How Does Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 stack up with the 22 Sequel Do’s and Don’ts.

How Does Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 stack up with the 22 Sequel Do’s and Don’ts.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opened last weekend in the United States with a stellar $145 million. This is beyond impressive when you realize the original Guardians opened at $94 million. Having seen it I wanted to discuss it, but wasn’t sure I had an angle until I remembered an old article from Entertainment Weekly. Entitled “22 Movie Sequel Do’s and Don’ts” I wanted to take these 22 points and check them against the film to see how the film stacked up. Of course, there will be spoilers and I will provide a link at the end to EW’s original article. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

1. DO: ADD AN EXCITING NEW VILLAIN

To be fair, Guardians 1’s villain was a little run of the mill. Ronan the Accuser’s motivations were broad and evil, but for a debut film they worked well enough. Vol. 2 kicked it up with a more personal bad guy. While we initially assume that Ayesha and the Sovereign people are our primary antagonists we shift over once Ego arrives. Being Peter’s father it cuts harder to see everything Peter wanted turn out to be a lie. And it gets even worse once Ego reveals he was responsible for Peter’s mother getting cancer. It hurts and makes you root for our heroes even harder. (Outcome: Success)

2. DON’T: ADD IN TOO MANY VILLAINS

The film does have one primary antagonist and two secondary antagonists. Split between an A plot and B plot we have the previously mentioned Sovereign people and Ego, but in a B plot we have Taser Face and even Nebula has a moment. But in all honesty, it never feels convoluted or overstuffed. Luckily Taser Face and Nebula serve a purpose in their plots. And on the plus side they didn’t try to shoehorn Thanos into the film for an Infinity War set-up. (Outcome: Success)

3. DO: ELIMINATE THE LAME CHARACTERS

This is a tough one as many of the characters from the original film were fantastic. But the elimination of the Nova Corp characters Rhomann Dey and Irani Rael was helpful. There was no need to drag them back into the story. (Outcome: Success)

4. DON’T: OVERLOAD ON CONTINUITY

This is another tricky one as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for constantly dropping hints and easter eggs as to where the future of the series will go. I didn’t have a problem with these, but I’m also a comic book fan who loves catching all the hints and teases for the future. Guardians does have a lot to take in, but it’s not an overload on the level of Iron Man 2. (Outcome: Partial Success)

5. DO: CONSIDER CHANGING THE SCENERY

With any space opera style film you get the opportunity to explore different worlds. And while we do spend a good portion of time on run down space ships we also get to see rich and beautiful worlds for our characters to explore. (Outcome: Success)

6. DON’T: BEND OVER BACKWARDS TO RESURRECT DEAD CHARACTERS

Aside from a flashback in the beginning to show Peter’s mother none of the characters who died in the previous film appear. And while we can discuss how Baby Groot could  be considered a resurrected character he technically came back to life in the first film. (Outcome: Success)

7. DO: MAKE YOUR CHARACTERS MORE TROUBLED

Yep, Vol. 2 definitely hits this mark hard. Between Peter’s issues with his father and Yondu, the Gamora/Nebula conflict, and Rocket coming to terms with who he is character crisis is everywhere. (Outcome: Success)

8. DON’T: FORGET THAT VILLAINS ARE SUPPOSE TO BE VILLAINOUS

With the exception of Nebula none of the previous villains return. And we do still see the anger and resentment in Nebula. And while she and Gamora reconcile there’s still pain there. (Outcome: Success)

9. DO: IN GENERAL, IT PAYS TO TELL A SIMPLER STORY

This one is hard to deliberate. The story gets a little busier than the first film, but that’s because it’s building on the previous story. (Outcome: Success)

10. DON’T: BUT IF YOU’RE GOING BIGGER, MAKE SURE IT MEANS SOMETHING

Gunn went into this story with a vision. Taking the groundwork he set up from the first film he built upon it in an impressive way. (Outcome: Success)

11. DO: CONSIDER SWITCHING UP DIRECTORS

While almost every other Marvel franchise has seen a shift in the person at the helm (The Russo Brothers took over Captain America in a brilliant way) and have seen stagnation with returning directors (Iron Man 2 wasn’t as good as Iron Man and we can debate Age of Ultron’s merits). Luckily, Gunn has a love and respect for these characters and it shines through. I can not wait to see where he takes Vol. 3. (Outcome: Success)

12. DON’T: BUILD YOUR SEQUEL’S PLOT AROUND DENSE, IMPENETRABLE BUREAUCRACIES

The Sovereign people at times bog down the film when the story cuts back to them. And in fact it may be the one weaker aspect of the film (Outcome: Fail)

13. DO: REMEMBER THAT STUPID AND OVER-THE-TOP IS BETTER THAN STUPID AND DULL

Haha, it is great to see Vol. 2 going over the top. The space jumping scene may in fact be one of the goofiest things that has been put into a Marvel film. (Outcome: Success)

14. DON’T: MAKE A SEQUEL ABOUT HOW BORED YOUR CHARACTERS HAVE BECOME WITH THEIR SUCCESSFUL LIVES

Thankfully all of our characters are flying high on the new adventures the outcome of the first film paved the way for. The opening shows them relishing their rolls as protectors for hire. I think of a quote from Rocket Raccoon, “Great! We can jack up our prices if we’re two-time galaxy savers!” (Outcome: Success)

15. DO: KILL OFF A MAIN CHARACTER

Oh man, this is one hurts. While Yondu was a supporting character in both of these films it was Michael Rooker’s brilliant performance that made him super likable. His sacrifice to save Peter hits hard. We get to see Peter understand that family isn’t about biology. He had a father this whole time who cared and protected him all those years. Yondu’s funeral is heartbreaking and adds weight to Peter’s search for family. (Outcome: Success)

16. DON’T: KILL OFF EVERYBODY

Our main characters make it out with some emotional pain, but at least they make it out alive. (Outcome: Success)

17. DO: CONSIDER JUST NOT REFERENCING THE FIRST MOVIE

Comic book films can get bogged down in building off their success and make sequels inaccessible if you haven’t seen the previous films (i.e. The Dark Knight Rises). Hints are dropped to what happened in the first film, but never to the affect that it’s key to see it. (Outcome: Success)

18. DON’T: MAKE SEQUELS TO COMEDIES

While Guardians has a great sense of humor it’s not a straight comedy. The humor in Vol. 2 is just as on point with it’s jokes and has some moments that are gut busters, “I’m Mary Poppins y’all!” (Outcome: Success)

19. DO: BASICALLY EVERYTHING TOY STORY 2 AND 3 DO

As I mentioned earlier we see characters get real growth in the series. Peter, Gamora, Rocket, Nebula, and Yondu all get to show more emotions and get depth. There is never a time where they use the original film as something to lean on to illicit emotions from the audience. The villain is stronger and personal to our lead. (Outcome: Success)

20. DON’T: JUST GRAB AN ORIGINAL STORY AND PLUG IT INTO A FRANCHISE

With a movie series based off a comic book this is an easy trap to avoid. There are decades of comics that have the Guardians of the Galaxy running off on intergalactic adventures. And while the film is based off the 2008 re-launch of the series there’s still a lot to mine. Gunn and Marvel have a trove of material and it means Vol. 3 is ripe with potential (Outcome: Success)

21. DO: CONSIDER ADDING A CO-STAR WITH EQUAL (IF NOT GREATER) STAR POWER

Kurt Russell, need I say more? (Outcome: Success)

22. DON’T: JUST REPEAT YOURSELF

There is always some level of repetition when it comes to sequels. Sometimes it’s calling back a catchphrase from the first film or blatantly re-treading an entire plot. It would’ve been super easy to take brilliant moments like the dance off and done them again for a cheap callback. There are a few things that feel old hat (another huge fleet of ships in the finale), but a lot of new ground it covered and fresh beats are hit. (Outcome: Success)

From the looks of it Vol. 2 hits all of the do’s and avoids most of the don’ts.  Personally, I really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It went for deeper emotions instead of bigger explosions. As usual though, what are your thoughts? Did you enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as much, more than, or less than the first film? Are you going to give it a second viewing in theatres? I know I will. Of course, you can follow me on Twitter @sdfilmthoughts. Yep, going to keep telling you that until I get to the triple digits for followers. Remember to check out the Entertainment Weekly link at the bottom. And thanks again for reading.

ew.com/gallery/22-movie-sequel-dos-and-donts/