Get Out took the number one spot this weekend, pushing The Lego Batman Movie into second with $19 million for the plastic superhero, which is still not too shabby for its third weekend. Get Out on the other hand had a minuscule budget of $4.5 million dollars and banked $33.3 million this opening weekend, making it a massive success monetarily, but where the true victory lies is in its critical reception. It had a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes after 139 reviews, some of the best reception in the website’s history, and now holds a 99% because one person posted a negative review. That person was Armond White, and if you know anything about his film criticism, that won’t surprise you one bit, as he was also responsible for ruining Toy Story 3’s perfect score. I’m not still bitter. Anyway.
The reason for Get Out’s success isn’t in its small budget, however, nor even positive word of mouth. It is a masterpiece of a horror film from Jordan Peele of Key & Peele sketch comedy fame, where an interracial couple visits her parents in the rich, white suburbs and encounter a terror as old as time: racism. One might think upon first hearing of the film that Jordan Peele, a comedian, is just making a long horror comedy sketch into a movie, or that the movie is a comedy satire of horror films. Neither is true, but rather the film fleshes out its ideas to their fullest and allows them to breathe.
It must also be reminded that horror and comedy walk the same line, and Peele knows this. He knows how to speak allegorically (as one must know how to do in comedy) and with this talent, he crafted a potent statement about systemic racism and classism dressed as the best horror film since last year’s The VVitch. It’s a wholly original work with carefully placed homages to classic horror films like The Stepford Wives, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Night of the Living Dead, but never loses its own voice. And I’m not going to sugarcoat this next part: if you think Get Out is “racist” toward white people, you are wrong and you are an idiot. This isn’t some liberal comedian showering you in “anti-white” propaganda. This is a masterful execution of an important message: racism exists, both blatantly and in passing, and the majority of white people, though they may not admit it, do feel more comfortable if black people are more like them. White people should not be perceived as the “norm,” and black people (or people of any other culture or skin color) should not have to change to make white people feel comfortable. Is that hard to hear, my fellow white folks? Good. Then this film is doing its job.
But enough about you, let’s get back to this incredible movie. The cast is pitch perfect, and every performance is chilling and memorable. The score is icy and slithering. Every moment in the script is calculated and executed with precision and confidence. Jordan Peele’s writing and directing in this film are on a tier amongst horror titans like Romero, Craven, and even Kubrick, and this is his directorial debut. It’s clear that he believes wholeheartedly in the message of the film, while not losing sight of the surface absurdity of the premise, taking itself seriously and not at the same time. I’ve never seen a film like this before, and that’s because a film like this likely couldn’t exist, let alone be the success that Get Out is, without a fearless and brilliant talent like Peele behind it, in today’s society.
Moving on though, since I could probably talk about Get Out for hours, let’s look at the other two newcomers. Rock Dog and Collide each performed pitifully this weekend bringing in only $3.7 and $1.5 million respectively. Critics, however, were kinder to the canine, chalking it up to delightful entertainment for younger viewers, even if parents or more demanding viewers would have to grit their teeth through it. There’s no denying it though: everyone would rather see The Lego Batman Movie a second, third, or fourth time than pay full price to see Rock Dog. Collide on the other hand didn’t get so lucky, with a rotten 19% on Rotten Tomatoes. It had a great cast, but again, actors can do nothing for your film if the story isn’t there.
Looking ahead to next weekend, Before I Fall falls into theaters, giving us a dramatic millennial Groundhog’s Day of sorts. The film stars the adorable Zoey Deutch as a mean high school girl who relives her last day on earth over and over, though it’s not clear why from the trailer. Is she learning an important lesson before advancing into the afterlife? Is she becoming a better person while trying to avoid her death? I guess that’s what you’ll watch the movie to find out. And if you do, let me know what happens, because I’m going to be seeing Logan this weekend instead.
Logan is reportedly the final Hugh Jackman as Wolverine film in the X-Men franchise, hanging up his adamantium claws after playing the character for 17 years. This installment takes place in a post-apocalyptic near-future where new mutants haven’t been born in two decades, and Wolverine is barely scraping by, wallowing in hopelessness and hanging out with a slowly dying Professor X. But when a mysterious little girl with striking similarities to Logan shows up, he is drawn back into the chaos to protect her. Judging by the trailer, and with how incredible James Mangold’s 2013 The Wolverine was, this could end up being the best X-Men film yet.
Lastly, The Shack comes to theaters this weekend to inspire us to continue on in the face of tragedy. This faith-based film shares its title with its source book that was a hit among Christians and non-Christians alike back in 2007. It tells the story of a father’s struggle after the kidnapping and murder of his young daughter. The man (played by Sam Worthington) receives a mysterious letter telling him to return to the shack in the woods where the murder took place, and when he does, he meets a woman played by Octavia Spencer and a few other people who look to be more than they seem. The film also has Tim McGraw involved both onscreen and in its soundtrack, which also includes songs from Faith Hill, Hillsong United, Lady Antebellum, Skillet, and other Christian contemporary artists. Continuing from Gavin Stone’s step in the right direction (a stepping Stone?) for faith-based cinema, this looks like it will please the faithful and intrigue a few others enough to be a small hit among more than just the Family Christian Bookstore crowd.