emilyrugburn’s review published on Letterboxd:
ahh yes the three genders cowgirl Keke Palmer cowboy Daniel Kaluuya rodeo star Steven Yeun 😌
My man definitely wrote this stoned & zoning out to a screen saver (or possibly stoned & shopping for household fabrics at Bed Bath & Beyond with Chelsea Peretti) and I think it shows in the film’s multiple *but very small* problems -
- Why is OJ limping toward Lucky at the climax
- Not a strong enough establishing of story impact in the Jean Jacket flashback to provide the right amount of emotional payoff for the “my eyes are on you” hand gesture at the end
- The “fucked up” face trailer bait ended up just being trailer bait and is a lil bit ableist along similar lines to a character in Ari Aster’s Midsommar
- Jean Jacket (2) is, again, kind of fabric-y and screen saver-y…meaning, ya know…not at all scary
Those things factored in, this is still easily three clouty things - a great movie, the best alien movie since Signs, and, building on that, a great nod to both my fave M. Night Shyamalan and my nowhere near fave Spielberg which transcends the alien films of both those directors by not being afraid to get hard-R and bloody.
All three of our beloved zeitgeist figures in the lead roles are excellent but it’s really his least meaty acting-type script so far, so they’re not necessarily given a ton of heavy lifting to do…except for Daddy Steven, whose smiling, traumatized gaze right after the full Gordy sequence was hands down the best moment of the movie for me.
The Gordy stuff was also, for sure, without question, the most interesting and scary part of the movie for its sheer “this has nothing to do with the main plot, it’s literally just here cuz it’s fucked up” screenwriting boldness (it was one of two* things here that felt like that familiar Jordan Peele filmmaking magic to me), and that doesn’t bode well for the main story of Emerald & OJ, which is a shame because I love them as characters and want to care about their (the movie’s) main story more.
These all sound like issues within a three-star review or something, but Jordan Peele is just incapable of making a three-star movie and even tho there are issues here and it’s firmly my least fave of the three he’s made so far, it’s still easily a four-star movie, and maybe higher upon rewatches.
*The other bit of magic for me was that he actually was able to successfully repeat the trick of turning a song into creepy film score, and I loved it here with Sunglasses At Night as much as I did in Us with I Got 5 On It. As soon as those synth notes started playing slower, I got chills and I knew I was watching a Jordan Peele movie. Here’s to many, many more! 🐎
P.S. Never-Ending Tablecloth, you gonna pay for eating my Daddy tho 😔💔
P.P.S. Yeah I repeated my opening line cuz fuck letterboxd for taking pre-release reviews out of the review section!!