NOPE is a unique horror, science fiction movie from popular black filmmaker Jordan Peele. The hero is a laconic black cowboy, Otis “OJ” Haywood, who’s recently inherited the family horse wrangling ranch in an isolated desert mountain gulch outside Los Angeles. His family, including his recently deceased father, have long rented horses to the entertainment industry, since silent movie days. A strange UFO he’s been tracking kills a bunch of people nearby. So, OJ teams up with his sister, a local Hispanic electronics expert and a quirky white cinematographer to entrap the UFO and destroy it.
NOPE is a unique UFO movie that’s also a scary monster movie. It combines themes from countless past science fiction movies and horror thrillers and has an exciting finish. However, has nearly 50 “f” words, many other obscenities, and five strong profanities. There are also a few horrifying violent images. Finally, the hero and his sister have an argument where she mentions she’s had a liaison with her female therapist. However, NOPE has a positive moral worldview promoting heroic courage, family and compassion. Extreme caution is advised.
(B, CapCap, Ho, LLL, VVV, S, A, DD, M):
Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Light moral worldview in a scary science fiction movie promotes heroic courage, family and compassion toward people and horses, which is contrasted with the animalistic brutality of the movie’s two scary monsters, one of whom is a rampaging chimpanzee, with some strong pro-capitalist elements where the movie’s black hero takes over the family business when his father dies suddenly, marred by a crude reference to a lesbian affair the hero’s sister had with her therapist
About 121 obscenities (about 45 “f” words and 45 or more “s” words), five GD profanities, two light profanities
Brief extreme violence when a rampaging chimpanzee that’s killed two people is suddenly shot as it stares at young boy hiding under a table with a see-through tablecloth hanging down between them and images of blood around the chimp’s mouth and around its mouth, man falls off his horse, and it turns out he was hit by a quarter which fell from a small plane flying high above, a brief gruesome image of the dead man’s eye where the quarter hit it and penetrated his brain, a UFO forms dust tornadoes to the ground to sweep up human victims, a few obscured images of people inside the UFO screaming in horror, UFO chases man riding a horse, UFO chases people, motorcycle engine suddenly cuts out, and the man riding motorcycle is flung forward 20 or so feet, woman rides motorcycle through some police tape, it’s implied that the UFO has kidnapped and eaten a bunch of people at an outdoor carnival show, human blood mixed with water rains down on a large multi-story ranch house one night and the next day viewers can see red stains from the blood around the house and its porch, but [SPOILER] UFO is eventually ripped apart and destroyed
No sex scenes, but it’s lightly implied in one or two lines that the lead female character dates other women and she crudely says she’s fooled around with her female therapist
Some alcohol use
Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
Lead female character vapes several times in the movie, but there are no drugs; and,
Hero’s sister seems a bit self-absorbed.
NOPE is a horror, science fiction movie about a black man who wrangles horses for the entertainment industry and his sister who, with the help of two white guys, try to destroy a strange UFO that’s just murdered a bunch of people in an isolated desert gulch near Los Angeles. NOPE has plenty of scary scenes, several horrifying bloody images, a reference to a lesbian affair, and heavy foul language, including about 50 “f” words, but it’s well made and the people fighting the monster show heroic courage and ingenuity.
The movie opens with the movie’s major subplot, which involves a chimpanzee on a TV sitcom who suddenly goes ape and viciously murders two of its co-stars.
Cut to about 20 years later, and Ricky, the Asian boy from the sitcom who witnessed but survived the chimp’s rampage, runs a western carnival in an isolated gulch in the high desert near Los Angeles. A highlight of the carnival is a show where Ricky, dressed as a cowboy, stages a re-creation of another event in his life where he witnessed a UFO. Nearby is the family ranch of Otis Haywood. Following in his own father and grandfather’s footsteps, Otis has been wrangling horses for the entertainment industry for decades and has an adult son and daughter. The son, OJ, Otis, Jr., helps his father with the horses on the ranch, but the daughter, Emerald, lives in the city and helps with the marketing and coordinating the assignments.
One day, the father is sitting on one of their horses in their outdoor corral while OJ watches from afar. Strange whistling sounds are heard. Suddenly, the father stops moving, the horse walks out of the corral a few steps, and the father falls off the horse. OJ rushes to his father’s side. Later, at the hospital, OJ learns that his dead father was hit in the eye and his brain by a quarter that fell from a small airplane thousands of feet in the sky that mysteriously crashed or exploded.
Several weeks later, their father’s death has hurt OJ and Emerald’s horse wrangling business. OJ has had to sell several horses. After his favorite, a beautiful black one, is spooked at a shoot for a commercial, they go to Ricky to ask him to invest with them. Ricky asks them to lend them the black horse for his show.
Meanwhile, Emerald comes to live at the ranch with OJ, though there’s some tension between them. OJ is a quiet, thoughtful man, the spitting image of the laconic cowboy of many Hollywood movies. In the wake of his father’s death, he notices that something in the sky is starting to spook his horses. More strange noises accompany these scary events. Looking at the sky, he notices a shadowy image among the clouds that looks like a flying saucer. One night, the electricity at the ranch briefly go out, as do the lights at Ricky’s carnival.
Emerald convinces OJ that they could earn a lot of money if they could film the UFO spooking their horse. So, they buy some cameras and monitoring equipment from the local Frye’s electronics superstore. The clerk at the store, a young man named Angel, helps them set up the cameras. Intrigued by what they’re doing, Angel secretly monitors their video feed from the store and his house.
Eventually, the UFO starts killing people, not just frightening horses. So, OJ, Emerald, Angel, and a quirky cinematographer decide to entice the UFO and destroy it. What follows is a scary, but exciting science fiction adventure.
NOPE is a unique UFO movie that’s also a scary monster movie. It combines tropes from countless past science fiction movies and horror thrillers, from the monster and UFO movies of the 1950s to more modern trend-setting movies like JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and the original ALIEN. The UFO conjured by Writer/Director Jordan Peele and his team is unique, however, and the entrapment of the UFO is clever and fun. The movie’s climax and resolution in the third act is pretty exciting.
That said, though it seems less politically correct than Peele’s last two movies, NOPE inserts abundant foul language into its story. It has more than 120 obscenities, including about 50 “f” words, and several GD profanities. Also, during the two or so arguments Emerald has with her brother, OJ, Emerald crudely mentions she slept with her female therapist. NOPE also contains many scary scenes. Most of the violence isn’t graphic, but there are several horrifying bloody images. Finally, although the subplot about the rampaging chimp seems unrelated, it actually sets the stage for the UFO’s animalistic brutality. Animalistic brutality is a theme in the movie. NOPE contrasts this with the innocence of the frightened horses and the heroic courage and compassion of OJ, the devoted horse wrangler, not to mention the heroic courage that OJ’s sister and Angel display during the movie’s third act.
However, the creators of NOPE should have cut out the movie’s strong foul language. Also, no viewer needed to know about the sister’s sex life. Her crude confession to her brother just makes her an unappealing, unattractive person. Its crudity unnecessarily hurts the average viewer’s feelings toward her.
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