*WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD*
By now, you’ve probably adjusted your tinfoil hat to properly decode Jordan Peele’s Sci-Fi chiller-thriller ‘NOPE,’ watched the internet argue over the film’s mind-boggling themes or struggled to understand why a cloud-dwelling alien predator would come to Earth (of all planets) and eat people (many of which barely shower or use soap) in a dusty California gulch.
According to Peele (who wrote, directed, and produced the film), ‘NOPE’ is about our crumbling society’s addiction to spectacle.
“I started off wanting to make a film that would put an audience in the immersive experience of being in the presence of a UFO,” said Peele during an interview with Empire Magazine. “And I wanted to make a spectacle, something that would promote my favorite art form and my favorite way of watching that art form: the theatrical experience.
As I started writing the script, I started to dig into the nature of spectacle, our addiction to spectacle, and the insidious nature of attention.”
But, then again, there’s no right or wrong or too crazy theory about what happens in Peele’s latest film where Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer attempt to capture a living UFO (that, at one point, resembles fancy bed linens from Targét) on film and hopefully become famous.
As expected, the buzzy ‘Horror Epic’ topped the box office with $44 million marking the highest opening weekend for an original movie at the domestic box office since Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ back in 2019.
It also sparked never-ending debates, 37-tweet threads, and several burning questions that we’ll attempt to answer on the flip.
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) July 24, 2022
1. What’s the point of Gordy the monkey?
One of the biggest questions from ‘NOPE’ centers around Gordy–a seemingly human-loving chimpanzee who goes (dare we say) ape s*** on the set of popular ’90s sitcom ‘Gordy’s Home.’
On the show, he lives with a friendly caucasian family and their Asian son played by Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steve Yeun) who we’ll get to in a moment.
In a deeply unsettling scene, Gordy can be seen mauling the cast while covered in blood moments after being set off by popping balloons during his birthday party.
2. WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE ALIEN CLOUD THAT EATS PEOPLE?
Well, Ricky “survives the attack and grows up to become a cheesy showman at a rundown theme park called Jupiter’s Claim.
Park, who watched a monkey massacre his TV family, pretends to be chipper despite his horrific flashbacks and flaunts his child star memorabilia that he charges people to see.
He thinks he’s special because he survived the attack and almost fist-bumped Gordy before the police put him down.
So now, years later, he’s feeding horses to an alien as part of his show–a grand spectacle (if you will) that people from near and far (or just near) pay to see.
In a shocking twist, the alien eats all of the people at the show including Ricky who thought he could tame the living UFO just like he ‘tamed’ Gordy who killed everyone except him all those years ago.
Gordy represents a wild animal that ultimately can’t be tamed just like the alien that Ricky tried (and failed) to tame.
Ricky’s show represents our obsession with spectacle in a parallel to Keke and Daniel’s plan to capture the alien on film and profit off of the photos.
At one point, Daniel realizes they can survive by not looking directly at the alien (like everyone at Ricky’s show) which parallels society’s inability to look away from spectacles/trainwrecks.
For most of the movie, they’re chasing the ‘Oprah shot’ of the alien that would propel them into the fame. And, for years, Oprah was the Queen of Spectacle who featured the buzziest people on her platform.
3. What about the shoe that stands upright during the Gordy massacre?
That represents the ‘bad miracle’ that Daniel Kaluuya alludes to in the film.
Now on to ALL of the other burning questions that we (and many other people) have…
4. What is the alien? 5. Is it even an alien? 6. Where did it come from? 7. Why is it on Earth? 8. Why did it transform into a TJ Maxx Home Good?
9. How is it so smart yet can’t tell the difference between a Merry Go Round horse and real one?
10. How did Ricky discover the alien and know how to feed it?
11. He’s been doing a show where he feeds an ALIEN and it’s not all over the internet? 12. His shows aren’t packed?? 13. How does he NOT have ANY media attention???
14. Why did the cinematographer (Michael Wincott) risk (and lose) his life getting the perfect shot if he couldn’t be celebrated for it? 15. Wasn’t that the reason he agreed to capture it?
(Some would say he wanted to keep the perfect shot for himself which goes against his initial motivations but his death seemed pointless)
16. 40 white people disappear in America and the town isn’t swarming with Government agents?
17. A giant alien is eating people and only TMZ shows up? 18. Just 1 person? 19. No mainstream media or influencers looking to get their own shot?
20. There’s no biblical parallel between surviving by not looking at the alien and the story of Lot and his wife?
Black Girl Nerds asked Jordan something similar and his response was, well, watch…
21. WHY DID THE TV DAD COME DOWNSTAIRS WHERE THE MONKEY WAS EATING FACES?
22. Daniel and Keke trust a random dudebro from an electronics store to help them on a potentially deadly mission?