Category Archives: Films

Not Gonna Do It, Nope

One of the first observations I made while watching Nope (Jordan Peele, 2022) is that Daniel Kaluuya looks down often, opting not to make eye contact with the camera or whomever he is speaking to in various scenes.  It’s not that he looks at his own feet as much as it’s a lowering of his gaze.  It’s a character trait and a plot detail that becomes relevant later on in the science-fiction musing on extraterrestrial biology.  He also looks up at the sky as narratively warranted (until it isn’t).

Another immediate reaction I had was why in the world anyone would bite their glove…finger-first.  I know why a person would do it, but why.  Think of all the surfaces that fabric has touched.



Angel (Brandon Perea), the Fry’s employee, is possibly my favorite component of the movie.  I know the electronics chain was struggling already before covid happened, but it couldn’t have stuck it out at least through the end of this year?   I wanted to go to one so much after watching this film on DVD.  Perea brings a determination to his character’s goals that function as a much-needed (even if ephemeral) example of goal-oriented motivation for me as I continue struggling to accepting having a human experience rather than a feline one or an ornithological one.


For a more in-depth contemplation of the story and structure of Nope, make your way over to Jordan and Eddie.  I shall wrap up this post with a list of what I learned from the special features:

~ Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977) was one of many sources of inspiration for Jordan Peele.
~ The sky is the ocean.  The UFO is a “critter” and is just hungry all the time.
~ Robert Maplethorpe‘s photographs of orchids, Marilyn Monroe’s white dress billowing, ships’ sails, and jellyfish all informed the movement of what the film characters refer to as “Jean Jacket.”
~ Kelsi Rutledge contributed to the conceptual behavior of Jean Jacket.  Specifically, she provided insights on how to make an alien creature believable.

Pic creds: Amazon, IMDB, Universal Pictures, YT screenshot

Just Be My Wingman

I wonder if the real Jesse Brown ever said to Tom Hudner, “just be my wingman.”

There’s a film called Devotion (J.D. Dillard, 2022) coming to theatres this November.  I’m strongly considering seeing it at the cinema, something I haven’t done since the autumn of 2020.

I am curious about this observation made in the Variety review:

Although much of “Devotion” is presented through Hudner’s eyes, Dillard breaks from that perspective occasionally to share Brown’s experience, and every time he does, the movie becomes more interesting.’

There are potential artistic spoilers in the review.

NFL 2022: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pinch the Atlanta Falcons

Did I think the Atlanta Falcons would squeak by with a win today against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?  Non, and they didn’t.  I may have hoped they’d take the game by one to three points.  I didn’t watch most of the game either….instead, I was watching The Little Foxes (William Wyler, 1941) on TCM.

Tampa Bay beat Atlanta 21 to 15.  Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.


But You Can Control Your Reaction

How many times have you heard someone tell you that you can’t control what happens to you, namely what other people do to you, but you can control how you react?  How many times have you disagreed because an unsolicited, undesirable, burdensome, painful, inconsiderate external stimulus must be met with at least a reasonable amount of dismay and recalcitrance?  Not to mention the basic human stress response that presents itself via physical symptoms of increased heart rate, sweat, and hyper-vigilance?


How often has someone tempered that concept by emphasizing that the point is not to suppress any emotional reaction provoked by unwanted external stimulation.  Instead, your locus of control lies in the manner that you acknowledge, express or dissipate your emotional response and your formal retort.  For instance, if someone pies you in the face, you have every right to be angry and to feel it, but you also have the power to determine whether you’re going to make a spectacle of yourself and pie the person back or push them off a sidewalk like a cat might do… or if you just let yourself feel annoyed or mad and rather than pie-for-a-pie, you go to the gym, listen to metal, or whatever else that purges the wrath into a less harmful (and illegal) maneuver.

Such a clarification makes sense to me, and yet, I can’t accept the surface assumption that anyone could have complete discipline over their reaction to a range of hostile provocations.  But tonight, I learned a Chinese idiom when I was watching King Hu‘s 1979 wuxia classic Legend of the Mountain (山中傳奇) that made it click (better).


“Jiàn guài bù guài, qí guài zì bài,”  or “發現怪事怪物不要驚慌,它就不會危害了,” which means “when encountering scary situations or creatures, don’t panic.  The fear will disappear.”


I’m less inclined to debate the idea when I think about it in Mandarin.  In English mode, I still tend to rebut with, “If you sucker-punch someone, you think they’re just going to take it?  You don’t think they’re going to do anything in retaliation?  If someone tells you that they don’t like the taste or smell of onions and you make them food with onions, you really don’t think they’re going to be upset?  And you’d expect them to not show it or blame them for making a this-is-gross-face?”

On the subject of Chinese idioms, my favorite one is:


“Bēi gōng shé yǐng” — literally, “cup bow snake shadow” or “自己嚇自己,” specifically,”為了不真實的事心中驚異不安,” which means, “due to imaginary things, your heart is not at peace.”

I also really like:


“yī yán jì chū, sì mǎ nán zhuī” — literally, “a word spoken, four horses can’t chase it,” which means, “once you say something, it’s hard to take it back” and “keep your word.”

Pic cred: IMDB

I Will Be Your Father Figure

You just have to throw, not suspend, your disbelief out of the window first.  It would also help if you’re a fan of Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key‘s sense of humor, on-screen rapport; you like George Michael‘s music, and you love kittens.  I re-watched Keanu (Peter Atencio, 2016) tonight on a whim and had a much better time this round compared to the first viewing a few years ago.  All you have to know about the premise is that Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Kay bring the style and tone from their skits into involuntary role-playing trying to be gangsta whilst looking for a kitten.


The George Michael appreciation consists of the following songs:


Father Figure


Pic creds: IMDB