Get Out CULTure

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Here’s a sentence some are going to dislike, “I didn’t really care that much about, ‘Get Out’; it was an alright movie, decent perhaps.” The perpetual hype and insatiable burning desire for others to proclaim their love of the film, makes me think of Kanye West. I never really cared for him, yet people were willing to go into battle for the self-proclaimed, Second Coming aka Yeezus. I recall, folks driving the “He’s a genius” rhetoric to the point that nothing he said or did could be questioned because, “He’s a genius and you just don’t understand.” But the thing is, I did understand, he wasn’t that special and he certainly isn’t a genius. I understand when you are gifted in a specific field, in a way others haven’t experienced in a while, it will appear larger than life. I’m aware that when someone exudes overconfidence and talk in nonsensical jargon, others think, “Wow, I have no clue what he/she is saying, but they look so confident; they have to be right.” I also understand that the social media pop CULTure is probably a good starting point on group-think. All this to say, Get Out, for me, in many ways, is no different than how I experience the frenzy in the once lusted, revered musical artist Kanye West — who’s managed to have half his fans jump ship in the last decade.

Let’s start on the basics of what makes a good film or better yet an exceptional film. I say exceptional due to the mass amounts of “YaSSSSSS” and “So GREAT” I’ve seen since opening night. All exceptional films have one thing in common: a solid story line. And though Get Out had a story line, it most certainly had holes. Perhaps, there was an asking of the audience for, Suspension of disbelief, and I missed the memo. A memo, I’m sure I missed because the genre of the film seems to change with whomever is referencing it. Some say horror, some say thriller, some say suspense; but as far as my knowledge goes– those aren’t synonymous. A horror can be suspenseful, but a thriller isn’t usually horrific, though a thriller is usually suspenseful– you get the point. Based on my experience of the film it was a Thriller; and that matters because when I watch a horror film, I’m aware it will ask me to suspend my disbelief to an unreasonable amount. Get Out isn’t horror though, and so I found myself with questions that should have been answered. i.e. What was the point of the opening scene with Andre Haythorn ? If Rose is a siren, leading the prey to be slaughtered and the hypnosis/auction process is so established, why the kidnapping? The closing scene is just as questionable. Perhaps Jordan Peele would have been better off with his original ending, because no matter how many laughs you get from Rod saying, “I’m the mother effing TSA”, I still want to know, ‘So where did you get a police car from, sir?’ Also, was Jeremy (Rose’s brother) supposed to be a questionable, sketchy character/perhaps druggie? And if so, are we really supposed to believe this man is equipped to be a neurologist’s assistant? Are we supposed to also believe a neurologist has broken the time/space continuum and solved consciousness with not one single explanation? I must say, I certainly am not a fan of Christopher Nolan films for that very reason, but at least they try to answer the “scientific” question, rather than blurring it over with imagery. Did casting not expect us to know the actor for Rose plays a lead role in the t.v show Girls and would ultimately take away any chance of “the twist” being more than predictable? She does play a deplorable white person outside the film. For a great film, I sure do have a lot of questions.

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Am I over critical?  I am, as I should be. Every mention of seeing this film was followed up with, “oh my god, the message!!!” And this is my biggest plight and why I don’t think it was exceptional. I have a love/hate relationship with poetry, so much so that I refuse to call myself a poet, though I tend to write poems. And the reason why is because it is far too subjective. People will give their life away, write essays, create a movement, on a piece of poetry based on their idea of what it meant. People will find existentialism in an apple and swear by it. But it doesn’t mean they are right. In fact, most times, unless the author clarifies that’s what they mean, most people are wrong. Get Out is like a poem; we all read it, but very few of us got the same message. Now, I wouldn’t have a problem with it having a myriad of messages/themes but here’s the issue… Folks who have seen it are responding as if there is a universal message; one solid meaning to this work of art. Peele, himself, has said he wanted to make a film on racism and realized for it to have grounding it couldn’t be a comedy. Is it about racism, yes. But it doesn’t stop there, so far Get Out is:

  • The best slavery movie without slaves
  • Hypnotism symbolizes: Incarceration, oppression, UnwokeNess
  • A representation of only Black Americans’ experience of racism
  • Experiencing a film in a predominantly Black audience
  • Black people are deer; over-breed and dispensable
  • Social Justice
  • Asians’ participation in White America’s racism
  • Exploitation-ism
  • Afrocentrism
  • Black people’s objectification and commodity
  • Black women’s experience in America
  • Interracial dating
  • Every race issue under the sun concerning any person of color who happened to see the film.

And if you are even remotely wondering what message I perceived after that list, there are two: (1) Black people’s genetic make-up is superior to that of their white counterpart. Blacks’ physicality is to be desired and arguably accounts for the white man’s captivation; to use them as slaves. They were “stronger” and resilient. And every fiber in my being as a Black woman can say, “Yes, we are “stronger”! You don’t go hundreds of years under oppression and not become the most resilient and strongest being. Our mere existence is proof of that. Peele’s choice to have Chris endure all the wounds and still manage to overcome at the end, paired with the numerous times he mentioned “Superior”, made me think he made a movie to uplift Black folks. But, no one has shared the same thought as me. Which leads to my second, and most prevailing take-away when it comes to this film.

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(2) My people are starved and thirsty like a parched beggar in the desert. If you feed a starving man bland food, he will devour it as if it were filet mignon, and ask for more. And so, here we are in a time when we so desperately need to be validated; In a time in which we so earnestly want to be heard and seen; When we are dying to be treated with humanity and equality. Tripping over one’s self to consume any little bit on moments we see our selves, our stories, our lives represented in a way that not only speaks to us, but respects us and honors our truths. We don’t have the luxury to say, I’d rather not eat that basic, dry a** cracker, but instead we ferociously inhale it without question. So I get it, I get that it’s difficult to step out as a Black person and say you don’t necessarily like the current “Black Thing” or to even be able to critically look at something as a whole and make an unbiased opinion. And I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry we are forced to LOVE everything Black even if it’s not to our taste because otherwise we aren’t Black enough, we aren’t down for the cause, and we don’t support our People. I can say, just because I think the movie is nothing to write home about, it doesn’t make me a Samuael L Jackson, who is out of touch with reality and what it means to be Black in the world. But I no longer want or feel the need to hide or lower my standards for my people. When it comes down to it, I hold myself to the same standards and sometimes, I fall short and sometimes, we fall short. It doesn’t make us any less. It doesn’t take away our greatness. Superior people are superior; it doesn’t come in a color. For now, I’ll leave it to the masses to over-hype all things us and I’ll continue to express my candid thoughts on it — keep the balance. It’s a strong truth, and an admittance I know we are far from being able to utter. Just try not to make any more Kanye mistakes, people.