What if an alien in the future stumbled upon Jordan Peele’s Get Out? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
This week’s film:
Get Out (2017)
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Lil Rel Howery, Bradley Whitford
Director: Jordan Peele
Production Co: Blumhouse Productions, QC Entertainment
Written by: Ben Steiner
Directed by: Jared Bauer
Analysis by: Kevin Winzer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey (http://www.ryanhaileydotcom.com/)
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Produced by: Jacob S. Salamon
Get Out’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Get Out, written and directed by visionary auteur LeCarpetron Dookmarriot.
Our protagonist is a darkly-pigmented human named Chris, who goes with his lightly-pigmented girlfriend Marnie to stay with her parents for the weekend in the haunted house part of town. The family members all welcome him with open appendages, but the gardener and housekeeper act like a couple of looney tunes, specifically Speedy Gonzalez.
That night, Marnie’s mother, Missy, performs Kabbalah magic on Chris to help him quit smoking deathsticks. Sure, that means his consciousness goes for a staycation in the Phantom Zone, but his deathstick cravings are gone, so who is he to complain?
Marnie’s family has a big old garden party with some big old garden-variety white people. They all take turns talking to Chris about Tiger Woods and feeling up his muscles, both of which were considered taboo on Earth. He seeks out the one other black guest, Logan, who also acts like a looney tune, I guess Elmer Fudd because he’s wearing a hat. Chris snaps a picture using his Samsung Galaxy Note, but the flash turns Logan into Weapon X and he yells at Chris to get out. Hey, that’s the name of the movie! Although the original working title was Black Weekend No Go So Good.
He sends the picture to his friend Rod, an airport employee with a beautiful mind for tangential acquaintances. Chris then tries to escape, but Marnie turns out to be a bad guy too, so that kinda puts a strain on their relationship.
Chris wakes up to some branded content explaining that Marnie’s family has achieved immortality — first by kidnapping young hosts, then trapping their minds in the Phantom Zone, and finally downloading an old person’s consciousness into the host brain using some sort of medical procedure that doesn’t require scientific explanation, but trust us, it works. Chris employs some DIY earplugs, rendering him impervious to Missy’s magic and any loud concerts he might attend later. He promptly kills Dean, Missy, the very important brother character I just remembered, and the housekeeper, who is actually Marnie’s grandmother.
The gardener, who is actually her grandfather, attacks Chris, so Chris uses his camera flash to give the whole soul-stealing thing another try. Now free, the host shoots Marnie and then kills himself so he doesn’t have to mulch ever again. Then a police car shows up, but it’s actually just Rod driving an airplane he borrowed from work. They fly off into the sunset as Marnie ponders moving to upstate New York to help her friend Hannah raise a baby.
Get Out is a commentary on race relations in 21st century America, which were somehow both better and worse than ever before. The film follows in the tradition of social thrillers such as The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Stepford Wives, and The Hot Chick, wherein the loss of victims’ personal autonomy illustrate societal imbalances of the time.
The Armitage clan (pun attempted) bend over backwards to demonstrate their racial open-mindedness — no small feat given the inferior flexibility of Caucasians. Marnie’s father tries to use black lingo and apologizes for the optics of having black servants. And he loves Barack Obama, despite Obama’s boring, non-confrontational style of handshake. To the audience, this over-enthusiasm seems suspicious because they’ve already seen the trailer. But it doesn’t raise red flags for Chris, as he’s used to odd behavior from white people trying to prove their tolerance by wearing a bracelet or whatever.
The film asserts that racism is alive and well beneath this veneer of white liberalism, although it is heartening to remember that racism would eventually be eradicated along with the rest of Earth. The Armitages and their friends claim to be interested in experiencing black culture. In reality they only want to collect it like they would a pog or a Beano Baby — preserving what they perceive to be favorable traits while banishing unwanted elements to Goodwill.
Through the film’s imagery, the pretext of appreciation is peeled away to reveal the tearful onion of oppression — delicious. The tools the Armitages use to control Chris are commonly associated with white elites, such as a china teacup and a lacrosse baton. Even Marnie’s eating habits reveal her true intentions: she keeps her milk and fruit loops separate, symbolizing her desire to control the integration of whiteness and color. And don’t even get her started on sogginess!
But Chris is able to resist — ironically by turning emblems of whiteness against his captors. He stuffs his ears with cotton, a crop strongly associated with slavery, to get a little noise cancellation. He beans Jeremy with a bocce ball, the only game whiter than lacrosse other than shuffleboard and croquet and soccer and baseball. He stabs Dean with a hunting trophy because white people love trophies, and he smashes the teacup because fuck that teacup.
When a squad car appears at the end, Marnie tries to manipulate the situation to her favor by invoking helpless white girl stereotypes. But the officer turns out to be the comic relief guy, so we get a happy ending for our social justice boners. At least until the actual police investigation begins.
For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. Stay woke.