Saturday, April 6, 2019

Is Jordan Peele's New Film "Us" a Triumph? Or is it a Missed Opportunity and a Failure?

This week's very special episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show explores the politics and meaning of Jordan Peele's new film "Us".
Kendall Phillips is a professor at Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University. He is the author of Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture as well as Dark Directions: Romero, Craven, Carpenter, and the Modern Horror Film.
Kendall explains how "Us" is part of a new golden age of American horror movies, the ways that horror movies reflect the social anxieties and fears of a given moment in time, the sophistication of Jordan Peele's understanding of the horror genre and its narrative conventions and aesthetic, and how "Us" is a deep critique of class, racial, and other types of privilege.
Dr. Adilifu Nama is an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He is the author of several books including Race on the QT: Blackness and the Films of Quentin Tarantino as well as Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes.
Adilifu is much more critical of Jordan Peele's "Us". To that end, he suggests that "Us" fails to live up to Peele's previous film "Get Out" and does not tell the truth about race and class in America.
Adilifu is also concerned about how "Us" is, in his opinion, narratively incoherent.
Chauncey and Adilifu also try to make sense of the racial semiotics of "Us" and what Peele suggests about "grotesque blackness", violence and race--but ultimately fails to fully develop in the film.
On this week's show, Chauncey DeVega ponders the following question: what is the role of horror movies in a horrible and cruel world where Trump and his evil regime are abusing the vulnerable by doing such things as putting non-white immigrants and refugees in concentration camps, allowing children like Jakelin Caal Maquin to die because of a lack of proper medical care, and the Supreme Court approves inmates being executed by especially cruel and unusual means.

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