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Laramie Movie Scope: Nope

A kind of shark in the sky movie

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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August 5, 2022 – Jordan Peele's latest sci-fi horror movie will seem a bit more believable to those who are prone to conspiratorial thinking about UFO mythology. His earlier films, “Us” and “Get Out” were pretty silly from a scientific standpoint, requiring massive suspension of disbelief.

“Nope” is somewhat more effective because the alien vessel at the heart of the story is basically like the shark from “Jaws.” Instead of appearing from under the water to attack its victims, this aerial predator hides in a cloud and uses energy damping technology to disable cameras and vehicles. It uses a tornado-like suction to grab its prey.

Like the shark in Jaws, this alien is territorial. It hangs out near a Hollywood horse ranch and a small western theme park, Jupiter's Claim. The horse ranch is run by O.J. Haywood (played by Daniel Kaluuya of “Get Out”). He trains horses that are featured in TV and movies.

Jupiter's Claim is run by former child star Ricky 'Jupe' Park (Steven Yeun of “Minari”). Personal tragedies haunt both Ricky and O.J. Ricky was traumatized by a killer chimpanzee on the set of a TV series, and O.J. witnessed his father's strange death, killed by junk falling out of the sky. The falling junk supposedly fell from an overhead jetliner, but O.J. never bought that explanation.

Junk falling from the sky is just one of many strange things happening near the horse ranch and Jupiter's Claim. People and animals are disappearing. There is a mysterious predator on the loose. While there is definite fear of the unknown, both Ricky and O.J. see this flying menace as an opportunity — a show business opportunity.

O.J. and his sister, Emerald 'Em' Haywood (Keke Palmer of “Hustlers”) plan to lure the predator in with bait and then capture it on film, while Ricky wants to incorporate the UFO into his theme park rodeo show. These plans are basically insane, but these are Hollywood people, so it makes some sense.

Em and O.J. buy a lot of camera equipment to capture UFO video, and are joined by UFO enthusiast Angel Torres (Brandon Perea of “American Insurrection”) and professional cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott of “Knight of Cups”) in their quest to capture the UFO “Money Shot.” O.J. and Em's quest to get the Money Shot is partly inspired by financial desperation. The horse ranch is teetering on bankruptcy.

The charming thing about this movie is the quirky characters, all of whom are a bit mad, and seemingly unaware of how absurd this entire situation is. I admired the pluckiness of Em, O.J., Ricky and some of the others trying to make money from this very dangerous alien predator. Ricky's back story about the killer chimp, shown in gory flashbacks, is a superfluous subplot I would rather not have seen.

As their situation becomes more desperate, Em and O.J. become even more determined to deal with this predator, and to get revenge for what it has cost them. In the end, O.J. and Em prove they have true grit.

So, it is a silly, nonsensical story filled with crazy characters, but it is fun, for the most part. The characters are worth watching and the story is compelling in its own way, the killer chimp story excepted. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2022 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]