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I finally got the chance to see the Oscar-nominated Get Out, which I’d sort of resisted because it has been classified and publicized as a horror film, and I don’t like horror films. Thrillers I love, but “horror movie” always makes me think about chainsaws and severed limbs and rooms awash with blood, and I just have no stomach for that stuff.

It ends up that Get Out is far more than that. Sure, it has a bit of blood, but the movie really a kind of weird combination of thriller and social satire, a kind of The Stepford Wives for 2018.

The setup is simple. Rose (Allison Williams) plans to take her boyfriend Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) home to meet her parents. He inquires if she’s told her parents that she is dating a black man, and she responds that it won’t be a problem - they are the kind of white liberals who would’ve loved to have voted for Obama a third time. And so off they go.

Rose is right. Her parents, played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener), are welcoming, Maybe too much so. But something is slightly wrong - with their friends who come over for a party, with the black folks who work around the house, and with a black guest at the party who seems, well, off.

Writer/director Jordan Peele is incredibly surefooted in his first feature film, knowing how to precisely ratchet up the tension and push the envelope on terror. The performances are uniformly excellent, with special kudos to Kaluuya and Lil Rel Howery, who plays Chris’s best friend. And the writing is incredibly sharp - never taking the expected or easy jab at social and political pretensions, and consistently finding the less visible and soft underbelly of racism.

Mostly, Get Out is just a terrific movie. See it.



A point of personal privilege here, if I may.

I would urge Chicago-area readers of MNB to check out a new play being done by The Comrades theater company. “Row After Row” is about two Civil War re-enactors who go to their usual bar after a recreation of the Battle of Gettysburg, only to find a young black woman sitting at their usual table.

I’ve not seen it, but I’m read in a local review that “smartly directed by Anne Kreitman, Jessica Dickey’s seventy-minute play takes off at break-neck speed, uncovering issues of nostalgia, bias, mansplaining, and our relationship to history.”

I will be seeing it, though … because one of the re-enactors is played by one of my favorite young actors - a talented fellow I’m well acquainted with, named David Coupe. (Yes, my oldest son. He makes his father very proud.)

“Row After Row” is playing the Apollo Studio Theater (2540 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago) from February 5 through 27, with performances on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings. If you get a chance to see it, I hope you will. And stop by after the show and say hi to David.




I’m looking forward to Sunday, when we’ll be able to see the final episodes of the season of “Star Trek: Discovery,” and the first episode of the new season of “Homeland.” Yippee.




That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.

Slàinte!
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