After the success of the Oscar-winning Get Out and the box-office hit Us, Jordan Peele returns to theaters with his latest high-end horror offering, Nope.
Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Steven Yeun, the film follows siblings who own a horse ranch and are looking to find proof of intelligent (though possibly hostile) alien life after their father dies in an unusual and suspicious manner. When they capture footage of what they believe are alien beings, they unknowingly start a battle they might not be able to finish.
On Ranker, Jordan Peele, his movies, and his cast have left a solid impression on dozens of votable lists, so naturally, we're here to help you cope with all things Nope.
Note: Ranker's rankings are constantly being updated as people vote, and are subject to change.
What's 'Nope' Actually About?
Thanks to the final trailer, a bit more of the film's largely mysterious plot has emerged. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer play siblings who work on the family ranch, a horse farm in California that provides trained equines for the silver screen. After their father (Keith David) is mysteriously killed, they begin to notice unusual events and objects at their ranch. Some of which are very, very large.
The duo take it upon themselves to investigate the matter and decide they need to record the event for prosperity. As Palmer's character Emerald puts it, “Ain’t nobody gonna get what we’re gonna get. Undeniable proof of aliens on camera. The Oprah shot.”
To get said shot, the siblings recruit Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott) and Angel Torres (Brandon Perea) to help set up tech. But instead of finding fame and fortune, it seems the visitor(s) might have taken it as an act of hostility, and opt to respond in kind.
'Get Out' And 'Us' Are Tough Acts To Follow
Before Get Out, Peele was known mostly as “either Key or Peele” on Key & Peele, the Comedy Central series that ranks No. 4 on Ranker's list of The Best Sketch Comedy TV Shows, right behind Monty Python's Flying Circus. While many of the sketches masterminded by Peele and Keegan-Michael Key were undeniably cinematic and occasionally even horrific, Get Out still surprised in 2017. Peele's first film ranks in the Top 15 among The Greatest Directorial Debuts Of All Time, ahead of classics like Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead, John Singleton's Boyz in the Hood, and even Steven Spielberg's Duel, to name just a few.
So Peele had his work cut out for him after delivering what voters have ranked No. 2 among The Best Thrillers Of The 2010s Decade, behind only Gone Girl. With his follow-up, Us, Peele folded the challenge like laundry: His second film as director was another hit, and it ranks No. 3 on the list of The Best Movies Of 2019, behind two Marvel blockbusters and well ahead of best picture Academy Award winner Parasite. It also hit No. 3 among The Best New Horror Movies Of The Last Few Years, right behind the cult hit Ready or Not and Doctor Sleep, the long-awaited sequel to The Shining.
The Film's Title Is All About How The Audience Feels
Like with Jordan Peele's previous movies, the title of Nope is a bit of an in-joke related to the movie itself.
Peele revealed to Entertainment Tonight that the title of Get Out originated with an Eddie Murphy stand-up bit in Delirious in which the funnyman questions why a Caucasian family would stay at a haunted house when evil spirits are blatantly telling them to leave. As Peele said, “Eddie Murphy was explaining the difference of how a white family and a Black family would react in a haunted house.”
Murphy's bit plays out like this:
In The Amityville Horror the ghost told them to get out of the house. White people stayed in there. Now that’s a hint and a half for your a**...
I would’ve been in the house saying:
“Oh baby this is beautiful. We got a chandelier hanging up here, kids outside playing. It’s a beautiful neighborhood. We ain’t got nothing to worry, I really love it this is really nice…”
“Too bad we can’t stay, baby!”
With Nope, according to Entertainment Weekly, Peele explained at CinemaCon that the title again ties in directly to how he believes audiences would feel during the film:
This film is definitely a ride. The title speaks to the idea of being in tune with what the audience is thinking and feeling in the theater… I know a lot of people who say, when it’s a scary movie, they say, “Nope!” Especially Black audiences, right? We love horror but there’s a skepticism.
I love a rapt audience saying, “Nope"; or, “Get out the house!” I love to encourage that interaction because that’s what’s giving the audience a unique experience. Roller coasters aren’t fun alone. Being scared isn’t fun alone. You need that energy.
The Movie Reunites Two A-List Oscar Winners
In 2011, Daniel Kaluuya starred in the Black Mirror episode "Fifteen Million Merits," playing Bing, a man pining for a chance at love, fame, and fortune in a truly perverse dystopian take on reality-TV singing competitions.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Kaluuya's turn in the twisted tech series caught Peele's attention when he was casting Get Out. Both Peele and Kaluuya were nominated for Oscars for the film. In the end, Peele took home the trophy for best original screenplay for Get Out, and three years later Kaluuya won an Oscar for best supporting actor thanks to his performance in Judas and the Black Messiah.
Nope reunites the duo back in the genre that made them both the toasts of Tinseltown: horror. Though this time around, Kaluuya won't be facing the horrors of the 1%, but rather space invaders from beyond.
On Ranker, Peele nabs the No. 2 spot on The Very Best Black Directors, Ranked, topped only by Spike Lee, while Kaluuya holds on to the top spot on The Best Black Actors And Actresses Under 40, just ahead of Us star and fellow Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o.
Kaluuya also shows up on our list of Famous People You Never Realized Are British, Ranked By How Surprised You Were When You Found Out, ranking No. 8, right between Alfred Molina and Andrew Lincoln at Nos. 7 and 9, respectively.