‘Us.’ And them.

The Mueller story is breaking as I write this, and I’m treating it like a mass shooting; I’m not paying attention until more facts are on the ground. Besides, I want to talk about “Us.”

We saw Jordan Peele’s new film Saturday night. I was fearing a sophomore slump, after “Get Out.” I thought I might want to see it, and avoided reading too deeply into the early reviews. A couple had headlines that suggested it was OK, but not quite as good as “Get Out.”

People? I found those reviews…wrong.

I loved “Us.” I spent most of Sunday cleaning the house, and thought about it much of that time. I kept putting it through new unified theories, thinking of new metaphors you could tease out of it. Horror is my least-favorite genre. I find most repulsively violent, and even the well-reviewed ones like “A Silent Place” I mostly avoid. But if Jordan Peele keeps making horror movies, I am entirely down. He uses everything in his head – his deep knowledge of film history, his fondness for pop culture, his insistence that the audience rise to meet him, rather than stooping to the horror-fan level – to make scary movies like no other.

“Us” is about a family of four on vacation at their summer home, when a strangely dressed family appears at the foot of the driveway. As they come closer, something strange is evident: They’re them, the same family, played by the same actors, only…off, somehow. Only the mother (Lupita N’yongo) speaks clearly enough to understand, and she lays out what these doppelgängers want: What the other family has.

“We’re Americans,” she croaks.

Unfortunately, they’re all carrying a pair of golden shears, and they’re not there to make paper dolls. (Well, one is, but not for many, many minutes.)

It’s a violent movie, but not stomach-turningly so. I was too busy, as all this was unfolding, trying to think if this was about…slavery? Trumpism? Class? The answer is all of the above, and then some more. A lot more. There are Easter eggs galore, a veritable basket full of them, with unexpected laughs. Just one: A character under attack gasps to her smart speaker, “Call the police.” The speaker responds by blasting NWA’s “Fuck Tha Police.” Mis-hearing smart speakers may well be the new no-signal plot device, but this one is genuinely funny.

Also, there’s a Hands Across America plot line. Seriously, this is a very original movie. I loved it.

What else happened this weekend? The aforementioned house-cleaning, and Alan handled the yard, which is ready for spring. I got my bike tuned up, along with a new, better-padded seat, so I’m ready when it finally gets warm for good. We had some nice weather, but there was too much work to do to enjoy it.

We did get to the dog park for a bit. Too soon — it was a muddy mess.

Wendy worked that hole all last summer. It was the first thing she headed to this year.

Forecast tomorrow? A high of 40. Oh, well. It is coming.

Posted at 7:00 pm in Movies |
 

39 responses to “‘Us.’ And them.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 24, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Note from last thread to Julie:

    I’d love to know more, even just how you described it to folks in print, about your Fix-it Fair idea, because I totally want to steal that one this summer! Holler back to knapsack77@gmail.com if you have anything I could look at. The idea is so simple it’s brilliant, and I could probably just cook up my own version, but always happy to avoid reinventing the wheel . . .

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  2. Joe Kobiela said on March 24, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Wife and Milwaukee daughter also,saw “US” she gave it a big thumbs up.
    Pilot Joe

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  3. Deborah said on March 24, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    On this lazy Sunday afternoon in Abiquiu, I’ve been skimming The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida, copyright 2002. From what I can tell Florida got it really wrong. He obviously didn’t predict the Great Recession, and the rise of the tea party, then Trumpism. Things didn’t go nearly as rosy as he made it sound.

    I found this book on the shelves at Uncle J’s AZ ranch. I don’t know why it would have been of interest to uncle J or his family, but it might have been a left over from when the founder of Emily’s List lived there as she sold Uncle J a bunch of stuff like furniture and gee gaws which they kept in place.

    There are a few things in the book that panned out but a lot of it seems to be dead wrong.

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  4. Julie Robinson said on March 24, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    Jeff, no points for originality; we stole it from the library down in Orlando. There was a story in our paper: https://tinyurl.com/y6mu9l. I’d be happy to send you the press release, too. Look for that tomorrow, ‘cos I’m checked out for tonight.

    I want to hear from Mueller, not Mueller filtered through Barr.

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  5. Deborah said on March 24, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Richard Florida kind of admits he was wrong, in this 2017 Guardian article https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/cities/2017/oct/26/gentrification-richard-florida-interview-creative-class-new-urban-crisis

    It is not in the best interest of the Republican Party to reveal the full Mueller report, so don’t count on getting it until they are out of power. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

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  6. LAMary said on March 24, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    While I’m not a bit horror movie fan, it’s not my least favorite genre. That would be a tie between Tyler Perry movies and comic book hero movies.

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  7. Suzanne said on March 24, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    I don’t have much hope politically. Mueller, Rosenstein, Barr, all Republicans. They have come this far, they will not let go. IMO we will not have another fair and free election.

    So, I am drinking wine.

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  8. Jolene said on March 24, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    Google has lots of entries under fix-it fair, including several videos. Have seen several pieces about them on TV, so they may be becoming more common. A great idea, and, I’d think, fun in various ways. A chance to use your skills in a way that people will appreciate and interesting to see what other people can do.

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  9. Deborah said on March 24, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    When you go to a fix it fair, do you pay for the repairs? A donation? Just curious.

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  10. alex said on March 25, 2019 at 6:57 am

    Remember that Mueller was tasked narrowly with deciding the question of collusion. This doesn’t mean that he did not incidentally review evidence that Trump is guilty of other crimes, which surely surfaced in the investigation, and may very well be present in the report. So let the Republicans enjoy their momentary victory dance. This may blow up in their faces yet.

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  11. bb in DE said on March 25, 2019 at 8:00 am

    I’m with Alex, re: keeping the Mueller findings in their proper perspective. First, we found out that the current POTUS did not actively conspire with a known enemy to undermine a national election. Sadly, that was a question we needed to know the answer to. Better yet, the Mueller investigation flushed out several awful people and put them behind bars for doing things awful people aught to wind up in jail for; helped reveal new threads of potential malfeasance in and around Trump World that other investigations can and will pull on; and did so via an investigation that basically paid for itself in the form of Manafort’s $25M tax clawback. Good work, Bob. We’ll take it from here.

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  12. Suzanne said on March 25, 2019 at 9:02 am

    I wish I could be as hopeful as y’all. I’m not. Not at all. I think we are on the cusp of full blown autocracy and I don’t see really anyone out there with the will to stop it.

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  13. Sherri said on March 25, 2019 at 10:54 am

    bb in de, you can not conclude that trump didn’t actively conspire with a known enemy. All we know is that Mueller was unable to establish sufficient proof of same. All the circumstantial evidence, all the links between people in his campaign and Russia, it’s all still real and valid.

    I don’t think the Barr letter is going to end things, even as trump world declares victory with “See, no collussion!” The more he says them, the more I believe he did, but that won’t be his downfall. Eventually the grift will get him.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on March 25, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Jeff, just sent you an email. From a google address that strongly resembles my name, along with a middle initial.

    Fix-it Fairs got started about 10 years ago in the Netherlands, and I think and hope they will spread here. We are definitely going to do another one now that we feel comfortable with the logistics of it all.

    We didn’t charge anything–the idea was neighbors helping neighbors. We did put out a tip jar for another outreach program we have for our neighborhood kids, and I think we collected about $100, which really surprised me. We served some simple food items for both volunteers and guests and the jar was there.

    The most popular tables were knife-sharpening and computer repairs. We’re blessed to have a guy who really knows computers and I was amazed at the old crap that he got going. I think there were five bikes that got tune-ups, and they are going to another neighborhood program that provides job training for the recently incarcerated. Most have lost driving privileges.

    The jewelry table was also popular, and I wish we could have found a watch repair volunteer, because we had a lot of those brought in. Over at the sewing tables we did turn away a few who wanted zippers replaced in coats (neither of us is that skilled!), but stitched up a lot of seams, repaired holes, and fixed an amazing number of purses. Fans, a vacuum, a wooden rocking chair, there was a wide variety and I’d say we were able to fix 75% of what came through the door.

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  15. Suzanne said on March 25, 2019 at 11:12 am

    “My biggest worry about the Mueller investigation was always that it would effectively, even if not intentionally, create loads of time and space for Trump and the Republican Party to consolidate power. And that is exactly what has happened. There was precious little reason for Senate Republicans to hold Trump accountable for anything before, and there is no reason at all for them to do it now — unless and until they decide he’s become no more use to them, and replace him with Mike Pence instead.”

    http://www.shakesville.com/2019/03/thoughts-on-mueller-and-whats-next.html

    Trump has been a grifter his whole life and has never been held accountable. Now he has the wealth of the GOP and Putin’s oligarchs behind him, so the only way he goes out is if he ceases to be useful to them.

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  16. Connie said on March 25, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Fix-it Fairs are a regular program at libraries in my area. I will also note that most senior centers usually have a free sewing repair day. Probably also not including zippers.

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  17. Deborah said on March 25, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    I too think the grift will get Trump in the end. My prediction: I think he’ll end this term in office but will not be re-elected. As a NYC developer he’s got to have a lot of financial malfeasance in his closet, that and women he’s paid off etc. As many have said he’s been a grifter all of his life. Now we have to work and give like hell, to make sure he doesn’t get re-elected and in the process take the senate.

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  18. Jeff Borden said on March 25, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    I am hopeful Deborah is correct, but I share Suzanne’s fears that the gerrymandering, voter suppression and other efforts undertaken by the Republican Party have tilted the playing field for a long time. If the economy continues to hum along –personally, I don’t think it will– the Orange King will have enough appeal to independents and the transactional voters who care nothing about anything beyond their tax returns to eke out a win, at least through the Electoral College. And you can always count on the Democrats to fuck things up, so there’s that.

    I’ve loved horror movies since forever and am happy to see they are now being given some respect. Yes, the proprietess is correct that many are cheap thrill shows drenched in blood –Eli Roth’s “Hostel” series is nothing short of torture porn, for example– but chillers and thrillers have always told us things. From “Invasion of the Body Snatcher” and the giant killer insect films that explored the traumas of the ’50s through George Romero’s zombie films parodying race relations and consumerism to “Get Out” with its sly knifing of liberal sensibilities, horror films frequently contain plenty to chew on when the lights come up. I’ve not seen “Us” yet, but from what I’ve read, Lupita Nyong’o may well snag an Oscar nomination for best actress, which is no small feat for a horror movie.

    Quite honestly, I’ll take horror films over our national reality shit show.

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  19. Scout said on March 25, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Until we get more information, all we have is the Barr whitewash report, not the Mueller report. This was totally predictable. Especially all the MAGAts crowing about TOTAL VINDICATION!1!!

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  20. Deborah said on March 25, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    I started reading Out of Africa, hard to believe the book is even better than the movie which I have seen a gazillion times.

    I scrubbed the Abiquiu cabin floor today, it’s concrete, not very many square feet but after many fires in the wood burning stove and lots of mud from lots of snow this winter it was needed, but what a chore.

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  21. David C. said on March 25, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    I’ve already heard the magic phrase “The fundamentals of the economy are strong”. You usually hear that six months to a year before it tanks. Yeah, the stock market is doing fine but that doesn’t mean jack to most people. It’s only up because of trillions of dollars of stock buybacks. I moved my 401(k) out of stocks on the day tRump was inaugurated. I don’t regret that one little bit. It’ll stay that way until a Democratic administration takes over. Even then, I’ll be sixty in July. I plan on working until I’m seventy, but that’s still too close to risk as much in stocks as I had been. The Obama economy was very, very good to me, so I’m locking that in.

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  22. bb in DE said on March 26, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Sherri, you’re right about the old saw that it’s impossible to prove a negative, but I stand by the thought that Trump most likely isn’t guilty of collusion in the way Never Trumpers were hoping Mueller would discover. For one thing, Cohen straight up admitted in his House testimony that DJT never intended to actually win; he was just aiming for the attention his vanity campaign would draw. More importantly tho’, the list of mistakes Trump has made, then tried to spackle over, and eventually got busted for, grows by the week. We’re talking everything from his blurting out state secrets to Israeli dignitaries, to his ham-handed demands that his kids received security clearances despite every agency involved saying: “Good God, no.” I simply don’t believe that, this one time, Trump was miraculously smart enough to collude with Russia without leaving clues big enough for Mueller to detect from the Space Station. The boy just ain’t that sharp, and neither are any of the other passengers in the Trump clown car.

    There’s plenty for folks in the resistance to be disappointed about in the Mueller report, including his punting on the whole obstruction question. But it seems most likely that if any of the Trump clan were whispering to Russia, it was about building a tower in Moscow, not about them helping DJT win a job he didn’t want. And given the restraints put on Mueller’s investigation at the outset, his report was never going to be the finish line to this marathon, only a mileage marker.

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  23. Deborah said on March 26, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Well said, bb in DE.

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  24. Sherri said on March 26, 2019 at 10:58 am

    I agree with everything you say to a point, bb in de. Where we part is that I think it’s possible that trump didn’t intend to win but also hated to lose, and so given the opportunity provided by Russia, trump couldn’t have passed it up. Whether Russia would be ham handed enough to do it in such a way to leave no choice but a finding of criminal conspiracy by an investigator is a different question.

    And we don’t actually know what’s in the Mueller report yet, just Barr’s summary. I never expected Mueller to come out with an indictment of a sitting President, and given Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate, the Mueller report could probably contain evidence that trump eats babies for breakfast and they’d sit on it and do nothing. The only way we’re going to get trump out of office is with an election.

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  25. Suzanne said on March 26, 2019 at 11:06 am

    This is good.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/03/25/trump-russia-questions-unanswered-after-mueller-report-barr-letter-column/3264104002/

    “Robert Mueller has done his country a great service…But he cannot answer questions that he was not asked, and those questions remain.”
    My despair comes from the belief that the questions that remain will never be answered because no one in Washington has the political will to do so. It’s easier to give Comrade Trump & his devious minions free rein and hope for a better outcome in the next election. But my gut feeling is that we are way, way past that point.

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  26. Suzanne said on March 26, 2019 at 11:17 am

    I have been following this woman, Sarah Kendzior, on Twitter for the past few years. She’s done research on authoritarianism and has a podcast called Gaslit Nation. Maybe that’s why I am not optimistic. I don’t think Trump intended to win, but now that he has, he won’t let go of the power he’s amassed. And his enablers are legion.

    https://thecorrespondent.com/5696/were-heading-into-dark-times-this-is-how-to-be-your-own-light-in-the-age-of-trump/1611114266432-e23ea1a6

    “You can look to the president-elect himself for a vision of what is to come. He has told you his plans all along, though most chose to downplay or deny them.”

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  27. Jakash said on March 26, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Well, here’s something… unexpected.:

    “In a stunning reversal, Cook County prosecutors on Tuesday dropped all charges against ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett for allegedly staging a phony attack and claiming he was the victim of a hate crime.”

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-jussie-smollett-charges-dropped-20190326-story.html

    “The Cook County state’s attorney’s office said: ‘After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.'”

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/?post_type=cst_article&p=2087184

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  28. Deborah said on March 26, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    I’ve been reading Sarah Kendzior too, although I haven’t read her book, Flyover Country. She does paint a depressing picture. She lives in St. Louis which is a blue dot in very red state.

    The Trump admin messing with healthcare again, makes me worried again. What is wrong with these people?

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  29. Sherri said on March 26, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    So trump has signed an executive order declaring that we need more protection from an EMP attack. I’ve found that anyone who argues that an EMP attack is in the top zillion priorities of dangers facing us can be safely assumed to be a nutcase, but we already knew that, I guess. But just in case the media takes this seriously as anything other than welfare for defense contractors, while it’s technically possible that a country (or some other actor) might be able to detonate a nuclear bomb in space over the US and generate an EMP that takes out the electrical grid, any country that has the capability of doing so would probably prefer to, you know, detonate the nuclear bomb *in* the US, not play eleventy-dimensional chess.

    It’s the fall that will kill you.

    Meanwhile, we give tax breaks for rich people to buy private jets and burn the planet, and have terrible health care. But let’s spend money on Walls and EMPs!

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  30. David C. said on March 26, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    I guess they could put a Faraday cage on the crystal spheres that carry the planets around.

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  31. Suzanne said on March 26, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Glenn Beck is a hawker of the electric grid being attacked which I am sure has nothing to do with his selling freeze dried meals so you won’t starve when that happens. No, surely not.

    Our government is now run by the lunatic fringe.

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  32. LAMary said on March 27, 2019 at 12:35 am

    You know what sucks? A smug Sarah Sanders.

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  33. Dorothy said on March 27, 2019 at 9:38 am

    Sarah Sanders is going to ‘get hers’ eventually one day, Mary. And then it’ll be our turn to be smug. It just won’t be on camera. I don’t mind getting to be smug in front of the television screen. Hell, I might go all the way to jubilant when she pays the price for all the lying she’s done for that grifter!

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  34. Sherri said on March 27, 2019 at 11:28 am

    Orin Kerr on the Barr letter:

    https://twitter.com/OrinKerr/status/1110743768230232065

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  35. Sherri said on March 27, 2019 at 11:38 am

    And Monica Lewinsky reacts…

    https://twitter.com/MonicaLewinsky/status/1110768987539791872

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  36. Scout said on March 27, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDbeqj-1XOo

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  37. Deborah said on March 27, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    I’m pretty sure I saw the actress Lili Taylor at the Whole Foods in Santa Fe this afternoon. She might be in town filming something, lots of filming going on here. The high was 69° here today, sat outside on one of the patios. Spring is here but it can definitely still snow in April and May.

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  38. Deborah said on March 27, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Some how I did a duplicate comment, trying to fix it.

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  39. LAMary said on March 27, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    A son’s touching tribute to his dad…

    https://www.thecut.com/2019/03/donald-trump-jr-pornhub-meme-dad-instagram.html

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