10 Fast Facts About Get Out

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Trekking beyond his Key & Peele sketch comedy roots, Jordan Peele surprised a lot of people by making his debut feature a horror film. There are a few uncomfortable laughs to be found in Get Out, but the bulk of the movie is a descent into madness that proves its main character, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), is right to be paranoid.

The film follows Chris as he visits his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) wealthy, white parents at their home, where Chris begins to suspect that something’s not right. Spoiler alert: He’s super correct, because the Armitage family is trying to sell his body to the highest bidder.

Here are 10 facts about the terrifying Best Picture nominee.

1. IT WAS INSPIRED BY AN EDDIE MURPHY ROUTINE.

Jordan Peele points to the classic bit in Eddie Murphy: Delirious where Murphy asks why white people don’t just leave a house when a ghost shows up as one generation point for the film. “In The Amityville Horror the ghost told them to get out of the house,” Murphy riffs. “Now that’s a hint and a half for you a**. If a ghost said ‘get the f*** out,’ I would just tip the f**** out the door.”

2. CHANCE THE RAPPER GAVE AWAY FREE TICKETS TO ITS CHICAGO OPENING.

Obviously a massive fan of the movie, Chance the Rapper purchased every ticket for every opening day showing of Get Out at the Chatham Theater on 87th in Chicago, and urged his Twitter followers to claim a ticket at the box office on his dime.

3. THE SUNKEN PLACE REPRESENTS THE MARGINALIZATION OF BLACK AMERICANS.

The metaphor is nuanced and multi-layered, but the main theme of the film’s horror is the real-world concept of a system silencing you no matter how loudly you shout. On the Blu-ray, Peele also explicitly stated that it is “a metaphor for the marginalization of the black horror movie audience. We are a loyal horror movie fan base, and we’re relegated to the theater, not on the screen.”

4. GET OUT IS ALSO ABOUT, NO KIDDING, THE HOLY GRAIL.

In the opening scene when Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) abducts Andre (Lakeith Stanfield), he’s got a Knight’s Templar helmet, which is one small element of a detailed backstory Peele gave to The Red Alchemists Society, the secretive group that comes together to bid on black bodies to inhabit.

“They believe they are destined for immortality and deity status,” Peele said. “And over hundreds of years they have worked to figure out through science a way to achieve the power of the Holy Grail.”

5. PEELE DID IMPRESSIONS WHILE DIRECTING.

When you’re known for impersonating President Barack Obama (with an anger interpreter by your side), why not bring that into the mix when you’re giving your actors notes? Peele’s on-set impressions included Obama and comedian Tracy Morgan.

6. PEELE ALSO HAS VOICE CAMEOS AS A DEER AND IN A COMMERCIAL.

As demonstrated in the video above, Peele provided the moan of the dying deer at the beginning of the film, as well as the voice of the narrator for the United Negro College Fund PSA, who keeps insisting that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

7. THE MOVIE IS BEING TAUGHT IN UNIVERSITIES.

In the fall of 2017, author Tananarive Due taught “Sunken Place: Racism, Survival, and Black Horror Aesthetic” at UCLA. Peele even dropped by the class to expand on, among other things, the film’s metaphorical connection to the modern prison industrial complex.

8. YOU SHOULD RE-WATCH THE MOVIE TO SEE WHAT ROSE DOES.

Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams in 'Get Out' (2017)
Justin Lubin, Universal Pictures

When Rose stops the cop from checking Chris’s license, it’s not to stand up for him against a racist act; it’s to ensure there’s no paper trail connecting Chris with her family. This is only one of many duplicitous acts Rose pulls off during the story, and Peele encourages fans to watch the movie again to see how Rose’s hidden intent plays.

9. IT’S THE FIRST FEBRUARY RELEASE SINCE THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS TO SCORE A BEST PICTURE NOMINATION.

And The Silence of the Lambs went on to win. Peele notes the Jonathan Demme classic as partial inspiration for the film, citing the scene where Hannibal Lecter is calmly waiting at the end of the prison hospital hallway as a model for how he introduced Georgina (Betty Gabriel). Want one more Get Out/The Silence of the Lambs connection? They’re two of a very small number of horror films to be nominated for Hollywood’s highest honor.

10. THE ORIGINAL ENDING WAS A DOWNER.

Daniel Kaluuya in 'Get Out' (2017)
Justin Lubin, Universal Pictures

The ending we all feared was initially the one Peele wanted for the film. He planned on having the police show up to arrest Chris for the carnage at the Armitage house, with Rod (LilRel Howery) visiting Chris in jail and hinting that he’d get life in prison with the system stacked against him.

10 Sweet Facts About Napoleon Dynamite

© 2004 Twentieth Century Fox
© 2004 Twentieth Century Fox

ChapStick, llamas, and tater tots are just a few things that appear in Napoleon Dynamite, a cult film shot for a mere $400,000 that went on to gross $44.5 million. In 2002, Brigham Young University film student Jared Hess filmed a black-and-white short, Peluca, with his classmate Jon Heder. The film got accepted into the Slamdance Film Festival, which gave Hess the courage to adapt it into a feature. Hess used his real-life upbringing in Preston, Idaho—he had six brothers and his mom owned llamas—to form the basis of the movie, about a nerdy teenager named Napoleon (Heder) who encourages his friend Pedro (Efren Ramirez) to run for class president.

In 2004, the indie film screened at Sundance, and was quickly purchased by Fox Searchlight and Paramount, then released less than six months later. Today, the film remains so popular that in 2016 Pedro and Napoleon reunited for a cheesy tots Burger King commercial. To celebrated the film's 15th anniversary, here are some facts about the ever-quotable comedy.

1. Deb is based on Jerusha Hess.

Jared Hess’s wife Jerusha co-wrote the film and based Deb on her own life. “Her mom made her a dress when she was going to a middle school dance and she said, ‘I hadn’t really developed yet, so my mom overcompensated and made some very large, fluffy shoulders,’” Jared told Rolling Stone. “Some guy dancing with her patted the sleeves and actually said, ‘I like your sleeves … they’re real big.'"

Tina Majorino, who played the fictional Deb, hadn’t done a comedy before, because people thought of her as a dramatic actress. "The fact that Jared would even let me come in and read really appealed to me," she told Rolling Stone. "Even if I didn’t get the role, I just wanted to see what it was like to audition for a comedy, as I’d never done it before."

2. Napoleon's famous dance scene was the result of having extra film stock.

At the end of shooting Peluca, Hess had a minute of film stock left and knew Heder liked to dance. Heder had on moon boots—something Hess used to wear—so they traveled to the end of a dirt road. They turned on the car radio and Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat” was playing. “I just told him to start dancing and realized: This is how we’ve got to end the film,” Hess told Rolling Stone. “You don’t anticipate those kinds of things. They’re just part of the creative process.”

Heder told HuffPost he found inspiration in Michael Jackson and dancing in front of a mirror, for the end-of-the-movie skit. But when it came time to film the dance for the feature, Heder felt "pressure" to deliver. “I was like, ‘Oh, crap!’ This isn’t just a silly little scene,” he told PDX Monthly. “This is the moment where everything comes, and he’s making the sacrifice for his friend. That’s the whole theme of the movie. Everything leads up to this. Napoleon’s been this loser. This has to be the moment where he lands a victory.” Instead of hiring a choreographer, the filmmakers told him to “just figure it out.” They filmed the scene three times with three different songs, including Jamiroquai’s “Little L” and “Canned Heat.”

3. Napoleon Dynamitefans still flock to Preston, Idaho to tour the movie's locations.

In a 2016 interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, The Preston Citizen’s circulation manager, Rhonda Gregerson, said “every summer at least 50 groups of fans walk into the office wanting to know more about the film.” She said people come from all over the world to see Preston High School, Pedro’s house, and other filming locations as a layover before heading to Yellowstone National Park. “If you talk to a lot of people in Preston, you’ll find a lot of people who have become a bit sick of it,” Gregerson said. “I still think it’s great that there’s still so much interest in the town this long after the movie.”

Besides the filming locations, the town used to host a Napoleon Dynamite festival. In 2005, the fest drew about 6000 people and featured a tater tot eating contest, a moon boot dancing contest, boondoggle keychains for sale, and a tetherball tournament. The fest was last held in 2008.

4. Idaho adopted a resolution commending the filmmakers.

'Napoleon Dynamite' filmmakers Jerusha and Jared Hess
Jerusha and Jared Hess
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

In 2005, the Idaho legislature wrote a resolution praising Jared and Jerusha Hess and the city of Preston. HCR029 appreciates the use of tater tots for “promoting Idaho’s most famous export.” It extols bicycling and skateboarding to promote “better air quality,” and it says Kip and LaFawnduh’s relationship “is a tribute to e-commerce and Idaho’s technology-driven industry.” The resolution goes on to say those who “vote Nay on this concurrent resolution are Freakin’ Idiots.” Napoleon would be proud.

5. Napoleon was a different kind of nerd.

Sure, he was awkward, but Napoleon wasn’t as intelligent as other film nerds. “He’s not a genius,” Heder told HuffPost. “Maybe he’s getting good grades, but he’s not excelling; he’s just socially awkward. He doesn’t know how much of an outcast he is, and that’s what gives him that confidence. He’s trying to be cool sometimes, but mostly he just goes for it and does it.”

6. The title sequence featured several different sets of hands..

Eight months before the theatrical release, Fox Searchlight had Hess film a title sequence that made it clear that the film took place in 2004, not in the ’80s or ’90s. Napoleon’s student ID reveals the events occur during the 2004-2005 school year. Heder’s hands move the objects in and out of the frame, but Fox didn’t like his hangnails. “They flew out a hand model a couple weeks later, who had great hands, but was five or six shades darker than Jon Heder,” Hess told Art of the Title. “If you look, there are like three different dudes’ hands—our producer’s are in there, too.”

7. Napoleon Dynamite messed up Netflix's algorithms.

Beginning in 2006, Cinematch—Netflix’s recommendation algorithm software—held a contest called The Netflix Prize. Anyone who could make Cinematch’s predictions at least 10 percent more accurate would win $1 million. Computer scientist Len Bertoni had trouble predicting whether people would like Napoleon Dynamite. Bertoni told The New York Times the film is “polarizing,” and the Netflix ratings are either one or five stars. If he could accurately predict whether people liked the movie, Bertoni said, then he’d come much closer to winning the prize. That didn’t happen for him.

The contest finally ended in 2009 when Netflix awarded the grand prize to BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos, who developed a 10.06 percent improvement over Cinematch’s score.

8. Napoleon accidentally got a bad perm.


© 2004 Twentieth Century Fox

Heder got his hair permed the night before shooting began—but something went wrong. Heder called Jared and said, “‘Yeah, I got the perm but it’s a little bit different than it was before,’” Hess told Rolling Stone. “He showed up the night before shooting and he looked like Shirley Temple! The curls were huge!” They didn’t have much time to fix the goof, so Hess enlisted Jerusha and her cousin to re-perm it. It worked, but Jon wasn’t allowed to wash his hair for the next three weeks. “So he had this stinky ‘do in the Idaho heat for three weeks,” Jared said. “We were shooting near dairy farms and there were tons of flies; they were all flying in and out of his hair.”

9. LaFawnduh's real-life family starred in the film.

Shondrella Avery played LaFawnduh, the African American girlfriend of Kip, Napoleon’s older brother (played by Aaron Ruell). Before filming, Hess phoned Avery and said, “‘You remember that there were no black people in Preston, Idaho, right? Do you think your family might want to be in the movie?’ And that’s how it happened,” Avery told Los Angeles Weekly. Her actual family shows up at the end when LaFawnduh and Kip get married.

10. A short-lived animated series acted as a sequel.

In 2012, Fox aired six episodes of Napoleon Dynamite the animated series before they canceled it. All of the original actors returned to supply voices to their characters. The only difference between the film and the series is Kip is not married. Heder told Rolling Stone the episodes are as close to a sequel as fans will get. “If you sit down and watch those back to back, you’ve got yourself a sequel,” he said. “Because you’ve got all the same characters and all the same actors.”

This story has been updated for 2019.

Harry Potter Fans Are Waiting 10 Hours or More to Ride Hagrid’s Roller Coaster

Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando

Muggles will do anything to be a part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Universal Orlando opened up its newest ride this week at its version of Hogsmeade, the village that surrounds Hogwarts castle. Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure takes wannabe wizards and witches on a twisting, high-speed flight through the mystical Forbidden Forest.

Diehard fans began waiting overnight outside the park in anticipation of the ride, and it looks like just about everyone had the same idea. At 8:30 a.m. on opening day, the line was already eight hours long, and quickly stretched to 10 hours long by 10:30 a.m., CNN reports.

The line is worth the wait for many fans of the franchise. As Potterheads already know, Rubeus Hagrid, beloved friend of Harry Potter and the gang, has a special affinity for mysterious creatures. So who better to see the beasts of the forest with than the half-giant?

Participants on the ride can choose to sit in Hagrid’s sidecar or in the driver’s seat. The winding track includes appearances by some of our favorite wizards, like Arthur Weasley, and creatures benevolent and otherwise, such as Cornish pixies, massive spiders, and the three-headed dog, Fluffy.

Fans aren’t the only ones wanting to experience the ride. Some of the stars of the film series had a little reunion in Orlando this week to celebrate the opening, including Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood).

Unlike the fans, however, they have magic (fame) to keep them from having to wait in 10-hour lines.

Happy riding, Potterheads!

[h/t CNN]

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