$257, 434, 250.
That’s how much Jordan Peele’s film Get Out grossed at the Worldwide Box Office. 200 million dollars, with only a 4.5 million budget.
If you aren’t familiar with Jordan Peele’s film (seriously?) it can be best described as a social thriller, heavily touching on racial themes of America’s consistent infatuation with African American culture, despite its total disregard for African American life.
So if one of the most talked about films of 2017 can gross $257, 434, 250, why is it being nominated as best comedy instead of, oh, I don’t know… best ANYTHING ELSE BESIDES COMEDY, like it deserves?
Okay, so I know that the truth is scary. It can be a hard pill to swallow at times, especially when a successful Black man is putting the realities that most, if not all, people of color face on the big screen for all to see. *Cough* Sip on that, White America.
Our country has a, dare I say, funny (?) way of presenting real issues in a semi-digestible, usually offensive yet comedic way, by the use of satire and cartoon characters that typically include talking dogs and an East German Olympic ski-jumper turned goldfish that no one really seems to cares about (#JusticeForKlaus). And I’d be lying if I said didn’t watch those shows myself.
The Simpsons do it. American Dad and Family Guy do it… And of course, for the love of all things Eric Cartman, South Park does it, too, (and does it well).
But labeling Get Out as a comedy almost feels like the movie’s voice and pure brilliance of what it feels like to be a black person living in America, is being diminished by the use of a lazy label.
It leaves the familiar and disappointing taste of a fountain drink that has ran out at a fast food joint in our mouths, revealing itself to be nothing more than mediocre water that wished it were Sprite.
But what I don’t understand, is how this film was nominated for anything other than what it is. Is the horror of our truth that hilarious, or is it the same old “we didn’t know where to place this movie, but think this’ll gain an award despite being placed in the most watered down category, ever” excuse?
Are you laughing at the horror, the suffering? Are you disregarding what’s real…
Jordan Peele explained in an interview that he didn’t have any input in the submission of his movie, or was even consulted when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) submitted ‘Get Out’ to be nominated as best comedy category for the Golden Globes. This is actually pretty normal, considering the HFPA makes the final decisions. He initially didn’t see the big deal in its placement as a comedy, and joked on twitter claiming ‘Get Out’ is a documentary.
Even though it feels like Peele was dismissing the situation, he stated at a lunch event for the movie, “if he had been consulted, he would have opposed the decision. The problem is, it’s not a movie that can really be put into a genre box,” he says—he doesn’t think the film’s racial themes are funny at all.”
He adds, “Call it what you want, but the movie is an expression of my truth, my experience, the experiences of a lot of black people, and minorities … The major point to identify here is that we don’t want our truth trivialized. The label of comedy is often a trivial thing. The real question is, what are you laughing at? Are you laughing at the horror, the suffering? Are you disregarding what’s real about this project? That’s why I said, yeah — it’s a documentary.”
It’s irritating how the movie, despite the obvious success, is being treated like it wasn’t a success at all. Nothing more than a joke. A good laugh. A “oh man, this is uncomfortably accurate, but it’s funny because it’s fake, and I don’t want to hold myself accountable or acknowledge that history is and still continues to repeat itself, but HAHAHAHAAH, crazy right? I’m not crying, you’re crying…”
Categorizing Get Out as a comedy serves as a reminder that no matter how much money people of color may pull in, white privilege overrules.
I guess it was just so funny we all forgot to laugh.
Written by Teresa Johnson