Jordan Peele's 'Us' is a Creepy Tale That Sadly Mirrors Our Reality

On May 25, 1986, approximately 6.5 million Americans stood hand in hand forming a human chain that stretched from New York to California for an event called Hands Across America. It was a fundraiser project from USA for Africa (the same people who produced the “We Are the World” single the year before) in hopes of raising $100 million to fight hunger and homelessness. The hope was that everyone who participated would donate $10 for the cause. Families stood and sang together for 15 minutes. And then it was over.

I had trouble remembering if Hands Across America really happened or if it was a gimmick for the film when the original commercial for the event flashed on the big screen during the opening of Us. I only vaguely remember the event, which might have to do more with the fact that I have lived in Washington State my whole life and we weren’t involved in the project. I doubt that I’m the only one and I suspect that was also some of Jordan Peele’s reasoning as well whe…

'Incredibles 2' Proves 14 Years Isn’t Too Long to Wait For a Sequel.

Movie Review of "Incredibles 2"
Evelyn Deavor, Frozone, Elastigirl, Mr. Incredible and Winston Deavor in Incredibles 2 (Disney/Pixar)


While we’ve been waiting 14 years to see what has happened to the Parr family at the end of The Incredibles, the sequel, Incredibles 2, picks up immediately after the events of the 2004 movie. If you remember, Dash had just completed his first track meet and no-longer-shy Violet was asked out on a date from a fellow schoolmate. But the “normal” family life is short-lived as the Underminer (voiced by John Ratzenberger) wreaks havoc on the town and it’s back to work for the Parrs. Mr. and Mrs. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter) task Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huck Milner) with babysitting Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) while the husband and wife go to work.

Movie Review of "Incredibles 2"
The Incredibles (Disney/Pixar)
However, after the ruckus, the family is living incognito in a motel (as their home was destroyed in the previous film) since living as superheroes is still illegal. The Parrs finds themselves stuck between doing what is right in the eyes of the law of the land and doing what is right in their hearts. In the end, the Parrs decide to swallow their pride, get regular jobs and put away their superhero ways for good.

It is during this time that the Incredibles’ fellow crime fighter, Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) introduces Bob and Helen Parr to the brother/sister duo, Winston and Evelyn Deavor (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener) who have a marketing plan to make “supers” relevant once again by changing the public minds about crime fighters. But instead of Mr. Incredible, the Deavors was Elastigirl to make a return appearance while Mr. Parr becomes a stay-at-home dad. This becomes more complicated than he thinks because Baby Jack Jack is no normal baby. (Remember, during the first movie, the family has no idea that Jack Jack has any powers at all and he becomes super-unpredictable.) Adding to the chaos, Dash brings home “new math” homework for dad to conquer and Violet becomes a moody teenager.

Movie Review of "Incredibles 2"
Evelyn and Winston Deavor (Disney/Pixar)
Meanwhile, Elastigirl goes back and forth from loving her new superhero status to feeling guilty for not being home with the family. She meets with other Supers who have been in hiding as well and relish the idea that soon they will be free to rule the skies once again. But that’s when a new villain by the name of Screenslaver emerges. He is able to manipulate the minds of everyday citizens and is bent on destroying all Supers for good.

Incredibles 2 continues the 1960’s vibe of the first film with its stylistic artwork and music that is reminiscent to the early James Bond films. Yes, Edna Mode (voiced by the film’s director) makes an appearance in the film and offers to babysit Jack Jack. The movie is a delight from beginning to end, but forgive the pun, this one isn’t as powerful as the previous film. As an unwritten rule, Pixar films are known for their wonderful storytelling and knack for pulling on the heartstrings of their audience, but the latter is almost lost completely in the second movie.

Movie Review of "Incredibles 2"
Bob Parr and Jack Jack (Disney/Pixar)
The first Incredibles movie contained some pretty deep messages for an animated film. If you remember, the villain, Syndrome, once idolized Mr. Incredible, but he didn’t have any super powers of his own which made him feel alone and "unspecial." Over the years he became bitter and devised a plan where every citizen on earth would become “super.” “And when everyone’s super,” he says, “no one will be.” Of course, the other over-arching message of that film was the importance of a family trusting each other, helping build each other up and celebrating each other’s giftings. While the family does work together in this film, the message of “family” is somewhat overlooked. There is a line that is thrown out near the end where one side character says, “You’re family is pretty close, huh?” but that’s about it.

Movie Review of "Incredibles 2"
The other "Supers" (DisneyPixar)
I also found a few lines of dialogue in the movie to be disconcerting for an animated film. One doesn’t expect to hear phrases like “What the hell?”, “Oh my god!” and “Is it too early for a drink?” in a Disney family movie. These aren’t terrible and they don’t take anything away from the story, but they certainly aren’t necessary either. It is as if Brad Bird forgot that he was making a movie for families, not adults. Overall though, these are just minor quibbles to an otherwise exciting and fun sequel.

Bao (Disney/Pixar)
While Incredibles 2 lacks in heart-warming messages, they are more than made up for in the new short Bao which precedes the movie. Directed by Domee Shi, Bao is named after the Chinese dumpling and is story about an aging mother who seems content with her simple life but is actually suffering from empty nest syndrome. However, one day, one of her dumplings comes alive and sprouts legs resembling a baby boy and it appears that she has a second chance at motherhood. At times, the short seems rather strange, but in the end, it all makes sense and is a beautiful description about the struggles between the mother/son relationships.


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