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…

The Rock and ‘Scream’ Queen Star in Silly but Fun ‘Skyscraper’

Movie Review of "Skyscraper"
Dwayne Johnson goes to amazing heights to save his family in Skyscraper. (Universal)


The first five minutes of Skyscraper is the best in the entire movie. The scene starts out quietly and innocently with a view of falling snow. Then a police radio can be heard in the distance and the scene opens slowly and builds. It’s almost poetic. It’s mysterious, exciting and surprising. The rest of the movie isn’t any of those things. Instead, Skyscraper is a collection of famous movie troupes. Big action star who is super-tough but can shed a tear? Check. A modern woman who is both capable and yet still needing saving? Check. The villain’s assistant who is beautiful, overdressed and deadly? Check. Scared kids? Check. Lots of explosions? Check. And on it goes.

Despite what you might think from watching the trailers, Skyscraper has more in common with Diehard than it does with The Towering Inferno. Yes, there is a burning building and people need to be rescued, but that’s about it for the comparisons to the former. It survives on the star power of its star, Dwayne Johnson. No matter how silly or outlandish a film is, you just can’t help but like it if it stars Mr. Johnson. And Skyscraper even shows a glimmer of the depth of Johnson’s potential as an actor.

Movie Review of "Skyscraper"
Dwayne Johnson (Universal)
Johnson headlines the film playing Will Sawyer, a war veteran and former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader who is missing a leg and now spends his work days assessing security for … skyscrapers. After the five minute prologue, the story begins with Sawyer and his family on vacation/business trip in Hong Kong. The group is one of the lucky few who get to stay in the upper half of the world’s largest building known as The Pearl. The skyscraper will not only serve as a residence of many, but will become sort of a pseudo city with a large park in the middle (with large trees and its own waterfall) and many businesses down below. The top half of The Pearl will open after it gets its security approvals from Sawyer, but as a grand gesture, Sawyer’s family has been housed near the top of the building during their stay. This is one impressive (and totally unbelievable) operation. Things here are not only high tech, but they are super high tech. It has every security detail spelled out and all of the bells and whistles you can imagine. If a fire should break out, it can be contained near the top of the building without affecting the floors beneath it and wouldn’t you know it, one doe. And Sawyer’s family is staying on a floor that is above the flames.

Skyscraper has been described by some as a mystery, action and thriller. Written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence, We’re the Millers), the author doesn’t know the value of subtlety. Causal viewers will figure out the mysterious elements from a mile away and honestly, there isn’t a lot of thrilling going on either. Despite the circumstances, you never really worry about this family. You know that they are going to be okay. This is in part to the fact that this building has a space age quality to it and is unlike anything we have in the real world - at least right now. It feels far removed from reality. What we’re left with is an action film, but one out of three isn’t terrible I guess. Just don’t expect it to make a whole lot of sense. At times it feels like it is one big commercial to sell duct tape.

Having graduated from the TV series, Party of Five and playing traumatized teen in the four Scream movies, Neve Campbell plays the role of Will’s wife, Sarah. And gets to play a mom, but not just any mom. She’s a surgeon with special battle training herself from her formal life too. However, will all of those skills, she fails to understand the concept of rebooting her phone. She gets to do a few action scenes, but not a lot. This is “The Rock’s” movie.

While Will tries a large part of the movie trying to reach his family, Sarah must comfort and protect the couple’s twins. Though burdened with dumb exchanges like Will telling his wife, “I love you” and she replying with “You better,” it is refreshing to see a marriage played out on the screen without any major marital problems. This is one intact family that loves each other and as silly as it gets in places, it’s nice to see a man literally willing to do anything to save his family.

All in all, Skyscraper isn’t as good as it could be, but it still one fun ride for those wanting an action flick to stuff popcorn in their face to, making it for some to be the perfect summer movie.


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