There may be no greater celebrity career transition than Jordan Peele’s move from working in comedy to becoming a horror director. The Mad TV and Key & Peele star had just about mastered the art of sketch comedy by the time he released Get Out in 2018, with critics already calling his directorial debut a modern horror masterpiece. In fact, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay—and followed it up with the impressive thriller, Us.
If there was ever a mind to balance both comedic timing and suspense, Jordan Peele is our guy. On the heels of his 2022 summer blockbuster, Nope—starring Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer—Peele is now planning his mysterious fourth film for a Christmas 2024 release. Of course, we haven’t seen an ounce of information about the project just yet. It’ll be the penultimate film in his announced “five movie plan” of social thrillers, though the previously-set marker now sounds pretty loose due to his immense success.
“I feel like I’m off to the races,” Peele told Variety back during Nope’s release. “I just don’t know if I could limit how many films I have that are me. I’m starting to lose sight of what I would be doing if I wasn’t doing movies like this. So I would say the project has extended.” According to the director, he’s even considering making a potential sequel to Get Out. Until then, here’s the 10 best movies and TV shows of Jordan Peele’s career so far.
10. Mad TV (1995-2009)
It’s where Peele got his start, which counts for something. Covering everything from impersonations of noteworthy figures to mocking movies and references in pop culture, if you want to see how Peele’s career has progressed, take it back to the beginning.
9. Keanu (2016)
Comedy duo Key and Peele’s first theatrical release is about a cute kitten named Keanu getting abducted. (The two venture out to get him back. That’s the plot.) The pair co-wrote, produced, and starred in the film—and yes they even got Keanu Reeves to voice kitten Keanu.
8. Nope (2022)
Yes, Peele’s latest is lower on this list but that’s because it wasn’t as good! Sorry. The sky just isn’t as scary as a racist family or having your own doppelgänger try to kill you. On the upside, this is the most visually stunning movie by the director yet. You’ve never seen night shots like this.
7. The Twilight Zone (2019-2020)
It’s the short-lived TV show that deserved more. Peele opens and narrates the reboot of the popular ’50s anthology show—I mean, who better to do that than the modern day king of horror? The show even includes scream queen Taissa Farmiga.
6. Candyman (2021)
The Candyman is a timeless character owned by Universal Studios, and Peele helped it earn another life as a producer here. The original came out in 1992, and the remake incorporated social issues with some actually good jump scares.
5. Key & Peele (2012-2015)
Where Peele became a household name. The sketch comedy show brimmed with his goofy takes on pop culture, satirical looks at race, and all-around witty writing. The show lasted five seasons and ended only because both Key and Peele had other creative endeavors they wanted to pursue in their careers.
4. Toy Story 4 (2019)
The last movie in the behemoth franchise beloved by damn near every age group. Peele plays Bunny while his partner in comedy, Key, tackles Ducky. Even though the movie doesn’t do Buzz Lightyear justice—we can discuss that elsewhere—or have an emotional storyline of Woody and Andy like the rest of the movies, it still rocks. Pixar is good!
3) Us (2019)
Peele’s second directorial effort stars Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o and future horror greats Elisabeth Moss (The Invisible Man) and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Candyman, Watchman). Describing the film’s message, Peele was quoted as saying, “We are afraid of the outsider. Our fear lies in this idea that there’s a bad guy is coming to get us. This movie is about the fact that we are our own worst enemy.” Those are big ideas, but they all absolutely work in the finished product.
2) BlacKkKlansman (2018)
With Peele producing and Spike Lee directing this was always going to be good. (But this good?!) The story is loosely based on Ron Stallworth—the first Black officer to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department—who sets out on a mission to expose the Ku Klux Klan. An absolute classic and a must-watch movie for any serious film lover.
1) Get Out (2017)
The best Jordan Peele movie, hands down. Get Out will make your skin crawl with how uncomfortable it is to witness the direct and indirect forms of racism that, largely, define modern American society. You won’t just be thinking about this for days to come, but years.
Lexi Carson is a writer from Orlando, Florida, with an interest in movies, music and culture.
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