Viewers might be waiting for the movie Nope to explain Gordy. The story of the killer chimp and Ricky “Jupe” Park is interspersed throughout the film. When it’s over, some audience members might be left a bit confused. While it’s a horrific (and enthralling) tale, you might wonder what it has to do with the overall plot and what the standing shoe means.
What does the chimpanzee story mean in Nope explained
The story of Jupe’s time on Gordy’s Home and the titular chimps killing spree in Nope is the catalyst for the rest of the film. It plays into an idea that’s presented several times throughout the course of the movie, that of a “bad miracle.”
Jupe’s bad miracle is that he is spared by Gordy and becomes (even more) famous for it. The tragedy is a part of the zeitgeist in Nope’s reality, similar to the deaths on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie. Jupe has spent his whole life reliving that moment, and despite how terrible it was, he’s made money off of it. It’s his bad miracle.
Unfortunately, it seems like Jupe’s takeaway from his last moments with Gordy was that he was somehow special. Unlike the other actors who didn’t escape the set, Gordy didn’t attack him. Instead, it seemed as though the chimp was trying to reach out to him. Jupe thought that meant he had some sort of connection with a powerful, unpredictable, wild animal that protected him from harm.
However, upon close examination, the scene with Gordy and Jupe shows that Gordy’s rage subsiding was incidental to Jupe’s involvement. The thing that set the chimp off in the first place was the hot stage lights popping the mylar balloons. By the time Gordy saw Jupe, the final balloon had already popped, so his aggression wasn’t triggered further. There’s also foreshadowing here, as Gordy sees Jupe through the table cloth instead of looking him directly in the eyes.
It’s also entirely possible that even though Gordy seemed docile before he was shot that he was reaching for Jupe, things could have turned quickly. However, Jupe never learned the right lesson here. It was only through luck that he wasn’t seriously injured or killed. Because of this belief, he attempted to use the UFO the same way the sitcom used Gordy, and it led to his death. Furthermore, Jupe’s attempts to tame the UFO indirectly caused the death of Otis Sr., and was the reason it claimed the area around Aqua Dulce as its territory.
What does the shoe mean in Nope?
One of the key moments we see during Gordy’s rampage in Nope is that Mary Jo Elliott’s shoe is ripped from her foot and lands perfectly balanced standing on its end. This image stuck with Jupe so much that as an adult, he put the shoe in a glass case in the same position. But, what does it mean?
It might appear at first glance like the shoe has something to do with alien influence. This is a red herring.
The shoe plays into two concepts. It’s a sign of Jupe’s bad miracle and connects to Holst’s comments about the “perfect shot.” The odds are incredibly low that the shoe would land like that and stay there, especially during the violent clamoring of both a chimp and human actors. Jupe staring at it throughout Gordy’s attack might even be what saved him since he never made direct eye contact with the chimp.
Jupe interpreted the shoe’s unusual position as another sign that he was special. The shoe has no meaning. It just happened to land like that. However, ascribing meaning to that which is meaningless could be taken as commentary on any number of topics.