After I watched the new Netflix release, “Don’t Look Up,” I had the strangest sensation — because it felt like it was written by bloggers. After all, the plot centers around an life-ending impending disaster that the media would prefer to downplay or ignore. (Or worse, turn into clickbait.)
And it seems like some media outlets are taking it personally, because many of the reviews are downright sniffy. (I almost didn’t watch it, because I saw so many negative reviews.)
The movie is about a new comet discovered by two scientists (Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence) that’s headed directly to earth, and their attempts to get taken seriously.
(It reminded me of “Dr. Strangelove,” but also “Network,” the 1976 film about Howard Beale, a network anchorman who threatens to commit suicide on-air because he’s so infuriated by the overriding profit motive in network news.)
Because while “Don’t Look Up” is really about climate change, it’s also about the public response to the pandemic. And it’s about Trump. (Meryl Streep plays a female version.) But mostly, it’s a laser-focused critique of the media and its inability to wrestle with existential, world-threatening issues — like climate change. (There’s an all-too-realistic segment in there about the New York Times — excuse me, New York “Herald” — and their refusal to stand behind their own story. How do you “both sides” impending disaster?)
Lest this sound like homework, the movie is a comedy. Really. It’s very funny. And serious. (Director Adam McKay calls it a “disaster comedy.”) It’s a good way to spend New Year’s Eve. Oh, and be sure to watch it until the end of the credits.
My latest piece is currently “Most viewed” on the Guardian.
“The movie #DontLookUp is satire. But speaking as a climate scientist, it’s also the most accurate film about society’s terrifying non-response to climate breakdown I’ve seen.”https://t.co/zTHNPKxxEe
— Peter Kalmus (@ClimateHuman) December 29, 2021
Finally saw the @Netflix film “Don’t Look Up,” a fictional tale of a Nation distracted by pop-culture and divided on whether to heed dire warnings of scientists.
Everything I know about news-cycles, talk shows, social media, & politics tells me the film was instead a documentary pic.twitter.com/tvDuEUXWCW
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) December 29, 2021