Don’t Look Up! The Face/Farce of Modern America!

Naturally, there was plenty of hype online prior to the release date on Netflix in December of 2021.

Big stars, which always spells out a big budget, and a comedy wrapped around an end-of-the-world natural disaster.

The verdict? It is funny and you should watch it if you haven’t.

And you should stop reading right about now because I’m going to talk about specific parts of this movie that will ruin it for you.

OK?

Come on, if you haven’t watched it yet, don’t keep reading, and I forgive you… just go watch the movie and you can get back to this post later.

Still here? All ready?

Let’s go then!

Oh, and by the way, I’m writing this a few weeks later after watching the movie and my memory isn’t quite pristine on purpose because it will allow me only to remember the good parts that I really want to talk about.

And who are we kidding, it’s on Netflix, and if you have a Netflix subscription, there’s an extremely high probability that you’re addicted to binge-watching entire seasons in a single week and you’ve definitely felt the ensuing delirium when you feel like you’ve missed too many events in the world while you were encapsulated inside your very own cocoon on your favorite couch at home or in your bed consuming hours upon hours of infinite content.

These TV companies are very smart by the way. Why create a 90 to 120-minute feature movie, when you can elaborate on every single thread of narrative in the story and expand the realm of fiction to anything from 8 to 25 episodes of 40 minute half movies.

Cater people’s favorite addictions back to them and make money on the front end, the back end, both sides, top and bottom, and milk it dry!

Anyone else noticed how ridiculous it is that every TV network is churning out superhero shows?

Alright, I’m no saint. Full disclosure. I have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV subscriptions that feed to my screen an unlimited amount of content that I could never see in its entirety even if I wanted to. Gone were the days when we had to actually rent movies on VHS tapes on weekends and have a movie night with the entire family. I guess the concept will be entirely alien to my children’s generation when they become of age.

Yes, I’m a dinosaur!

I have a difficult time getting the difference between millennials, generation X, gen Z, and the lot of other BS names people arbitrarily call the entire generation of the world for no obvious reason but to sound cool or sophisticated. Such nonsense.

So, the movie actually starts with the awful discovery of an asteroid that’s headed for earth dead-on and that’s going to cause the absolute destruction of the entire planet in 6 months. BOOM!

Those brainiac scientists who made the discovery try to report the news to the higher-ups in government to make people aware of the tragedy.

And let’s just stop right there. Why in the hell would you want to do that? It actually serves no purpose for people to know the time of their own demise. Well, other than torturing them.

I don’t think a lot of people put a lot of thought into life and death, but those who do know that the moment of death is actually more merciful if you do not have prior cognizance of its exact date and time. I don’t think many people know that the death sentence for murderers has a component of severe punishment for their heinous crime that is solely based on keeping them locked up waiting for their own death, knowing full well that it is inevitable, unnegotiable, and that they are stuck behind closed bars waiting for that sentence to be carried out. They die every day from the knowledge and expectation as they watch the clock ticking. It intensifies to a big crescendo when they are finally informed of the final date and time and then led to the hands of the executioner to extinguish their life light.

Fear of certain death could lead people to panic and disarray which is something that no government in the world will ever do on purpose.

Terminally ill patients who have a glimmer of hope and whose treatments might take months and years before they are ever declared a lost cause have all the time in the world to go through all the stages of grief and acceptance; some never do accept it. I have secondhand experience with this with my own father’s stage 4 cancer diagnosis which was mercifully sudden and quick to put an end to a great man’s life. My father knew that was the end of his story and he had under his belt the years, wisdom, fortitude, and courage to accept that outcome.

Not everyone can be stoic about death. Actually, the exact opposite is the most probable outcome. People have to make peace with their final days in whatever way they think is appropriate.

And that is exactly how it happened in the movie. People were frantic about the whole end of life as we know it and then they made peace with it and decided to die well.

Interwoven through this entire canvas of storytelling is of course a depiction of the weird dynamics in American politics and the media machine.

In the movie, America gets a scandalous woman-president who appoints her son as her chief of staff and her lover as a judge in the Supreme Court of the United States. The president actually shelves the extinction-level disaster as an extremely low priority in comparison to her own personal agenda and the political fires she has to put out.

The young scientist who discovers the asteroid goes berserk and hysterical on national news and everyone laughs at her for making the huge mistake of not being so calm and subtle about her delivery of such grim news. The professor who is supervising her Ph.D., however, finds in himself a sudden composure and steadfastness he never knew he possessed within himself when he was put on the spot and had to take responsibility for making the public aware. He was very successful at that and managed to get his voice heard all over the world. Well, yeah and he got famous and became a TV personality in the midst of it all.

Then with all of that madness going finally into a functional plan to save the earth by blasting the asteroid with nukes. Well, that’s when the real comedy starts when the Madam President aborts the mission because her biggest political backer, a mega-rich tech personality, has a plan to mine the asteroid instead of destroying it to make profits in the trillions of dollars from rare minerals. Nothing could go wrong there, right?

Well… that is exactly the state of affairs of the world as it stands now with government and big business everywhere you step having a partnership or an arrangement—marriage even—in deciding the fates of the masses based on their own agendas and prioritizing their own gains, profits, power, and status at the expense of those who they are supposed to govern and to whom they peddle their merchandize of products and ideologies.

And if all goes to hell in a handbasket, well, there is always an escape plan, a plea bargain, an asylum status somewhere, a scapegoat, a new secret identity somewhere else in the world, a private island, an underground bunker compound, or… an escape spaceship!

Well… the movie is very clever and very funny and it raises plenty of good questions for all of us to ponder beyond the jokes.

 

***

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