When it first hit Netflix, I needed a good reason to watch Don’t Look Up. I was in a bad state of depression. I didn’t know what it was about and didn’t have the energy to read up on it. I also have had enough of Jonah Hill at this moment in my life. That was until my cousin texted me. We exchanged colorful exchanges about climate change deniers, anti-maskers, and anti-vaxxers and compared depression symptoms. After a brief pause in the chat, she came back with, “I’m watching “Don’t Look Up” It’s stupid and stressful, and it’s kinda perfectly making fun of what’s going on right now.”
My reply, “I’ve needed a reason to watch it!”
Right then and there, I got cozied up in bed with the Hubs. We stayed up later than we wanted to but, Don’t Look Up kept us captivated the entire time. We laughed, we definitely stressed, and I honestly can’t promise I won’t cuss Jonah Hill the fuck out if I ever encountered him in person. My husband also desires to punch him in the face because of this role.
I have an addiction to E.L.E (Extinction Level Event) films like Don’t Look Up. For example, I fell into a bout of depression each time the movie Greenland was postponed in 2020. But, when it finally did release for a whopping twenty bucks to view for 48 hours (it could’ve cost 100, and I would have still would have taken the offer), it was well worth the wait! Sure, I had to resort to hyperventilating into a paper bag – not because of how smoking hot Gerard Butler is in the film but because the movie is a hot mess. It was due to the anxiety-inducing situations the Garrity family endures. The comet fragment scenes were so captivating right up until the very end. It turns out I loved Greenland so much that it was purchased two more times for $20 each and 48 hours only. At one point, December 2020, to be exact, we watched the film a total of three to six times each during that 48-hour rental period. So, yea, I have a bit of an addiction to these kinds of films.
And I still watch Greenland with the same enthusiasm and awe over a year later.
But Greenland, Armageddon, Deep Impact still didn’t give me enough delivery on the incomprehensible damage every movie promised if the comet were actually to hit the planet. Until Don’t Look Up, only Melancholia and 2012 delivered a tease of what I wanted. I don’t understand why it has been so difficult to show the impact and the disintegration of humanity. I wanted to see the scars we inflicted on our home erased. I wanted a glimpse of life after us. Because even though life as we know it will cease to exist, planet Earth isn’t going anywhere. That’s comforting to me.
Ok, so if you don’t know what Don’t Look Up is about, I’ll avoid spoilers as much as I can. So, here’s Netflix’s synopsis…
“Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), an astronomy grad student, and her professor Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) make an astounding discovery of a comet orbiting within the solar system. The problem – is that it’s on a direct collision course with Earth. The other problem? No one really seems to care. Turns out warning mankind about a planet-killer the size of Mount Everest is an inconvenient fact to navigate. With the help of Dr. Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan), Kate and Randall embark on a media tour that takes them from the office of an indifferent President Orlean (Meryl Streep) and her sycophantic son and Chief of Staff, Jason (Jonah Hill), to the airwaves of The Daily Rip, an upbeat morning show hosted by Brie (Cate Blanchett) and Jack (Tyler Perry). With only six months until the comet makes impact, managing the 24-hour news cycle and gaining the attention of the social media obsessed public before it’s too late proves shockingly comical – what will it take to get the world to just look up?” – Netflix.
This storyline is missing the significance of Peter Isherwell’s character, played by Mark Rylance. Aside from the similarities of his character Halliday in Ready Player One, Rylance perfectly portrays, in human form, the biggest threat to humankind. He is the one percent, the one who manipulates the machine that keeps humanity from progressing by blinding society with a facade of technological intelligence, compassion, and what all American’s love, the means to make our lives easier. He is controlling, dependent on technology, and despite his autistic characteristics passive and loveable appearance, he’s a fucking monster! Please pay attention to what he says, his mannerisms, and his hypocrisy. It’s an excellent performance.
I believe what makes Don’t Look Up one of the best end-of-the-world films is because of the excellent casting, historical references to real-life astronomers, fictional historical characters, previous sci-fi films, actual astrophysics, and the portrayal of how absurd american politics, social media, fear of death, or worse for the american consumerist, losing their way of life is. The film pokes fun at both political parties. Still, it’s the characters played by Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, and Mark Rylance that give such laughable references to the real-life scrotums that are accelerating humanity’s demise. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there have been memes and confessions aplenty about how people would instead take a zombie invasion or a “celestial body” to impact Earth instead of what we were facing. Don’t Look Up offers a hysterical and sobering rendition of how I’d rather go out because, after all, I am sick of living through historical events!
And not only is Don’t Look Up hilarious and relatable, but the end of the film also satisfied me! I have had to discipline myself only to watch the movie once a week to get my fix of its delectable conclusion. As I mentioned before, other E.L.E movies could never entirely give me the climax with its end of world destruction. I wanted to see the impact, the seismic reactions, more colossal tsunamis. I wanted to see cities leveled by 900-degree surface winds traveling faster than the speed of sound and entire continents on fire. Sure many of these films, like 2012 and These Final Hours, offers a bit of that, especially 2012. However, I still felt like I was promised the best orgasm of my existence only to have a pleasure-filled time but a “meh” finish. I know what you’re thinking; I’m a total nihilist. Sometimes, I am. But, there is something congenial about our existence ending in such a magnificent way that will mean absolutely nothing when it’s finished. Capitalism is what’s killing us—profit over people. The response to the pandemic and the possibility of World War III proves it. Leave it up to the divine feminine and the power of the universe to deliver humankind’s end. Then, grief won’t exist. Neither will the oppressors, war, poverty, hunger. Our dust returns to totality. The planet will be able to heal and simply exist.
In all, Don’t Look Up was a relief to watch. Right up until the end. I read that Leonardo DiCaprio improvised his final line, “The thing of it is we really… we really did have everything, didn’t we. I mean, if you think about it.” We really do have everything. Instead of sharing that energy with what keeps us alive, planet Earth, we choose violence, material objects, and comforts that aren’t even natural to our existence. So, I defend and will continue to feed my addiction and nihilistic attitude when it comes to movies like Don’t Look Up as I’ve realized that no matter what disaster is thrown our way, we as a species won’t come together to save each other, even if it literally kills us as all other end-of-the-world films suggest. Most of these films focus on human resilience and love and caca. There is nothing beautiful about dying from warfare or a virus that has affected every human on earth. However, the simple randomness of a comet with no objective hitting Earth and eradicating humankind’s disease is beguiling.
Watch Don’t Look Up on Netflix