Climate Denial Satire “Don’t Look Up” Now Top Film on Netflix Worldwide

Yves here. Congrats to David Sirota on his important role in a successful film.

By Jake Johnson. Originally published at Common Dreams

The new feature film<"Don't Look Up," a dark comedy satirizing the complacency and mendacity of elites in the face of an existential threat to human civilization, is now the most popular movie on Netflix worldwide, according todata compiled by FlixPatrol.

“Absolutely love to see a climate movie hitting this huge a global audience on the world’s largest platform,” journalist David Sirota, who co-created the story for the film, tweetedMonday. “An amazing success for the team that made the movie and for everyone who has been spreading the word.”

An allegory of the human-caused climate emergency and other civilizational dangers, “Don’t Look Up” follows two low-level astronomers as they attempt to alert political leaders and the rest of the world to a massive comet barreling toward Earth.

The film’s scientists, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio, soon discover that few can be bothered to care, let alone act, in the face of impending annihilation.

“This is the worst news in the history of humanity, and they just blew us off,” Dr. Randall Mindy, DiCaprio’s character, says following a meeting at the White House.

As the movie’s political leaders dither, Peter Isherwell—a mega-rich Silicon Valley tech guru played by Mark Rylance—discovers that the apocalyptic comet contains more than $30 trillion worth of precious metals needed to manufacture electronic goods. Buoyed by that revelation, the federal government proceeds to partner with Isherwell on a plan to break the comet into pieces and mine its contents.

“This might all sound far-fetched—the stuff of comedy whimsy—were it not for the fact that Isherwell is clearly a sendup of real-world tech billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos who are very much convinced that saving the human species from extinction might be extraordinarily lucrative,” Tyler Austin Harper, assistant professor of environmental studies at Bates College, wrote in his reviewof the film for Slate.

Watch the trailer:

Adam McKay, the film’s director, toldSpace.comin a recent interviewthat the plot of “Don’t Look Up” is “a Clark Kent-level disguise for the climate crisis.”

“We’re not trying that hard with disguising it,” he said. “You hear the news not mention [the climate emergency] and then they go right to a commercial for a gas-driven car or an oil company. It’s conflict of interest, it’s careerism. It’s a lot of people who are financially insecure. And it takes a lot of guts to raise your hand at that newspaper meeting and go, ‘Why don’t we have a giant headline that says, ‘Oh, my God, we’re all going to die!'”

But as The Intercept‘s Jon Schwarz wrotein his review of the movie, “The good news, if there is any, is that when the lights come up at the end, you’ll realize that in reality we’re only half an hour into this story.”

“We can still save ourselves if we want to,” he added. “And part of that will have to be much more human creativity like this, in service of understanding the horrifying destination toward which we’re heading.”

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  1. vlade

    I like a good send up, but I have noticed that people start doing really good send-up when everything else fails, and no-one’s willing to do anything. So the success of the movie tells me we’re f-ed.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    I haven’t watched it yet – it seems way too long for what should be a short sharp satire (138 minutes compared to Dr. Strangeloves 95 minutes), but I can’t help noticing that it follows the pattern of media which is hated on by the mainstream critics but apparently works on audiences (reminds me a little of the way the critics turned on Dave Chappelle while his popularity soared). On Rottentomatoes, its on 55% of critics, but 77% of audience approval. For a satire, that probably means that its hit some of its targets in the media a little too painfully.

    1. CanCyn

      Media feelings must definitely be hurt! Loved the movie. Am not surprised at all by the critics ratings – only proves the satire to be true.
      Even at the long running time it is I well worth watching. Let’s face it, there is a lot of stuff to poke fun at and I for one am glad they poked so many bears. At more than one point it crossed a line and became too true to laugh at.
      DiCaprio is great and I am not usually a big fan. LDefinitely, highly recommend.

      1. jsn

        The media types all see a mirror the Blanchett character: super smart, super aware but can do anything but look after their careers and screw the people who are trying to do the right thing.

        They really don’t like it.

        1. Ben S

          Given the movie title, I have a hunch the overlords are the target, and climate change and Covid just provide the narrative.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I watched it tonight – I was surprised at just how it didn’t pull its punches. Well done to everyone involved.

        On twitter, there is a bunch of journalists complaining about how inaccurate it is. Apparently, no female journalist would ever sleep with her source (never mind that the person they are referring to is not a journalist and she is not sleeping with a source). This is their biggest complaint.

        I gotta admit I didn’t realise Cate Blanchett was in it until I saw the credits. That joke a few years ago about her playing the pitfall in ‘No Country for Old Men’ is pretty accurate. She really is an amazing actress. Actually, the whole cast was excellent. Even Ariane Grande was really funny, she’s a good sport to have sent herself up like that.

        1. Star116

          Scientifically, the film did their homework and left in an obscure but correct reference to UC Berkeley professor Jerrold Marsden’s mathematical calculation.

      1. Etrigan

        I mean the same thing happened with Welles and Citizen Kane, and he successfully bankshot off it to success

        1. Howard Cowan

          Etrigan: It sounds as if you meant to say Welles was successful after Citizen Kane. If so, you need
          to read the history. He was successful in being blacklisted by most studios in Hollywood, unfortunately, and completed few projects after CK. The bad guys mostly won.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Dr. Strangelove is arguably a workplace satire and is more focused on the insanity of an individual meeting than how we arrived at the start of the movie. Other than the fluoride plot, the Soviet ambassador might see the “big board” and the doomsday machine was meant to be a cost cutting surprise. Yes, it’s a parody of the Reagan movie, but I think the final product was borne out of studio meetings.

      From what I’ve seen of this movie, “The Mouse that Roared” is likely a better Sellers vehicle comparison.

    1. Vodkatom

      Wise move. If the disaster doesn’t hit then it’s not satire but alarmism. Who wants to risk looking foolish?

      It’s amazing how easy it is to adopt this attitude. I know we’re f-ed. But I still worry more about “retirement” than the consequence of my current, western lifestyle. Hundreds of daily *choices* that go against our long term interests. I just wont buy any coastal property.

      1. Carolinian

        Prob is that a solution to AGW may be almost as hard as stopping a comet. So there’s a bit of denial on the other side as well. Social satire is always welcome (I haven’t seen the movie) but celebrities telling us what we already know doesn’t really change anything. Here’s hoping it’s entertaining satire.

    2. The Historian

      Loved your comment! Totally fitting!

      I’ve watched the movie three times now – each time I see something new I missed. I know the movie was supposed to be an allegory of how we are dealing with climate change but it could have been written about Covid too! All through the movie I kept wondering: Who is the person that was seducing Fauci…..

      1. deplorado

        No one is seducing Fauci. HE is the seducer. Check RFK Jr.’s book. Fauci gives away more money than Bill Gates. No one tops that.

        1. Nikkikat

          Thanks deplorado, agreed Fauci IS a the seducer. RFK book is excellent. I would say that Gates has his “contributions”as well.

    3. Wukchumni

      I’m with the Rev, although it looks delicious in that I like my humor served blackened, and really enjoyed The Big Short so I feel confident this will suffice.

    4. Darius

      When the scientists were trying to tell the president about the imminent peril, I imagined Biden pushing back saying he wouldn’t want to alarm the business community.

  3. kemerd

    The climate crisis might be the trigger for this film but what it makes an instant classic is the fact it depicts so clearly the absurd intellectual environment of the US media and the naked capitalism run by psychopaths which is the so called US democracy

    1. philnc

      Really important point, kemerd. Confining this to Climate does the satire a diservice: it’s much broader. My family and I immediately saw a connection to the Pandemic, and then on reflection saw how it could also apply to [plug in other existential crises like global thermonuclear war — that the US and its allies are now courting _on two fronts simultaneously_, here]. Sharper and more serious than _Idiocracy_ (there is no happy ending), it lays bare our “American Roulette” (all six chambers loaded) culture, while at the same time not shying away from identifying the leading role played by our socio-psychopathic elites (who include media figures and politicians). The mid-credits coda at the end was inspired, if not inspiring. The bad reviews from complicit notables (or wannabe notables) only underscore these points.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Yes, that’s accurate. I’ve seen interviews where the director, mackay, says they had gone in a particular direction with the film, then, said they felt they had to make changes because of the absurdity of the pandemic.

        He flat out said they had to make changes because they realized the film wasn’t absurd enough.

        1. Susan the other

          Satire is dead. That was one of the first critical comments I heard when Trump got elected. Not only was Trump himself too absurd to satirize, the entire country was.

          1. 1 Kings

            Still, you could have done a very nice satire dance with the things Trump and the so called ‘Liberal ‘ Dems agreed with. Like the absurd military budget: Privitization; Tax Cuts for themselves(the rich); 0% Interest rates to goose Mr Market and Real Estate etc. You know, the classics..

            A Trump Nancy high school slow dance to ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, with the Kentucky Turtle nerding out in the shadows would so rock.

      2. Kouros

        Thank you, I was going to make a similar point, that the movie goes beyond climate change. In fact, one can see perfect parallels with the standoff in Ukraine with Russia…

    2. Mikel

      The ending shows why a climate crisis may not be the ultimate threat to humanity. The asteroid isn’t a nemeis in this movie like it was during “Deep Impact” or other deadly asteroid movie.

  4. ScoFri

    It is a wonderful film and equally eviscerates both the left and right (and the corporate news and internet) when it comes to the lack of action stopping the climate crisis. But it is about human frailty as well and how we fall trap to our own egos and desires.

    The film is about continuing to try to stop climate change, not because we will win, but because it is the right thing to do.

    This film is not about whether we should look up or down, but rather, at ourselves.

    1. skippy

      Just a heads up … the Left takes class structure to task and critiques capitalism where as social identity issues are more a matter of social libertarianism, which never addresses the aforementioned or has no issues with it e.g. you can be woke and pro free market.

      1. BeliTsari

        Those racing Q7 & X5s to infect each other at the brewpub; describing Mark Rylance as Ray Kurzweil on MDMA and tittering over Bronteroc Brunch scene aren’t EXACTLY “left,” to anybody not a part of the the problem? Since US media is of, by, about and solely from the perspective of Murika’s 9.9% (now the 2%?) The ancient dichotomy of Learjet Librul & Mamma’s Badass L’il Buckaroo MAGA hat deplorable seems irrelevant to we the peons, current working, sick WITH Omicron (waiting for the “mild” to cause strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure or exploding aortas, from our undiagnosed chronic PASC & mRNA damage?)

    1. ScoFri

      Why? They were making fun of his vulnerabilities and the who RBG thing. I thought that was a great touch.

  5. Barry Winograd

    At the end, don’t turn it off right away. Wait for the final bit in the credits tying the film together. It is a brilliant satire, even if the film misses at times with overstatements and stereotypes. But isn’t that how satire often hits home and moves people?

    1. Questa Nota

      That long list of credits shows how many people are involved in making movies, representing in a way all the people who make life go on anonymously. Think of the latter as the Non-Professional Non-Managerial Class.

    2. JEHR

      Yes, indeed. The very best satirists make their points way, way over the top. I am thinking, of course, of Jonathan Swift; not only was he suggesting getting rid of hunger by eating babies but in Gulliver’s Travels if you dissect each country and its citizens, NONE of them is a place one would like to live in. They are all, in other words, inadequately human creations. Great, great satire to be read again and again.

    3. Joe Well

      Thank you, I watched til the very very end and was rewarded.

      What’s up y’all, last man on earth.

      Was he really the president’s son? Why was he calling her mom?

  6. Alex V

    Central metaphor of comet = climate change is a failure and unserious. Comet means instant Armageddon, climate change is gradual decline, meaning mitigation measures and the psychology of getting people do to something are completely different. Stopping comet requires extraordinary efforts by a very small group where everyone dies if there is failure, but the masses can’t contribute anything more than moral support. Climate change requires everyone to change and contribute (even if they are not responsible for the crisis – not fair, but reality), while failure will mean slow reduction in quality of life for everyone, with death for some of the most vulnerable. McKay and Sirota fundamentally misunderstand the dynamics of the problem they think they are highlighting, and will create even more apathy and hopelessness by exaggerating the wrong things (time scale, consequences).

    1. Darius

      I found it pretty spot on with the COVID crisis. Down to the clueless and venal reaction of President Hillary Donald Joe, and the role of the mega billionaire.

    1. BeliTsari

      Sorta like CommonDreams’ opining on hypocrisy, irony or woke-signalling sardonic satire (while they simply removed ANY comment supporting Planet of the Humans’ basic premise!) Or ANY linking to contradictory information questioning Energy In Depth’s Biden transition malarkey media memes? Has CommonDreams noticed that each and every concern we’d mentioned, about “Biden’s” AGW and lethal pollution killing millions of disenfranchised precariate (former) Democratic voters, has turned out to be self-evident, glaringly obvious truth?

    2. ArvidMartensen

      Well, the film critic in the Guardian may have a point. What is the purpose of this movie? To use satire to give the climate equivocators a refreshingly new POV?
      Seems it may just be another shot in the culture wars, and all of us who hate trite media, dumb climate deniers and mindless, knuckle-dragging proles can watch it for a dose of “feel superior”.
      A couple of decades ago I read with hope that the college educated would have the numbers to make a difference to the politics round about now.
      And they have! We have Russiagate! We have “deplorables”! We have Trump-bashing non stop every day! In fact, the new politics looks just like the old politics. And now we have a movie with all the right villains and idiots. Perfect.

  7. skippy

    I actually guffawed more than I have in a long long time … having known of or observed the very same displays taken to task in the move.

    And oh that ending …. right up there with Brazil ….

  8. Mikel

    One reviewer complained about the running gag Jennifer Lawrence’s character had about the Pentagon advisor and her paying him for snacks in the White House. They said it grew stale. It worked for me when I thought of how it expressed the pettiness of the PMC.

  9. Noone from Nowheresville

    Jonah Hill’s character had the bestest of lines.

    Lawrence’s snack issue and the inability to let it go so so true.

    Memes. All of the lovely lovely memes and truths if one stops to think about them. So potentially some nice mind worms as opposed to earwigs. Doubtful that it will be the Hey You level.

    Overall a nice annual Christmas DiCapro movie. Plus an Ariana Grande song. Not nearly as cutting and over-the-top as Mars Attack! but much more entertaining and pop culture friendly than Redford’s Lions for Lambs.

    I kept thinking Covid and PlutoniumKun’s 2020 stress test commentary rather than climate.

    I agree: Let’s Go Bronteroc!

    ETA: I kept thinking Musk mashed up with Osteen.

  10. Henry Moon Pie

    David Sirota got a lot of stuff off his chest with this one. I’m especially wondering if Meryl Streep will ever be invited to a Clinton event again. I thought she was a Hillary fan. Maybe she’s come to her senses.

    This is the third fairly recent film that portrays our destruction after a failed techno Hail Mary. Clooney made one (“The Midnight Sky”). Dafoe was in an especially bleak one (“4:44: Last Day on Earth”). Now Sirota’s. I hope they’re as successful in inciting skepticism about the shoot-sulfur-in-the-sky solutions like “China Syndrome” helped sink the nuke industry.

    1. The Historian

      I don’t think Hillary would ever see herself in this movie because I think she has bought way too far into her own PR.
      I saw Meryl Streep’s character as a compilation of Hillary and Trump and I don’t think anyone else but Meryl Streep could have pulled that off. Amazing as it seems, her character in this movie showed how much Hillary and Trump are exactly like each other – they may come from different political places, but both have exactly the same soul.

      1. newcatty

        Oh! OK, not a Streep fan. Another perspective, when she is in a film all I can see is Streep. Not impressed with Leo, thought he was miscasted . The characters were right on. Thought other actors fine. The film had much to say about the state of the world from US pov. Enjoyed it, but would be better served with other actors.

  11. John Mc

    As a former spartan grad student, I enjoyed this on several levels. My two favorite parts were when the military guy stole 20 dollars from each of the scientists, then disappeared as well as the look on the billionaire’s face when his plan to blow up the comet didn’t work. Gotta use the restroom.- be right back.

    Well done Adam McKay – not only did you smuggle in a satire about climate change, but you took swipes at the media, the military, industry, the corporatocracy, the propaganda of looking up or down, and the family members of the characters as constituencies.

    1. Rolf

      It doesn’t spare the Ivy League either. IIRC Meryl Streep’s Trumpian President character’s ‘Chief of Staff’ (her doltish Kushner-like son), seems more concerned that the astronomer and his PhD student hail from (gasp!) a state school (MSU).

    2. Alex Cox

      McKay is also the director of Vice (Dick Cheney biopic) and Succession. A couple of years back he announced a series based on Epstein, but that seems to have gone away.

  12. Rod

    It’s Climate Chaos:
    72 in the Piedmont yesterday–forecast for today is 74 with the 70s into the weekend
    and still lingering in Early Draught.

    Both my Winter Jasmine ( Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is one of the earliest flowering plants to bloom, often in January.) and my Winter Honeysuckle (Winter flowering Honeysuckle, Latin name Lonicera fragrantissim, is not commonly grown) are blooming big.

    First time ever in 34 years…

    We surely need something that Rattles our Climate Change cages vigorously and continually…

    1. Wukchumni

      The rest of Mother Nature’s deep rooted clients are preparing for the onset of climate change, but we human beans are tied to a calendar.

      The whole feel is like that of a slow moving tsunami, oh look at all the pretty shells!

    2. JEHR

      Well, Canadian temperatures are breaking records all across BC, AB, SK and MB. Even Vancouver is having terribly cold temperatures far too early in the winter.

    3. wilroncanada

      Rod @9:13 am
      Some of the local media have been doing year-end reviews (the west coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island).
      We started 2021 in a polar vortex, setting record cold temperatures for January here in Canada’s banana belt–some people do actually grow bananas under shelter. The summer brought prolonged drought–3 months with zero rainfall where we live. Part of that was the heat dome in July which set records for the highest temperatures ever recorded in Canada, and of course, included major forest fires. The fires were killed off by rains starting in mid-September, again setting records for September, October, and November, including in November the “atmospheric rivers” which caused complete isolation of the west coast from the rest of Canada for several weeks. And now, finally, the end, record cold temperatures for December on Vancouver Island and the mainland.
      Maybe some ‘canary in the coal mine’ warning?

      1. Tony Wright

        The canaries have been singing themselves hoarse for decades, but most people don’t listen – especially those with the greatest power to do anything effective to slow climate change, as they are too busy making money from the status quo (and way more than twelve gold bars at that…..).

  13. valdo

    Most popular flick huh? After Squid Game (and now this one) it’s becoming clear that cinematic reflections on current societal issues reverberate alot with audiences. Keep them coming

  14. Bobby Gladd

    “Idiocracy” meets “Silicon Valley HBO.” Wild, silly movie, worth your time. Loved “The Daily RIP” segment commencing at 0.17.00.

  15. orlbucfan

    I am not a video person so I don’t have Netflix. I am a David Sirota fan. I also applaud both DiCaprio and Lawrence being involved in this film. They are major A-list in Corporate Profit Capitalist Filmdom. They are also young as well as being immensely rich and successful. The only complaint I’ve read is the length slows it down. Worthy subject for satire. Kudos to all involved.

  16. Louis Fyne

    apologies for being a crank…..the majority of people have known about, and acknowledged, climate change for literally decades.

    The problem isn’t acknowledging the problem….the problem is changing behavior and cutting down the recourse footprint.

    Look at the packed airports…..all those people are not “coal rollers.” Look at all the private jet traffic. People are replacing dirty SUVs with marginally less dirty Teslas. Look at all the trans-continental traffic delivering tube socks and widgets to the US from 5,000+ miles away.

    On a scale of 0 – 100 for actual action, US society is at, maybe 10?

      1. vlade

        Example of when it actually did?

        Johnson in the UK, and Trump in the US were feeding satirists so much material they literally couldn’t keep up…

      2. Basil Pesto

        *looks outside window*

        boy I sure am glad all those centuries of trenchant satire, social comment and message art have stood us in such good stead ready to face the challenges of the present day!!

        1. chuck roast

          My sister tells me that the Catholic church has officially defenestrated purgatory. I don’t know about that having been absent from the parochial mumbo-jumbo for a number of years. So, now I guess, we will all be going directly to heaven or directly to hell. Maybe satire is simply a device that allows us all to laugh like hell.

          1. Synoia

            The Catholic Church defenestrated purgatory? My wife’s recently built new church has a serious sound quality issue which makes sitting in a service a stretch of purgatory.

            Purgatory on the drip. I offered my services to fix their sound problem, after which those who have not fixed the problem became very aggressive.

            I wonder if the millions spent on the brand new poor acoustic church could have been used in another manner /s.

            I refer to the Albert Hall in London, famous for its echo, and the topic of Hubris.

            1. notbored

              which makes sitting in a service a stretch of purgatory

              Iirc, sitting was pure luxury compared to kneeling, even on padded benches, for what seemed to be an eternity.

              It took many years to escape the RCC (they taught me from my earliest years) but reading the Bible did it.

              1. Steven A

                My generation’s purgatory was sitting through the pre-Vatican II Latin Masses. The ones with the 30+ minute sermons.

          2. Basil Pesto

            Maybe satire is simply a device that allows us all to laugh like hell.

            I can probably go along with that. For example I’m reading West’s ‘A Cool Million’ now. It’s pretty funny. Hasn’t brought us any closer to heaven, though.

    1. BeliTsari

      Thank you! I’m awaiting some Mike Judge movie, in which my neighbors, switching from Porsche Macans to GeelyVolvo EV SUVs, to skedaddle to Poconos “vacation cottages,” as uppity essentials simply take their city back, from OathKeeper cops & III% militia, unleashed by our new Governor and mayor (as their kids’ convalescent plasma stops working on Sigma or Tau). Lots of the white-flight suburban climate-deniars bought 4WD SUVs and auto-loading rifles, after reading Lucifer’s Hammer cannibalism subplot. Count GoreTex©, Primaloft® PolarTec & fracked ethane microfiber clad yuppies slurping POM with their Wonderful Pistachios at the packed, maskless mall multiplex?

    2. BeliTsari

      We’re already LIVING a sequel of 2020’s silly ass disaster, sci-fi, Idiocracy Meets I Am Legend They Live of the Dead IV, as Federal, State & NYC vie to infect, debilitate, indenture, evict or incarcerate any survivors (or unleash infectious III% cops, militia, maskless miscreants & infected kids on those of you, yet to try out omicron (peeks at pulse-oximiter before sweating-up the bed). Parody isn’t a lost art; it’s simply mutated into reality infomercial Idiocracy.

  17. christy

    “Preaching to the choir” doesn’t do this one justice; masturbatory imagery would be more appropriate. This movie will have as much influence on policy — and flatter the same people with their supposed percipience — as ‘Dr. Strangelove’ had on nuclear proliferation. To wit, zero on policy and a whole lot of ain’t we just grand, insightful and tragic.

    This convergence of middle-brow Hollywood with progressive twitter may be less compelling, outside the bubble, than its promoters seem to think.

    1. Dan

      That does not make the message wrong. We must govern against the “greedy at all cost”. Unless I am reading your writings incorrectly. Lots of big words.

  18. Lil’D

    Pressure in the (IMO) “correct” direction is at least unlikely to be harmful. we either keep trying and lose or give up and lose. And just maybe, progress is made.

  19. Eclair

    My spouse and I watched this on Sunday. We’re in Seattle with family: it was snowing and blowing, set to break records for Christmas cold, after breaking records this summer for uncharacteristic PNW heat. As well as the now ‘new-normal’ smoke season, where Seattleites hunker down inside to avoid breathing air filled with smoke from California (and Oregon and BC) burning. And, we spent three days in Denver, beginning of December, with temps in mid-70’s, foothills and front range devoid of snow.

    Loved the film, especially the weirdo tech guy: people warned on meeting him, ‘no direct eye-contact, no sudden moves, don’t contradict him.’ Mark Rylance’s performance is delicious! And, the two TV morning show hosts, chortling at each other and going on about the singing star’s breakup with her fiancé (staged for publicity purposes?), while the earth hurtles toward destruction. No wonder the MSM reviews are scathing!

    I thought about a scifi trilogy I had read, five or six years ago, by Ben Winter, “The Last Policeman.” An asteroid is due to crash into earth in 6 months. Set it, of all places, Concord, New Hampshire, the three novels chronicle the societal breakdown that occurs as people realize the earth is doomed, with a probability of 99.99%. It’s a dark tale, but compulsively readable. Somewhere I read recently, the advice that we should not be looking to economists to predict the future, but to novelists and other weavers of alternative realities.

    What will save us, or give us solace in the final moments before oblivion, is the knowledge that there are other good people; friends, family, even total strangers.

  20. Susan the other

    This movie is too long for me to endure. I can’t sit still for more than a few minutes. But it certainly looks good. It also looks like something I could play on my phone at my convenience. The teaser is satisfying because we have no place to turn except to satire when the joke is on all of us. It almost looks like social rehabilitation. We have been traumatized mercilessly by reality lately. It’s time to start making fun of ourselves. Is it more socially acceptable or effective to discuss a modest cleanse rather than an all out purge? Purges can be so messy. Or is a purge actually hilarious, and the humor inevitable – you just gotta laugh that you ever behaved like that. I’d just submit that the reason this movie is so satisfying is because we have all already acknowledged how idiotic we are. (well, except for the politicians) – So that would be the best part.

  21. juanholio

    Forget about the climate change angle. It’s a brutally honest and biting satire of The American People™ and what passes for American “culture” in 2021.

    If you haven’t paid attention to what Americans are like these days, you might think it’s a campy disaster flick, instead of an epic takedown. I think it is up there with Idiocracy with regards to how accurately it portrays the US.

  22. KLG

    I thought it was great! And very accurate in its take on our political culture.

    Spreading the word, but paid-up members of the PMC might not get it. All of the actors were superb. Mark Rylance was perfect. And yes, Meryl Streep might find her welcome back into the loving arms of Clinton Obama Pelosi Schumer & Biden LLC a bit frosty. Despite the tramp stamp, if I saw correctly (didn’t rewind).

    And finally, the Bronteroc rules!

  23. David in Santa Cruz


    I consumed Don’t Look Up! Christmas evening. My spouse and I found it to be a terrible disappointment: a terrific concept that pulled all its punches in order to make DiCaprio’s Dr. Mindy less loathsome. Rather than focusing on Jennifer Lawrence’s working-class “up-by-her-bootstraps” Kate Dibiasky the central Greek Chorus — exploited by her skeevy professor and dismissed as a “deplorable” by the “experts” in government and the media — the film simply wallows in the same elite memes that brought down the HR Clinton and McAuliffe campaigns.

    The central problem of Climate Change is that is not a comet or asteroid on a collision course with the planet. Rather, the population explosion has made us all “frogs in a pot” unable to develop any sense of urgency beyond luxury car purchases that signal virtue to the masses.

    Prius Cinema.

    1. juno mas

      I would say it’s the consumption explosion, not necessarily the population. It’s the developed industrial world that is overheating the planet, not the Bantu cooking on cow dung.

      Of course the Comet metaphor isn’t perfect, but it is a viable stand-in for impending doom. (If the Thwaite’s glacier slides into the ocean it will only be months before coastal ports can no longer transport consumer goods efficiently.) You’ll think your lifestyle has been hit by a comet!

      1. David in Santa Cruz

        Professor Emeritus Veerabhadran “Ram” Ramanathan of the UC Scripps Institute, one of the world’s preeminent climatologists, might disagree. He illustrates his lectures with a slide of the smoke plume extending from the Ganges valley hundreds of miles over the Bay of Bengal — caused by 300 million impoverished women squatting on dirt floors cooking over cow dung fires.

        Aside from the question of would we even be having this conversation if we shared their standard of living, Eight billion human beings all eating, drinking, procreating, excreting, and decomposing at one time has created an unprecedented burden on the carrying capacity of the planet. Do we solve that problem through shortening our life expectancies by destroying industrial civilization? What sane person would sign-up to die in the dust — if given the choice?

        We are frogs in a pot…

          1. skippy

            Yes the poor are forced to utilize simple carbon energy sources whilst the elite consume manifold in the symbolism of wealth be it property, real estate, mega sea craft, or any other contrivance …

        1. juno mas

          Well, compare that smoke plume of 300 million women in India with the 300+ million auto driving, airplane flying, natural gas (methane) cooking, McMansion heating, petroleum based agriculture in the U.S. The good Professor has likely confused the quantity of obvious particulate pollution without recognizing the real source of AGW.

          It is the developed world that has the agency to minimize climate change. The developed industrial world is maybe 20% of the world population.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The only way any developed world countries can regain any agency to address their part of carbon skyflooding is if they first regain their economic sovereignty over all political-economic activity within their borders. Until one or more of them withdraw from the Free Trade System, they will be at the mercy of their carbon-dumping trading enemies.

            America especially is at the mercy of its carbon-skydumping trading enemies, most of all China. Without cancelling all its Free Trade contacts with the outer world, America will have no agency to control carbon skydumping from within its own borders, because any attempt here to get more efficient will be undercut by underpriced carbon dumping aggression production from China mainly and from elsewhere somewhat.

            We could produce a thing with less carbon skydumping than China produces that thing with. But we can’t, because cynical importers will import the higher-carbon-skydumping thing from China at a lower price and put the lower-carbon-skydumping higher-priced thing from within America itself out of business. Only rigid militant belligerent protectionism can change that.

            Don’t believe me? Watch — and learn.

            ( Is there an exception to this? Well, yes – – somewhat. The high population cities of that part of the US which has a lot of high population cities relatively close together could upgrade the efficiency of train travel between all those cities and all the towns between and around them.
            But this would first require winning a political culture war against the opponents of train travel and their encrushment and banishment from public life and public visibility. Only when their obstructionist opposition has been liquidated can we then upgrade the efficiency of our travel systems and possibly other systems too . . . in the high population areas).

            1. David in Santa Cruz

              Exactly, and well said!

              For example, China is today the largest emitter by air miles flown per the International Civil Aviation Organization, with India in third place. Who’s the “wealthy” carbon-emitter now? Yes, Our Billionaire Overlords are individually super-emitters, but we could guillotine the lot of them and hardly put a dent in Climate Change.

              My point is that McKay’s film is poor climate propaganda, mainly because he pulls his punches about the fact that there are no Good Guys. Frogs in a pot…

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Speculating — without having seen the movie — is the suggested comparison between Climate Change and an Asteroid Collision perhaps deliberately inapt as a part of the satire? I grow despondent that even the imminent demise of an approaching asteroid would elicit a more than tepid, penny-wise, and ineffectual response.

  24. Reaville

    Dr. Strangelove, now an acknowledged classic, was hated on my establishment commentariat at its release. Don’t Look Up pushes the same buttons: a misaligned society designed for self-destruction.

    The recall of the mission to redirect the comet for the benefit of the very few neatly summarizes the dangers of economic inequity better than any other demonstration. Marx was right about capitalists.

    So far, no one has commented on the satire of our far right countrymen who shout in the movie Don’t Look Up with the same energy as they shouted Lock Her Up or Stop the Steal or in the UK, Get Brexit Done. The moment when the Don’t Look Up masses actually look up and say “They lied to us” is probably wishful thinking. The right knows that they are being lied to, but it’s ok because they are “our guys”.

    I found the movie bitterly funny, but mostly poignant. The last line: “We had it all” lets us know what we are losing. Our family is leaving California after decades of the good life because the environment of smoke and drought is not going to get better. The recent snow and media relief about the drought is over is merely yet another opportunity to sell up. Puget Sound at least has water and much less smoke, so that will be it. We had it all.

    1. notbored

      I thought I was a rainy day people until I lived in the Puget Sound (Whidbey Island) region for 4 years. Eventually, I got tired of the endless mud I tracked in.

      Give me Tucson instead – sublime winters and even the early mornings were pleasant in the brutal, but dry (except for the Monsoon) summers.

      1. notbored

        That said, my baby brother could not stand the endless brown in Tucson and eventually moved to Florida – preferring the humidity to the lovely color brown.

        1. juanholio

          AZ is a great place to live, as long as you have no interest in leaving your home, other than to go to the supermarket.

    2. Wukchumni

      Marinfidel! (or whatever city in Cali you’re from)

      Stay and make hay here, i’m opening up a smoke tasting bar (‘this carbon-et sauvignon has a high particulate percentage with overtones of rich oak…’) which will prove to be a tourist attraction.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>which will prove to be a tourist attraction.

        What? Like tasting the difference between the quickly headache inducing, bitter fragrance of a building’s fire smoke, or the cleaner, sweeter fragrance of a still cough creating forest fire, or the still different smoke of a grass fire? Who woulda thought that fire and smoke come in so many different flavors?

        I would suggest getting those bottles of scented oxygen that some places have for your patrons. They will probably need it!

    3. thewokendead

      “The right knows that they are being lied to, but it’s ok because they are “our guys”.”

      Well…problem is: the so-called “left” doesn’t have (or want to have) a clue that they’re also repeatedly being lied to by their own silo’ed social media feeds and snews outlets. Turns out: “our guys” are your “guys” as well – just with a nominally different corporate product to flack.

  25. Socal Rhino

    I won’t comment on the movie since I haven’t seen it and don’t subscribe to Netflix. Judging by the comments and reviews and in the spirit of the season: Great job, now follow with the one about the citizenry seizing the wheel from the hands of the elites and the one where the developed world reduces their lifestyles to approach the global mean. More Norma Rae less Dr Strangelove.

  26. MonkeyBusiness

    If this hadn’t been a satire/comedy, I would expect the joint Russian/Chinese mission to be at least successful in breaking up the comet into pieces.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      THIS is where I wanted to go with this story! Or alternatively, THIS is the film that needs to get made!


      Meteor shower incoming, and it is known that impacts will be all over the northern hemisphere. Compare and contrast the responses in the west (a.k.a. capitalism countries) versus China using COVID response as a template.


      1. ScottD

        The mission to blow up the comet is HCQ/ivermectin. That mission is called back so the richest man on the planet can launch his profit seeking mining operation. A sort of planetary vaccine, per se.

    2. MinNY

      I assumed the launch pad explosion of the joint China/Russia relief effort was due to sabotage.

      Too cynical?

      1. Basil Pesto

        that was my thought too initially, I thought they were going to reveal that in an aside but to their credit, they left it ambiguous.

      2. Joe Well

        Me too. The invisible hand of the CIA. I am guessing that would have been censored because surely Sirota would have wanted to mention US interventionism.

  27. elissa3

    Pretty good movie. The rhythm in the second half is off. Some very funny set pieces, but they stand out rather than being successfully integrated into the whole (as in Kubrick’s masterpiece). I found Meryl’s president to be a weird combination of HRC and Trump–readers? The last 10 seconds are a terrific punchline.

  28. Mo.B

    It’s hard to argue with the movies detractors like Louis and Christy, who make good points and are obviously intelligent as well. My son’s immediate reaction was the same.

    OTOH, I found it a funny movie and I didn’t find it too long at all.

    Also, increasing the background level of cynicism is a good thing, and hard to measure. A friend of mine who used to be a Musk praiser recently denied to me that he thought Musk was doing anything to save the environment. I don’t know what changed his mind, but something did.

    Finally, it is surprising that the critics panned it. They tip their hand by overreacting to a movie which I would have imagined they would like, since it poked fun at the Trump crowd. Wow, so sensitive! So that is a good sign that the movie may be landing at least a little bit.

  29. jim truti

    “Sit tight and assess” I think that the epitome of our paralysis and our time.
    And I dont think its because we are ruled by evil people, rather incompetence permeates all structures of our society with some minor exceptions.
    Reminds me of Bernank’s “subprime is contained” assessment, that clearly involved a lot of sitting tight.

  30. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” We can still save ourselves if we want to. ”

    Well . . . yes, but . . .

    Can Us still save Us-selves if Them don’t want us to? Only if we can tear Them all the way down to the ground and destroy every last shred of Them’s power over Us. Once Them has zero power and influence left, then Us can solve the problem which Them have created on purpose.

    Remember the Triremes of high classical Rome?
    The Captain, the soldiers, and the galley slaves at the oars were all in the same boat. But they did not share the same interest.

    Or as Yoda might have said . . . .

    ” We? Us or Us not. There is no We. “

  31. JCC

    I thought this Jennifer Lawrence line as Kate Dibiaski summarized this excellent movie’s takedown of a large part of US Corporate, Media, and Political Leadership:

    “You guys, the truth is way more depressing. They are not even smart enough to be as evil as you’re giving them credit for.”

  32. Maritimer

    Didn’t Leonardo DiCaprio fly into COP(ulate)26 on a private jet along with 400 other private jets? Seems fitting.

    As far as NETFIX who audits their numbers? Sounds like a Pump Job.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Somebody poorish and obscurish without a private jet in their lifestyle would be a better messenger for the global dewarming message in terms of personal credibility. But somebody poorish and obscurish will reach no people. Whereas the rich and famous with private jets in their lifestyle can reach millions of people.

      If this movie moves society to solve the problem, will it have been worth 400 private jetloads of carbon skyflooding along the way?

      1. 1 Kings

        No. That is the Satire they should have made. Rich elites circle-jerking each other at the top(30,000 feet) telling the rest of us plans what to do.
        A leader leads. Do their global meet up A virtually in the comfort of their mansions.

  33. Bellatrix

    Saw the movie and loved it. For me it’s more about the approaching economic crisis, rather than climate change. The climate “debate” has now well and truly descended to mob level, which means it requires higher and higher levels of hysteria to be maintained, let alone expanded. So I suppose a comet metaphor was to be expected. Not sure we’ve jumped the shark yet, so I await the next instalment.

  34. caneofberlin

    When General Jack D. Ripper expatiates on “precious bodily fluids”, it’s funny because it’s not incredible: his timely rant recalls actual conspiracy theories of the 1950s, not to mention the advertising found on right-wing sites this very day.

    But when President Meryl Streep interrupts the proceedings to reveal what smoking did for her poll numbers, it’s not funny because no one, not even a vacuous politician, in fact no one short of certifiable, is *that* oblivious. Disposing of the Clintons — even the Clintons — requires a little more than that in the way of invention and satire.

    But, unfortunately, the filmmakers deem themselves superior to satire; they know they’re right and that they’re wise and virtuous, and they contribute .01% of their income to the Sierra Club. All they need to do, in their estimation, is make everyone but select minorities ridiculous, and the job is done.

    In a word, they’re lazy — the worst crime you can commit in the arts.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Your comment is strangely vitriolic. It rides murky waters like an iceberg — as if there were much more unsaid than said.

  35. drumlin woodchuckles

    Movie aside, here is an article about China’s growing demand for soybeans and why that is.

    I suspect that if some future leadership burned Brazil’s Amazon all the way down . . . . down to the very last tree . . . . and planted soybeans from the Atlantic to the border with Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, etc. . . . . that the Chinese buyers would buy every single soybean Brazil could grow in the ashes of the Amazon.

    I wonder how we make a movie about that.

  36. ScottD

    I saw at a cinemark on Christmas eve along with 6 other people. It needs to be seen on a big screen.

    FWIW, this was the first Hollywood feature film that used the anamorphic lenses I designed.

    1. Joe Well

      Congratulations! That is amazing. The film looked not quite like any other I’d ever seen, definitely a different aesthetic from other comedies. Which scenes used your lenses?

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