Don’t Look Up

Spoilers!

Don’t Look Up is definitely worth a watch. I thought the acting in it was stellar and the movie made some apt observations in the form of amusing satire: The general public is fickle, uninformed, cruel, with a pathetically short attention span. Politicians want to make everything into a merchandise-selling Broadway promotional. Most of the character’s motives are amusingly pathetic. Don’t Look Up condensed and delivered an incredible range of observations about American society in a funny way.

The movie has some weaknesses though; especially lacking in it are depth and structure. There were a few parts that had that depth — like when Dr. Mindy is getting out of his car and the whole street stops to look at the comet. I felt like that was a moment that was intended to be profound. But at that moment, I still hadn’t recovered from the satiring laughter that the movie evoked in so many other places. It required a bit too much cognitive and emotional dissonance. Most of the writing was so upbeat and jestful that when it sought to come back to earth and convey the gravity of the situation, it couldn’t. The plot felt like the house being carried away by balloons in the movie Up. Combining satire and a penetrating message seems perhaps an impossible task, but I definitely think this topic warrants a deep message. Although the nature scenes were beautiful, I didn’t feel like there was a penetrating message to the movie except for laughing at how stupid and obtuse people are.

Perhaps as a satire, the character development was not meant to be prominent, and apart from revealing a few layers of Dr. Mindy, Yule, Kate, and Brie, there wasn’t much. The plot also didn’t seem to have a lot of common threads throughout it. Different from a finely crafted show like Ted Lasso, It felt a little bombastic and perhaps unintentional. It felt like a song with too many key changes. I read that the cast was allowed to improvise as much as possible, and that made for some incredible scenes, but the overall movie felt a little disjointed. Good paragraphs but a jumpy essay.

I am a firm believer that only good movies deserve any constructive criticism, and in spite of my complaints, this is definitely a good movie. Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Rob Morgan, Timothee Chalamet, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Mark Rylance all deliver exceptional performances. Rob Morgan, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jennifer Lawrence made a great trio. The scenes I’ll remember are when Dr. Mindy and Brie are getting to know each other– Brie talks about her socialite life and Dr. Mindy chooses to reciprocate by talking about when his pet died. Who knew Leo could be so funny? The oval office scenes were also apt and funny. I loved Dr. Mindy’s family. During Yule’s delightful, lovable semi-proposal in the car I was wondering to myself… in real life, are these actors as intriguing, charming, and normal as these characters are scripted to be? I have decided to believe that indeed, they are.

I found myself laughing at Meryl Streep as well as Jonah Hill and the accuracy of the rallies. I thoroughly enjoyed Hollywood’s take on Elon Musk/Jeff Bezos/Mark Zuckerberg. The nature scenes were poignant, beautiful; overall the movie held my attention. I know the reviews on this movie are very divided, but I give it either a B+ or A-. I liked it. But even if you don’t like it, you’ll remember it.

In keeping with my “Only criticize decent movies” policy, I won’t be delving into The Unforgivable. Honestly, it is just too awful to even know where to begin. It tries to make sense of something that feels way too contrived. I also won’t offer any constructive criticism of The Guilty but I will offer a quick recap of it: A woman who doesn’t take her anxiety medication decides to mutilate her newborn infant’s stomach. Makes total sense, right? Then her husband who is a convicted felon tries to bring her back to the mental institution for people who cut their babies into small pieces, and she calls 911 to tell a remarkably incompetent individual that she is being kidnapped. Her husband somehow forgets to call back and explain what’s going on. The only constructive criticism I’ll offer for both of these movies is that they each most certainly deserve their own Mystery Science Theater or Riff tracks. Although I do believe Hollywood is a cesspool of favors, quid pro quo, and connections(think Emily in Paris being nominated for an Emmy- only explanation I can think of), I also think there must be some sort of tenure or insane job security that allows these screenwriters to continue funding plotless, unrelatable movies that are consumed by the general public.

The movie I am looking for (still) is the right movie about the environment– one that is funny, inspiring, and leaves me with more conviction and clarity.

In other non-movie news, I tested positive for Covid and spent quite a bit of last week sneezing. I don’t feel super sick, but I do feel confused about how cautious I should be.

I hope you’re having a bright, delightful start to 2022. And I hope the year is filled with healthy progress and relationships for you.

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