In my continuing series of Fun New Year’s Resolutions Only (Some Are One-Time Offers, Some Become Long-Term/Permanent), last year’s resolution seems to be sticking: watching all the movies nominated for major Oscar categories.
This year’s list was released this week. We’d already seen a few (Summer of Soul, Coda, King Richard, Spouse has seen Dune although I have not, but he’s up for watching it again), but we do have some ground to cover, although this year, I’m not stressing about getting to all of them before the awards ceremony on March 27.
We had to get cracking this week, and decided to start with Don’t Look Up, the big-budget, movie-star filled, climate crisis satire released on Netflix during the year-end Oscar bait movie season.
In case you’re unfamiliar, the thing about satire, to quote the nice folks at Merriam Webster, is that it’s:
1. a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn
2.trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly
In other words, satire is supposed to be funny. And Don’t Look Up is AGGRESSIVELY unfunny.
And I should be the target audience. I love comedy, I’m down with spiky comedies that venture into cutting/snarky territory, and I’m a super-liberal person living in a deep blue city with solar panels on the roof, a green roof on the garage, a garden of native plants chosen to attract pollinators, compost pile, rain barrel, bird feeder, public transportation frequenter, zealous reduce/reuse/recycler, long-time CSA member, single-car family with plans to transition to a BEV for the next one. I’m bought in, yo.
But it was just NOT GOOD. Not even a little. Not even Meryl Streep was good. (Nice touch there, guys, making the Trumpy POTUS a middle-aged blonde lady. I’m sure that wasn’t intentional. EYE ROLL.)
Now I’ll admit, I was primed to NOT like it. David Sirota is a Bernie Bro troll who passed himself off as a journalist WHILE HE WAS WORKING FOR THE CAMPAIGN. He’s an emblem of everything that’s awful about the “dirtbag” left, of a piece with the Young Turks and Cenk Uygur and their bullshit misogyny and thinly veiled racism. And at any given time, he’s probably about 30 seconds away from going full Glenn Greenwald.
Adam McKay has done some good – and not so good (Step Brothers anyone?) – stuff, although I can’t be the only one who sees Succession as primarily a tragedy that is mostly an exercise in humiliation for every single character on it.
Hm, I just realized both Succession and Don’t Look Up suffer from being one-note. Could you please stop dropping that anvil on my head? My neck is getting sore.
It’s one thing to not go for the laugh when you’re creating, say, a documentary about being a refugee (although, to be honest, Flee had some funny moments). But this whole project just stubbornly missed the point.
If you DO want to see a movie that is a GREAT satire on the absurdities of modern life, particularly as pertains to technology and social media, and is pee-your-pants, get-the-inhaler-because-Spouse-is-laughing-so-hard-it-triggered-an-asthma-attack, we-have-to-pause-the-movie-because-I’m-laughing-so-hard-I-can’t-hear-it-anymore funny, check out The Mitchells v. The Machines (and I usually hate Danny McBride, too, so it IS possible to make something that overcomes my “that guy is a TOOL” bias).
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