“Don’t Look Up” Makes Me Want To Watch All The Time – South Seattle Emerald
Welcome to our moon-synced movie review show hosted by Saira Barbaric and NEVE. This South Seattle creative duo do multidisciplinary work together and individually. For this show, they are thrilled to join their love of astrology, rituals and pop culture.
Stream this month’s podcast on the official New Moon Movie Review podcast website.
I knew I wanted to see Don’t look up (written and created by Adam McKay and David Sirota, directed by Adam McKay) as it features a guest appearance by Timothée Chalamet. I’m a die-hard Timmy fan; I don’t apologize. As soon as I started watching it, I remembered my favorites from yesteryear: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence. They both play to their strengths in every way in this film. Leo is a smart, mentally handicapped and socially awkward but unreasonably handsome (we call it that way) astronomer with a heart of gold but a twisted moral compass, and perhaps a skewed view of reality. JLaw, the people’s daughter, is truly the outspoken radical, the sweater punk who prefers tea to booze but resorts to smoking a bowl in times of extreme stress or pleasure. She is also a brainiac astronomer and holds a Ph.D. student of Leo at Michigan State. The character of Timothée Chalamet does not matter, and yet it is he who counts the most. An article in which I will extol the virtues of Timmy is forthcoming, but I promise you that I will not waste your time here.
Looking at Don’t look up, alone and probably drawing and smoking weed, I quickly — spread over a week or so — started watching it 11 more times. I watched him a lucky 13e it’s time to prepare for this episode of New Moon Movie Night (NMMN), and right now I’m on my 14e Look. The number of times I watch a movie is not necessarily indicative of the quality of the movie. Our own Saira B (all pronouns), my love, once watched Bright featuring Will Smith almost 400 times, just to convince himself that it was actually as bad as he perceived it to be. Which was very bad. Saira was almost hypnotized by the wickedness. If we had NMMN then they might have gotten me to watch Bright. As we have NMMN going I managed to make zir watch Don’t look upbecause it wasn’t something she would necessarily have looked at on her own.
I find Don’t look up not so much good as compelling, exciting, comforting and validating. The comet of it all is compelling, like death flying right at you and there’s nothing you can do about it, or rather, you’re not ready for what you could possibly do. To wonder whether or not the United States government will heed the scientists’ disaster warning is thrilling, as much as there is within that question the fear that we already know the answer, which of course they don’t. will not listen. Capitalism is not made to listen. I find comfort in watching the end of the world over and over again. Pressing the possibility of such trauma feels like I’m steering my own ship through the storm. Validation of my suffering, satire as it is, occurs when Jonah Hill, playing the son and chief of staff of Meryl Streep’s hauntingly familiar POTUS, sneers and smears Leo and JLaw so hard I have feeling of being bullied. I’m also validated, perversely, by the depiction of People of Color in the film. Let’s be clear, all of the main characters in this movie are white. Whether they are friends or foes, they are white. There are secondary and backup characters who are black and brown, and they are, in the case of Rob Morgan playing Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe, the head of planetary defense, a dark hero magic archetype, or, in the case of everyone, seem to be willfully immoral, unreliable or, at the very least, bad listeners. Wildly, one of the film’s 87 nominations and 16 wins came from the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) for Best Screenplay. As I love this film in so many ways, I wonder if there is something the AAFCA has that I don’t.
I won’t talk to you about the character of Timothée Chalamet; you will have to find out for yourself. Suffice it to say, he’s playing an approximation of an ancient crust lord unbeknownst to me, unbeknownst to him. I recommend this movie if you like to scream without being listened to, if you want to see Mark Rylance play a terrifying and strangely evocative tech mogul, and if the concept of dying with all your friends comforts you more than it frightens you. I don’t recommend this movie if you already spend every night freaking out about climate change, don’t like all-white star castings, or don’t find Jonah Hill funny. Want to get into astronomy, though? No one has ever accused me of liking the idea of ”serving the United States”, but every time I look at things like hidden numbers Where Don’t look up, I feel compelled to study astronomy and join NASA. Stars and math is so cool!
NEVE (he/she) is a multi-gender, multi-racial, multi-disabled, multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary terpsichorean artist of stage, street, field, stream and screen. He is a native African living in Duwamish and Coast Salish lands and traveling wherever he has access and an invitation. (S) He is a 2020 Pina Bausch Fellow and a 2022 Arc Artist Fellow. Visit them online at nevebebad.com and beyond.
Since 2015, Saira B (he/she/they/ze) was based in Seattle to create performance art, film, and events that explore mythology, eroticism, AfroPsychedelic dreams, ritual objects, and glitch aesthetics. This year, Saira is presenting visual art at King Street Station from July 27 and inaugurating a new film festival — The Blue Film Fest, from August 12-14.
📸 The featured image: Disaster comedy “Don’t Look Up” comforts the absurdity and trauma of the end of the world. picture by muratart/Shutterstock.com.
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