(Every frame of Don’t Look Up somehow looks like a Portlandia skit.)
If “Don’t Look Up”, the new leftist agitprop from failed leftist satirist Adam McKay, were mass releasing into movie theaters, we could have a weekend of schadenfreude over its miserable failure.
But since the $75 million movie is going to Netflix, which rarely releases any kind of metrics, and has billions to burn, it’s just another cultural dumpster fire. Most critics, to their credit, have pointed out that it’s horrible garbage. Almost as bad as Jennifer Lawrence’s previous environmentalist heavy-handed metaphor flick, “Mother!” which is still the “Over the Top” of the environmentalist genre.
Since Netflix is the 800-ton gorilla squatting on our culture, “Don’t Look Up” is inescapable. It’s also pathetic.
“Don’t Look Up” typifies the satire of the Colbert generation which confuses sneering contempt for trenchant satire and thinks that stating the obvious and then beating it to death is wit. That’s the other half of the black hole that ate comedy and spat out Saturday Night Live skits in which the performers state prog talking points and the audience cheers.
Like the Left, “Don’t Look Up” has one idea and never bothers thinking of another one. It’s animated by a bourgeois contempt for the bourgeois, and an implicit conviction that the only way to save humanity is to install some sort of totalitarian regime that will make the big decisions for us and decide who should live or die.
It’s a premise that Spielbergian projects like “Deep Impact” had to wrap up in a sonorous leading man, like Morgan Freeman, but that “Don’t Look Up”, in typical Colbertian fare, makes the case for by showing that, as so many Washington Post and New York Times columns declare, our society doesn’t work, democracy has failed, and if we don’t all want to die, we’re going to need a philosopher king with gulags.
It’s the FDR-era “Gabriel Over the White House”, but without the FDR or Obama worship, its animating principle is the fascist notion that all the alternatives are untenable, that a free society is decadent and corrupt, and that half the country or more is so terrible that there’s no possibility of co-existing with it. The only alternatives are leftist tyranny or human extinction due to the contemptible deplorables.
It’s a hell of an elevator pitch.