“Don’t Look Up”

A close friend asked my opinion on Netflix’s newest BIG budget film with an all-star cast.

Before watching “Don’t Look Up” I heard some of the buzz including the fact that half of people loved it and half hated it.

I’m firmly in the first camp, in fact, it’s easily among my favorite films of the year, if not the very best. At first, as I sat on my indoor bike as the credits rolled, I couldn’t imagine what the negative nellies were thinking, then it dawned on me. The film is a brilliant, hilarious satire of popular culture, but especially of our political landscape’s right wing. For the Pro-Trump, anti-vax, “Make America Great Again” viewers it had to have hit WAY too close to home. As is written in the Torah, “We see things not as they are, but as we are.”

At almost two and half hours, one reviewer who liked it said it was too long. He’s wrong, there are no lulls, it’s non-stop searing social commentary from the drop.

It’s also scary as hell. Not because of the asteroid heading towards earth, but because it feels like a highly credible glimpse into our near-term future as a deeply divided nation. The filmmakers predict our future is one where exorbitantly wealthy and deeply flawed individuals have a disproportionate effect on public life; politicians and scientists are powerless in light of those individuals; and things go from bad to worse with regards to social and traditional media.

Is it too late to emigrate to Canada? Is the border between our countries a sufficient defense against the downward spiral depicted in “Don’t Look Up”?

Some on Twitter would take exception to me labeling it a satire. They’re arguing it’s a science fiction film since Leonardo DiCaprio is married to an “age-appropriate” woman.

Must maintain a sense of humor.

Politics Stream of Consciousness

• Just like her opponent, Senator Murkowski from Alaska says she wants to reduce spending and reduce the national debt. And then in the same breath she says she will work hard to maintain all of Alaska’s federal funding because one-third of Alaskans’ jobs depend upon it. And she might win as a write-in candidate. So what she meant is she wants to reduce federal spending in the other forty nine states.

• Newsflash, President Obama is ordinary. The problem of course is that he was an extraordinary campaigner. ARod isn’t supposed to hit .255, Tiger isn’t supposed to be a Ryder Cup captain’s pick, and Meryl Streep isn’t supposed to make bad movies. He’s a victim of unrealistic expectations. I’m cautiously optimistic that he makes the necessary adjustments and steadily improves throughout years three and four.

• In a recent Washington State Senate debate Dino Rossi and Patty Murray were both asked two times if they would raise the minimum age for full social security benefits. Neither answered. Four non-responses. Are any politicians willing to tell constituents what they need to hear and not just what they want to? Why couldn’t Rossi or Murray say what’s so painfully obvious, “Yes, for the well-to-do at least, we’re probably going to have to raise the minimum age for full social security benefits again. More generally, we have to make serious changes to our entitlement programs to have any hope of balancing the budget and reducing the national debt.” I’m sure their non-responses are based upon political science research. By desiring honest, straightforward, specific, succinct answers, guess I’m in the minority.

• Juan Williams has been fired by NPR for comments made on Bill O’Reilly’s show. I met him once in Kyoto, Japan. I agree 100% with this commentary on his firing. As the Quakers say, “That Friend speaks my mind.”

• Get a load of French high schoolers. When I taught high school I struggled to get my students to think beyond Friday night’s game and dance. In contrast, these adolescents are protesting something over forty years down the road, having to work to 62 instead of 60. Talk about long-term thinking. Guess they anticipate hating whatever they’ll end up doing for a living and maybe they already have detailed plans for when they’re 60 and 61.

• Favorite campaign development. . . multimillionaire candidates spending tens or hundreds (in the case of Meg Whitman) of their own millions and still looking like they’ll lose.