Reviewing Oscars 2022 Best Picture Nominees: ‘Don’t Look Up’

Photo courtesy of Collider

By Clay Thompson | Reporter

I really do not understand why many movies today rely on big budgets to afford a plethora of famous actors for a film. Honestly, it feels like they do it so it can be extremely marketable and make a lot of money, not so that those good actors will actually make the film better. While “Don’t Look Up” is not the only film guilty of this — I’m looking at you, “Dune” — this film feels like it was aiming for star power over the potential of the film to be good. That does not mean it doesn’t have a few good qualities about it though.

I did like the concept of the film satirizing societal and individual responses to certain doom. It felt like something that hadn’t been covered to such a mainstream degree. While the very obvious parallel from a comet to climate change was an admirable effort I guess, the time frame as well as the ramifications, made the parallel feel a little logically loose to me. I understand climate change is an important and dangerous process, but that concept versus the more immediate danger of a comet collision just didn’t jive with me as similar dangers.

Out of the entire deluge of celebrity actors involved in the film, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep stood out because they are wonderful actors, but also because they really surprised me with the range they played within their characters throughout the film. Each of them was able to make some truly comedic moments, which I was especially surprised by with DiCaprio and Lawrence, as until now they had been much more serious actors in my mind. Their moments of painfully accurate concern, panic, anxiety and levity in the face of the comet collision truly seemed to stand out from the rest.

The comedy of the film was definitely more subdued than what a typical comedy might entail, as Lariat staff writer Avery Ballmann put so accurately in her initial review of “Don’t Look Up.” There were definitely moments where I cracked a smile whether it was popular talk show hosts making jokes to lighten the mood, or the Zuckerburg tech stand-in, Peter Isherwell, seeing dollar signs in the resources the comet presents. These were funny takes in my opinion, but other than that, a lot of the comedy and satire seemed to hinge on people’s reactions to this life-changing event. While some were funny, none were gut-busting and most were just surface-level observations of society’s regular behavior, as well as social media, that didn’t seem to add much humor at all.

Adam McKay has certainly made great films in the past. “Vice” and “The Big Short” have been some of my favorite films in past years, but “Don’t Look Up” does not live up to those past great films. Leaning heavily on a well-known cast rather than quality acting, and making at best shot-in-the-dark satirization of today’s culture, “Don’t Look Up” tells the viewer what they should do. More than likely, don’t look this film up.

Where to watch “Don’t Look Up:” Netflix