“Don’t Look Up” stole my ending

The story so far:

  • Writer/director Adam McKay attracted big names (Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Ariana Grande, Timothée Chalamet, Rob Morgan, Mark Rylance, etc) to depict the apocalypse.
  • Movie critics are luke-warm – Don’t Look Up rates only 55% on Rotten Tomatoes (“slapdash, scattershot sendup”).
  • But some scientists say, “Please watch – this is just what it feels like.”

Both sides have a point. As a movie, Don’t Look Up falls short of the artistic clout of, say, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) or Dr Strangelove (1964) – and both rate 98% on RT. But the new movies is breaking streaming records, and gets a 78% audience rating.

As to the scientists’ pleas, the movie might demonstrate the benefits of following “the science” in terms of peer-reviewed facts. The discovery of the fatal asteroid by astronomy postgraduate (Jennifer Lawrence) should have benefitted humanity.

But the movie also reveals reasons to be sceptical of “the scientists” – with teams of them aiding and abetting capitalism, personified here by a tech billionaire with a life-long dream of shooting himself into space.

The final flourishes of capitalism deserve greater movies, and Don’t Look Up’s audience success will surely stimulate more.

The immediate question here, nonetheless, is whether Don’t Look Up goes on my list of best foodie movies. Okay, it’s more about the distractions, vividly capturing Guy Debord’s “Society of the Spectacle” of political illusion, tv chat, TikTok, bottled water and packet snacks.

Eventually, the movie also turns to the only serious contender for human grounding, where? – to a simple meal.

However, the care and consideration of sharing food and conversation is what we need right now, not when it’s too late!

Don’t Look Up is compulsory viewing – it illustrates what happens when greed trumps appetite. Nevertheless, to get a real grip on the issues, I recommend Meals Matter: A Radical Economics through Gastronomy (2020). The endings are similar, but the paths are different.

Jennifer Lawrence

One thought on ““Don’t Look Up” stole my ending

  1. Oh dear, this morning I couldn’t stop myself, and after I dashed and weaved between covid germs at the supermarket, I went next door and bought myself a real-cream honey log. I needed comfort, the comforts of home. Thoughts of my home, fortunately for me, are of great home-cooked meals and conversation… apart from getting punished for saying no to steak and kidney pie, I enjoyed and grew from those conversations.

    Yes, Meals Matter.

    The point, as you say in your writing, Michael, is that ecos, looking after the wellbeing of the household, starts in the home, and responsibility for a healthy household stays the same and grows in larger circles and becomes the responsibility of local councils, all the way to state then federal governments.

    But now, across the globe, we are suffering the consequences of people with power ignoring this fact. We are hungry for the nurturing effects of ecos. Governments, powerful, moneyed people, and, yes, the media neglect their responsibilities and indulge in self-gratification, power and money.

    They are not listening to proposals for the betterment of all our lives, and those of nature and the universe. Currently, the environment crisis and the covid pandemic run rampant.

    And this is where I come to that scorching, blistering movie, ‘Don’t Look Up’. If only that was merely putting flames under food on the barbie!

    I have to admit, I burst out in tears in the end when the knowing group of family and friends came together for a final meal. They talked convivially as they ate… and this is where the director, Adam McKay, hits home… where it hurts. It is all too familiar for us, as we ache for those who can’t be with us now for a communal meal, but, critically, we ache for the caring, active listening and positive action, of those who have responsibility for our greater wellbeing.

    Will we even be able to eat together with family and friends, the last bastion of good living, as the world ends?

    Let’s take the movie as a conversation over a meal, make informed decisions and save the world, before it is too late. And Michael, may they listen to your conversation on ecos, and through your knowledgeable insights into gastronomy change our concept of the economy, and save the world.


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