“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