Sunday, December 26, 2021

"Don't Look Up" tops streaming lists

Two days after its release to Netflix, Don't Look Up is the most-streamed movie in the world, according to Flix Patrol.  

It's great to see the film hitting the ground running. After so many tepid reviews from critics, the buzz seemed to take a pretty big hit. Now, it seems to be everywhere you look on social media. My husband and I watched it together last night. He doesn't really like most movies, but he was laughing regularly and thought it was "good."  Trust me, he wouldn't spare my feelings just because Meryl's in it. 

The positive audience reactions make me think this will do much better with televised awards bodies than it did with critics. I still don't think Meryl's going to make the cut for Supporting Actress, but Picture seems very realistic. I really hope the film snags that top nod, as it would make it three of the last five years that Meryl has been in a film nominated for Best Picture. 

We'll get more definitive numbers on the movies streaming performance in a couple days. Hope everyone had a good Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Results of Poll #12

It's been three weeks since I posted the poll asking which nominations folks thought Don't Look Up might snag at the Oscars. Well, things have changed a bit since that post...namely, the film was seen by a lot of people. Were I to create the same poll now, I expect the results would be much different. At the time, most people (myself included) thought Meryl stood a decent chance at a nomination for Actress in a Supporting Role. That just happened to be the number-one selection in the poll at 14%. After the film's tepid reviews, I think her chances are extremely thin. But after the Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations, it's not wild to think the film itself, Leonardo DiCaprio, and original song might crack their respective categories. Full results are as below:

Monday, December 13, 2021

"Don't Look Up" nabs nominations for Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards. No Meryl.

The newly "revamped" Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced its nominations for the Golden Globe Awards this morning. While Meryl was left off the list, it was nice to see that Don't Look Up managed to snag four nods:

Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy
Best Screenplay
Best Actress-Musical or Comedy (Jennifer Lawrence)
Best Actor-Musical or Comedy (Leonardo DiCaprio)

The Critics Choice Awards sort of feels like it wants to take the Globes' place, and even though the Globes won't have their show televised this year, they still feel more important. Regardless, Don't Look Up is up for six there:

Best Picture
Best Acting Ensemble (so Meryl's kind of nominated here ha)
Best Original Screenplay
Best Comedy
Best Song
Best Score

I was surprised to see DiCaprio not make it for Actor with Critics Choice, considering they have six nominees. Nicholas Cage was a surprise there for Pig. They're going to hold their ceremony on January 9, the same day the Globes will announce their winners. There is no confirmation yet on exactly how the Hollywood Foreign Press plans to do that. 

Despite the mixed reviews, it's nice to see that the film looks like it'll be a contender at the Oscars for some of the major categories, particularly Best Picture, Original Screenplay, and Original Song. SAG nominations don't come out for another month (January 12), and Oscar nominations will be announced February 8. 

The full list of Globe nominees can be seen here, with Critics Choice here

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Film review: "Don't Look Up" (2021)

After the less than stellar reviews that have been piling up this week for Don't Look Up, I went into the theater Friday afternoon a little concerned that I'd have a hard time objectively assessing my reaction to it. I had such optimistic expectations as recently as Tuesday. But I didn't want to let that get in the way, so I weathered a snowstorm to and from the theater and did my best to pretend it was just any other movie. I'm pretty sure I succeeded. 

By now most of us know that the story follows astronomers Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) and Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) as they attempt to warn the world that the comet they discovered is going to collide with Earth. Meryl plays the president of the United States, whose preoccupation with polls, appearances, and power screen her from reacting with the urgency and intelligence necessary to save the planet. 

I'll admit that the first twenty to thirty minutes of the movie felt a little hectic (not just because the plot involved a hectic and stressful discovery), in that the scenes seemed to shift tone a little too rapidly, and the editing didn't give me a chance to appreciate any kind of real feeling for what the main characters were up against. This cooled down a little when I settled into a sense of irritation at how much of a blockade there was to simply explaining to the people in power what was going on. This was a combination of the inability of the scientists to concisely explain things in laymen's terms, as well as the government officials' banal approach to listening. It was eerily and maddeningly representative of what the onset of the pandemic felt like every time I read or watched the news (I know, first mistake). I realize that this script was originally intended to parallel the climate crisis (and it still is), but the parallels with Covid felt particularly prescient, even now. Especially now. 

Cate Blanchett plays TV host Bree Evante, a Fox News-like android of a person with her blazingly white teeth, blonde hair, and hot bod. She sparks an affair with Dr. Mindy, and pretty much becomes an easy character to despise. She did a great job. As did Mark Rylance as the tech CEO at superdonor to President Orlean. His bleaty voice was super creepy and effective, and I thought he was second-best in show. Tops for me was DiCaprio, whom we never get to see play the anxious nerd. He always comes across as such a cool guy, and his characters are typically important, or suave, or unflappable. Not so with the pill-popping Dr. Mindy, who absolutely made me anxious with his hand-wringing and panting whenever things got heavy. DiCaprio's negotiation of those behaviors was far more nuanced than how I'm explaining them I'm sure, but suffice it to say that he nailed the role and manged to keep me in his corner despite his off-putting idiosyncrasies and poor personal choices. I think he might get nominated. 

Let's chat a bit about Meryl. She's been in the conversation for recognition in the Best Supporting Actress race. Those chances drastically went down following this week's tepid critical reviews. I actually feel a little less bad about the reviews after seeing the movie because, while Meryl is of course excellent, the role doesn't really pack the kind of punch I would expect for her usual nominations. We all know that her role as president Orlean is sort of an amalgam of the last five or six presidents. It's probably disingenuous to suggest that the majority of the traits don't most resemble Trump, but I did appreciate the whole "I need to hide my smoking or it'll hurt me in the polls" thing (which I think was something taken from Obama). Streep's character definitely pissed me off, with her cavalier disregard (thank you, Prada) for the safety of American and world citizens. She and Jonah Hill play off each other pretty well. He plays her son and chief of staff, Jason, whom Hill accurately describes as "if Fyre Festival were a person." His character also awkwardly sexualizes his commander-in-chief mother, something Hill has explained he pulled from Donald Trump's creepy tendency to do so with his own daughter. You can tell Hill and Meryl had a good time with each other, and while not all of the comedy landed for me, I found myself giggling regularly. 


Not my favorite scene but there aren't many out there yet. I told my friend Scooter that I thought the movie improved as it went on. Kate and Dr. Mindy sort of give up on trying to convince the powers that be of the gravity of the situation, and they sort of go rogue in their attempts to warm the world. I don't want to give away any major spoilers, but by the last quarter of the movie, I actually started to feel a bit sad for the characters. Say what you will about some of the unevenness of the screenplay, the dinner table scene with Lawrence, DiCaprio (and his character's wife and sons), Timothée Chalamet and Rob Morgan, was touching, and seemed particularly effective during the holiday season. 

I didn't really have a problem with some of the political bent being a bit on the nose. I suspect there are going to be people who see this film who actually do not realize how it's meant to be an allegory for climate change. It seems like it should be obvious, but sadly, that's the nature of the American movie-goer. Others will bemoan being hit over the head by the film's message of overt inaction on the part of lawmakers. I, for one, don't see much wrong with smugness on the part of a filmmaker when the stakes and level of willful ignorance are equally and dangerously high.

It'll be a toss up whether or not this film sneaks into the top ten for Best Picture. I think director is out of the question. DiCaprio may still has a chance, as mentioned. I'll be interested to see happens with the Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations Monday morning.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

First reviews in for "Don't Look Up"

Welp, this isn't exactly what I expected. Following a handful of screenings and Q&As with the cast over the past couple of weeks, first reactions seemed to be pretty positive for Don't Look Up. I came home from work last night excited to check out the first reviews. Not great. As this goes to post, the film sits at a dismal 51 on Metacritic (22 reviews) and 60% on Rotten Tomatoes (55 reviews). It's possible that the Rotten Tomatoes score will creep up closer to 70% when all is said and done, but either way, these critical reactions don't bode well for it's reward prospects.  

I'd been hoping that Meryl might sneak into the top five of Best Supporting Actress. Now I really don't seen that happening. Even Leonardo DiCaprio is going to struggle to crack the Best Actor race, and what had felt like a foregone conclusion in Best Picture, is now very much in question. Not that it can't still get handful of noms. Director Adam McKay has never been a critical darling, yet has enjoyed great success with Academy voters (see Vice). 

We'll have to wait a while to see how this all pans out. It's a bit of a bummer to say the least. But that's certainly not going to stop me from seeing in the theater Friday!  

Sunday, December 5, 2021

New "Don't Look Up" feature

CBS Sunday Morning released a feature on the upcoming Don't Look Up. Meryl and Leonardo DiCaprio, and separately director Adam McKay, sat down to share some thoughts on the film and its focus on our looming climate crisis. 

Couple of new snippets that I think we haven't seen yet. Meryl's doing a fair amount of campaigning press for this. I think she's doing another Q&A after the film's premiere in New York City today. Love when she's out their promoting her films. And I happened to realize last night, that assuming this film cracks the top ten for a Best Picture Oscar nomination, this will be the third film in the last five years to have done that with Meryl in the cast (after The Post and Little Women). That's a pretty big deal for an actor, regardless of one's age or résumé. 

I believe the review embargo lifts on Tuesday.