The News


When your movie is available to 214 million consumers at once, The Discourse opens a window and leaps into the burning dumpster in the internet below. (Folks who wouldn’t pay $15 to go out and see Don’t Look Up have already paid $14 with their monthly subscription, but still hold $15 a la carte opinions.) The union-busting magazine “Current Affairs” started one of the fires with the lumpy piece, “Critics of Don’t Look Up Are Missing the Entire Point.” “One problem with film reviews is that they are often so concerned with evaluating the quality of a movie that they don’t get chance to seriously discuss the ideas it raises,” their writer writes. “Reviewers are preoccupied with questions like: How is the acting? The editing? Is the dialogue sharp? The pacing energetic? Are certain mawkish indulgences by the director partly counteracted by a thoughtful score? In the case of a satire trying to make a point, does it make the point well, or does it do it “ham-fistedly”? Is it subtle and graceful or does it “beat you over the head”?… [M]any said it was a heavy-handed political satire that made obvious points and was not clever… I decided to watch it when I saw that leftist investigative journalist David Sirota… had co-written the story. I know that Sirota is not stupid…. If he was involved with writing a Netflix comedy, I thought it would at least be not completely terrible... I came away thinking that its critics were not only missing the point of the film in important ways, but that the very way they discussed the film exemplified the problem that the film was trying to draw attention to. Some of the responses to the movie could have appeared in the movie itself.”

These assertions led to some inflamed responses. (Idea man-producer David Sirota gets lots of stick for his eager leaps to the film’s defense and blocking of Twitter conversants: “Find yourself someone who looks at you the way David Sirota looks at his own name in the search bar.”) The evolving conversation has sprawled onto the role of the film critic from correspondents on Twitter and elsewhere. Aside from the scabrous and the basic “fuck-yous” earned by the article’s meandering moralizing, the conversations are well-capped by what Alex Winter posted: “The current targeting of film critics as the enemy of the people would be laughable if it didn’t speak to a pervasive, growing contempt for scholarship, expertise, and intellectual critique, accompanied by a moral imperative being imposed on culture. That’s scary… I think when you’ve been in this business a while you come to understand we’re all in the same eco-system but doing quite different jobs. Critics aren’t here to serve artists or frankly vice versa. That line gets blurred a lot.“

Meanwhile, Don’t Look Up as the gods (and the Academy) look down on ecological mayhem: Seven Oscar nominations? Eleven?


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