Tarkovsky Gordon-Levitt’s review published on Letterboxd:
say it with me now:
adam mckay’s southland tales!
i get that we’re all smart here and ‘on the nose’ is the usual response for satiric comedies that attempt to be topical to the immediate times and are speaking to the choir. but, hear me out: maybe we need these kinds of movies still? maybe the rest of the world isn’t as smart as we perceive it to be in our little hip letterboxd bubbles (and i’m not saying unsubtle movies are my film of choice - simply saying sometimes i can definitely see the strings and enjoy the angry hammer-to-the-head commentary too). will ‘don’t look up’ really seem ‘on the nose’ during the next climate disaster? next pandemic? next political uprising? when half the population doubles down on misinformation it feels to me like we need one of these massive roadshow satires.
one of my favorite bits of ‘it’s so obvious’ criticism was an episode of the /filmcast podcast where screen junkies guest host andy signore was decrying the unsubtle messaging in darren aronofsky’s mother. ‘i get it! where’s the subtlety?!’ regardless of what you thought about mother personally it seems to me that signore might’ve needed that punch on the nose holes more than he thought he did.
we don’t seem to hold the horror genre to the same standard. hell, an issue movie with very obvious social/political allegories is the gold standard now for the most well-reviewed in horror.
besides: i kinda love big sprawling comedic messes like this. the kinds of films that no one seems to know what to do with upon release and then 17 years later are shown in a full house at the alamo drafthouse (if we’re all not dead). deranged, wild, ‘on the nose’, a surprisingly beautiful nicholas bartell and full of a mad, mad, mad, world style cast that’s bringing their a-game. leo is unhinged and fucking brilliant, honestly his performance as a man watching a dispassionate species nonchalantly refusing to look up and take heed of impending doom is why i adore dark comedies. this might feel long-winded and endless - but doesn’t the conversation around climate change feel exactly the same way? hell - even covid. i’m not saying that’s the overall point of the length of this movie, but it certainly shares a similarity to our reality. hah.
arianna grande will be an oscar nominee next year. and mcu fan’s will die with happiness.
i weirdly watched this as a reflection of a film industry grappling with it’s own demise in a way - the end of the big movie houses as we know it (fitting for a netflix film), but that’s for another time.
don’t look up is a ridiculously bonkers, ceaselessly rage-filled piece of nose candy and i sniffed it up real good.
one more thing: mckay really missed the boat not hiring steven segal to show up for the final third of this movie ala adaption. i know his politics probably suck now - but it could have been that final unifying message to stop the world from going under siege.