TWO MOVIES ON FRIDAY NIGHT -
A RECENT RELEASE: DON'T LOOK UP (2021)
AND SIGNS (2002)
Slow cooking and braising my chuck steaks gave me plenty of time to enjoy my wine and watch a few movies. I started with a new one and then watched Signs, which I had seen before and knew that I would enjoy. Sometimes it’s fun to re-watch a movie you’ve already seen. After all, you know whether you’re going to like it and there’s always something that you didn’t see in the movie the first time. Plus, you can step away for five minutes without missing something crucial to the plot. These two movies were a good pairing as it turned out. They both have something to say about where this world is headed, and what if anything, we can do about it.
DON'T LOOK UP (2021)
Two scientists try to warn the planet that a Comet is headed toward Earth. But, between the vapid press and the greedy politicians, they can’t rouse the public to believe in, much less do anything to avoid, mass extinction. Sound familiar? Here’s the sub-text but hardly a spoiler: Leonardo DiCaprio and his Hollywood ilk think anyone who doesn’t believe in global warming and Hillary Clinton are stoo-pid! Okay, to be fair, my politics are pretty much aligned with Leo’s but I didn’t need an hour and a half of this heavy-handed satire to convince me that there’s a large segment of the population who just won’t believe in SCIENCE. Everything this movie has to say could have been said in a NYT op-ed, or better, a Saturday Night Live skit — including scenes in which the ignorant masses shout, “Don’t Look Up!” which sounds suspiciously like, “Lock Her Up!” And, by the way, Cate Blanchett is so skinny it’s disturbing.
I do not love Mel Gibson but I love this movie, and I love almost any movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Gibson plays a farmer trying to protect his family from extra-terrestrials. But this is more than a science fiction movie. This is an exploration of faith, love and disappointment. Gibson’s character questions the meaning of life and whether there is a God. The answer he finds is uplifting and comforting. And like Shyamalan’s other films, it is the supernatural world that tests the flawed and earthbound characters forcing them to grapple with their own morality and pressing them to rise about their humanity. Setting aside Gibson’s personal bigotry, this is a beautiful movie.