top of page

Don't Look Up (2021): Science Deniers & the End of the World

Don't Look Up is an ugly look into our society rampant with climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers, and flat earthers. Gabe relates entirely too much to the screaming, frustrated astronomers trying to tell everyone the world is ending soon. Kat tells you why the world is ending soon.

Sources in this Episode:

Don’t Look Up captures the madness I see every day

Ways to Help:

Fridays for Future


Media from this week's episode:

Don’t Look Up (2021)

Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.

Directed by: Adam McKay


Don't Look Up: Rage Against Science Deniers by Gabe Castro

RED: Quotes, someone else's words.

This film got some pretty bad critic reviews and I find that hilarious because I’ve only ever heard amazing things from the general populace. How out of touch. It’s not surprising to me that it got this split review though. Similar to The Hunt, the film famous for being canceled before it began and happened to be specifically about just that - cancel culture, or the summer murder-game favorite, Squid Game, I am not at all surprised that many missed the entire point. This film sits happily in the family of films that calls out our culture’s issues while also being ridiculed in real time for doing just that.


A graduate student, Kate DiBiasky (played by J Law - welcome back babe) discovers a comet and it’s a celebratory event - that is until they realize it’s coming straight for Earth. It’s larger than the meteor that annihilated the dinosaurs and it’ll be arriving soon - like, in 6 months soon. You learn this, immediately. And you might think as a viewer, “Wow what a weird way to begin - already knowing the Earth is in peril.” But there is so much more to explore.

These two astronomers, the grad student and their professor, Dr. Randall Mindy (played by Leo DiCaprio) do what any human who discovers such literally earth-shattering news - they bring to the folx in charge. For this film, it's a comical (though not entirely off-base or impossible) right-wing parody mash-up of Trump, Biden, and Hilary Clinton. President Orlean (played by Meryl Streep), is absurd but far too honest. The astronomers deliver the news, the world is going to end. They are met with a PR prep meeting that requires them to reduce the 99.9% likely impact to roughly 70% (so as to not inspire panic) and told to “sit tight and assess.”

There are a few moments in the film where you will feel a sense of completion, of hope. Maybe people aren’t as bad as we say they are? Of course we would come to our senses when given such indisputable truth? But capitalism rears its ugly head again and again in this film. I won’t spoil the film because I really want people to watch it but know that people are trash, always.

Also, there’s a concert featuring Ariana Grande singing a song asking people to “Look Up!” (aka Wake up) and all I could think is that we need to connect Ariana with Greta Thrunberg and make an awesome climate change concert to raise funds and awareness. It’s the only way to get through to the masses, honestly.

The Ugly Truth

There is so much that is ridiculous about this film but I never once felt in it’s absurd, dark comedy set-ups that it was…unreal. From the morning talk show (I used to watch Live with Regis and Kelly religiously in my early college years - idk why) to the celebrities, and the obsession with what’s trending. Characters learn of the state of the world and their immediate reactions are honest (vomit, panic, fear) but their coping mechanisms kick in and you see as they grasp at straws - trying to find literally any excuse or explanation that does not point to the entire world dying in the span of an evening. It was outrageous and hilarious but also terrifying. It felt honestly too real at times. Coming fresh out of a Trump presidency, I don’t get surprised by the stupidity, the eager blindness, and the insane misinformation campaigns. This is America. It’s easy to compare the response within and outside of the film to our world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. How many news reporters, political figures, social media celebrities, and other “important” faces have severely impacted this pandemic with misinformation, suppression of life-saving information, and other insane ideologies?

I felt incredibly close to Lawrence’s Kate DiBiasky. Her cries for attention and for anyone to just acknowledge the severity of this situation felt much like Kat and myself, every week on this podcast. Kate has a live breakdown on TV (we’re always close to one of those) where she shouts “You should stay up all night every night crying when we’re all, 100 percent, for sure, going to f-ing die!” and I felt that IN MY SOUL. If that isn’t what we are yelling at y’all every single week, I don’t know what we’re missing?