Don’t Look Up, Don’t Look Now!

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

Don’t think of this as a spoiler alert, think of this as a spoiler warning. Like a tornado warning, the storm is on the ground and headed for populated areas. I had something nice all planned out for today. A nice end of the year piece, thanking readers for supporting my delusion. It was going to be filled with fun statistics, as over the year, readership has been up way more than double last year’s count. Even more surprising, is that many people stay and read more than one. The internet teaches us that anyone can be fooled in to clicking once. But clicking twice is humbling.

Even more so, is the number of overseas readers. Little flags come up telling me of where and the number of reads from a specific country. So, when I see reads from Figi or New Zealand popping up. I wonder, what they must think on the opposite side of the globe, and can I visit? Then I see reads from China, and I know what they think. They appear like clockwork periodically, every six months or so. Then quickly disappear after deciding if I meet their local community standards or not. (I don’t.)

But as I say, I had planned something nice, but was assaulted in my home last night and violated. It was just the other day; I was saying how much I liked bad Sci-fi. I do hereby officially retract that statement. As a child of eight, my mother gave me a dollar and dropped me off for the Kiddie Christmas matinee at the local movie house. I witnessed the world premiere of “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” It was 1964, it was either that or play in the yard. But I remember leaving the theater thinking, that movie was really terrible! A movie with Santa and Martians, and so bad, an eight-year-old could see through it.

So, I innocently turned on my TV your honor. I tuned it to Netflix after a long day of whatever it is I do, expecting top-drawer, world-class entertainment. I wasn’t looking for trouble, no sir. Like a first drink, it looked so innocent. A movie with Leonardo Decaprio and Meryl Streep. In an end of the world dystopian thriller about a doomsday comet headed for Earth. (Simpson’s did it!) But here is the rub, rub, rub.

Leo plays a nerdy astronomer, and Jennifer Lawrence plays a grad student, who discovers this doomsday comet one night. With a dramatic grease pencil on a whiteboard, Leo discloses… through his quick math skills, that we are all doomed. And then like any good Sci-fi film from the 1950s says “We have to contact the President!”

For some reason unbeknownst to the viewer. Government officials are unable to find a credit card or small government airplane, like the ones Congressman routinely use. Instead, they fly the pair to Washington all alone, in the back of a C-5A Galaxy transport. The largest aircraft in the Air Force inventory. Stand by you are about to be bludgeoned into submission, as only modern cinema can do it. With a plot as a thin a moist towelette, it was displaying how a dystopic government can’t do anything right. But get ready, your three rounds with Iron Mike Tyson, have only just begun.

In 1933, Laurel & Hardy starred in “Son’s of the Desert.” In just one scene, Stan Laurel walks out of the room reaching for the front doorknob. Laurel performs five, funny subtle gags, just walking out of the front door. The gags didn’t need to be explained, if you missed them, you missed them.  There was no review for the intellectually deficient.

Arriving at the White House the pair meet Dr. Teddy. As the government department official in charge of extraterrestrial threats aka, the Black guy. After being commanded to appear before the President, they sit on benches for hours next to what appears to be an unused alcove. Thud! The White House is incompetent too! The President (Meryl Streep) is a complete idiot, and her followers all wear red baseball caps. Huh? Get it? Pretty subtle, don’t you think? Now the President’s Chief of Staff is her son. (Jonah Hill)

Just incredibly cleaver, don’t you think? A blowhard woman in a red dress, instead of a man with a red tie and instead of a clueless daughter, a goofy belligerent son. Those of you who know me, know I’m as far into left field as you can get and still smell the popcorn. But I found myself outraged on behalf of Twump supporters, and began rooting for the comet! Hit something hard! Make it stop Jesus! Streep’s performance of Twump reminded me of the red queen from Alice in Wonderland.

Hold onto your hats, we have reached our final destination. The crazy President doesn’t believe the scientists! Huh? Huh? Can’t you grasp the subtle message, dripping like blood off of Carrie at the prom? Oh, my God!  They don’t believe the scientist’s and fail to grasp the comet’s impending doom! Leo becomes a social media darling, and Lawrence is decried as an alarmist. And no matter how many times Lawrence is verbally abused or mistreated; she stays loyal to Leo, despite his silence at her mistreatment.

Leo abandons his henish wife and begins a torrid affair with a vapid, heartless TV anchor she devil. “Huh? Huh? Get it? Media stars are terrible people. Leo’s wife discovers the affair, but she doesn’t get angry or raise her voice or anything. Then later, as the comet approaches, Leo decides to reconcile with his estranged wife. What the heck, it’s the end of the world, she’ll probably take me back.

As the comet starts to become visible to the naked eye, Leo and Lawrence call each other on the phone. Because everyone saw the comet, at the exact same moment! Leo asks, “Where are you?” She answers, I’m in Illinois. And in the next scene, just like that, Leo found her. Lawrence was working as a clerk in a store because agents with book deal offers, didn’t have her phone number. Lawrence the graduate student, takes up with a scruffy skateboarder who recognizes her from the news. And as we all know, chicks with advanced degrees really, dig skateboarders.

Just like that, he’s her steady and riding in the backseat of the car as Leo drives. But there is another crazy, a sort of Timothy Leary, meets Steve Jobs. He’s the super creepy hi-tech mega billionaire who answers criticism with firings, and answers questions, with meaningless platitudes.  “Huh? Huh? Get it?” A dangerous dependence on cranks and unproven technology, while ignoring basic science.

After the President spends ten of billions of dollars assembling rockets and bringing the space shuttle out of mothballs. And after everything is launched and, the missiles are in the air. The red President aborts the mission at the behest of the creepy billionaire, who wants to mine the comet for its rare minerals.

Funny story, asteroids are filled with rare minerals, comets are filled with ice. But that’s okay, I wouldn’t expect them to know that either. They didn’t even know how the space shuttle flew into space upside down, not riding on the external fuel tank, like a surfboard.

Plot twist shocker, the creepy billionaire’s technology fails. The creepy billionaire says he must use the restroom but really just runs away. Like Blofeld at the end of a 007 film. So, Leo shows up at his estranged wife’s home with Lawrence and skateboarder in tow. He asks in the doorway if there is any chance, she hugs his neck tenderly, announcing that she cheated on him college, so it’s all okay! She’ll take him back and invite two complete strangers into their home for and end of the world party. What cha drinking? Never mind the hangover. What do you want in your salad?

But in a miracle that defies all logic. Dr. Teddy also shows up at Leo’s house with a bottle of liquor and lets himself in through the front door. Now Dr. Teddy, lives in Washington D.C. and Leo lives in Michigan. How did Dr. Teddy find Leo’s house and why? Maybe, he just wanted to spend his last night on Earth, with a group people he’d barely knew.

The vapid, empty self-centered insane President invites Leo and his family on a secret spaceship, just for billionaires and important folks. Leo declines, because he’s learned,  that there’s no place like home.

My favorite line was “Attention citizens of Earth!”  I would have bet you money, you’d never get Meryl Streep to say such a thing. Michael Renee perhaps, but not Steep. In the middle of the movie and for no apparent reason other than to fill time and since they had some money left over . Ariana Grande performs a pointless musical number entitled, “I’m Filling in Time in a Bad Film for Money.”

I let the credits run,  because I wanted to be fully eligible for the class action lawsuit. I would find myself drifting off and then, suddenly stunned again by what I was watching. Every time I asked myself how much worse can this film get, I regretted asking. My punishment for letting the credits run was the final scene,  where the survivors emerge from the secret spacecraft twenty-seven thousand years later, naked. Because they can build a large spacecraft for two thousand people, complete with cryogenic freezing capability, but didn’t think to pack any drawers.

The President is killed by a feathered dinosaur, completing a joke begun forty minutes earlier. The creepy billionaire is using his cell phone to analyze the atmosphere. And it’s truly amazing that a cell phone would last for twenty-seven thousand years, making it almost seven times older than the Pyramids at Giza. Most of my cell phones, barely last four or five years. But this was a special cell phone, because when they landed naked on that alien world, with the feathered dinosaurs. His cell phone had no trouble connecting to the Internet.

Netflix, I’ve never asked before. But I want my money back. I now know what film is playing on all screens at the Cineplex in hell, replacing the long running popular feature, “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.”

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