Don’t Look Up is clearly the biggest Netflix release of this year. Not because it has the biggest budget, but because it has one of the grandest casts ever assembled for a film.
It also helps that it is a comedy that everyone needs and deserves right now. And since it would definitely leave you with an afterthought, I have prepared this list of movies similar to Don’t Look Up just so your hunger for satirical take-down doesn’t end there.
Directed by Adam Mckey, Don’t Look Up is about two scientists played by Jeniffer Lawrence and Leonardo Di Caprio, who discover that the Comet they have just noticed is orbiting to have a catastrophic collision with earth.
So, realizing that an impending disaster that will wipe off humanity from the surface of the earth is evident, the super-anxious duo goes to the white house expecting a major action to be taken by the government. Only to be met with delays and callousness to an extent where the President of the United States played by Meryl Streep, decides to team up with a corporation to mine the comet instead of finding solutions.
I’m not so sure if all of the satirical implications really land in Don’t Look Up, but I hope people can see through it to understand how pressing the Climate Crisis is becoming. Since most of the governments are still trying to look beyond it, only movies like Don’t Look Up can be of help.
So, if you are someone who appreciated the political satire at the center of the film, or someone who liked the way it unclothes bureaucracy, these double bills can be of great help:
1. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is one of the greatest satires of all time. Stanley Kubrick’s film was about the fears of a Nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States and how the latter blatantly handles the threat.
Since Don’t Look Up’s threat is more apocalyptic in nature, it’s a wee bit different from Kubrick’s film. However, the inability of a bureaucratic and mostly stupid government to handle a pressing and immediate issue because their own agendas need to be fulfilled first, makes it one of the most immediate films that come to mind.
2. Network (1976)
Sidney Lumet’s Network has to be one of the most outspoken satires I have ever seen. While it doesn’t deal with disasters of apocalyptic proportions like Don’t Look Up, it is one of the very few movies that manage to bring the inadequacy of today’s media to the forefront.
If you were amused or incredibly pissed off by the entire news segment in Don’t Look Up, get a load of Lumet’s masterpiece. From the justification of turning a piece of explosive news into a ‘happy moment’ to blatantly not recognizing what is permeating as a disaster within our lives, Network serves as a perfect double feature.
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3. They Live (1988)
John Carpenter’s They Live may not be one of the first films that immediately come to mind, however, the satirical tone of class division gives it a kind of urgency that still makes it to this list of movies similar to Don’t Look Up.
Basically, a genre film, They Live is about an aimless and unnamed drifter who possesses special powers in his sunglasses. These said sunglasses help him see through the hypocritical and alien species that reside within the ruling class of the world. An outright takedown of capitalistic battle, They Live, like Don’t Look Up, looks at the hierarchy that settles to run away when things get murky for them.
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4. South Park: Bigger Longer Uncut (1999)
A South Park musical can be no match to Adam Mckay and his comedies, right? Wrong! This is one of the sharpest and stupidly bonkers counterparts that Don’t Look Up can ever find. In this wild, experimental animated version of the South Park show, the boys sprawl through a series of chaotic sequences when they watch an R-rated movie featuring two Canadian actors.
While they come out swearing, the US government, Satan, and Saddam Hussain get involved. Eventually, an apocalypse and a war between USA and Canada are on the cusp and everyone is more eager to shut Carmen up.
Watch South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut on Prime Video
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5. Team America: World Police (2004)
Birthed by the sharp minds of Trey Parker & Matt Stone, you would either find Team America: World Police incredibly funny or will be offended by its crassness. Either way, you can’t disagree that it is an audacious film that can’t be ignored.
Targeting the left, right, and center of US’s politically charged people, the film follows a specialized American unit that has to save the country from the unhinged act of war announced by North Korean ruler Kim Jong-il, while also trying to fight the fierce protest of a group of Hollywood liberals at odds with their tactics.
Mixing satire with comedy that is meant to make you lose a few screws in your head, this puppet show is one of a kind film that you must check out even if you liked Don’t Look Up or not.
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6. Idiocracy (2006)
A smart person in a post-apocalyptic world that is going aggressively stupider? Sounds too similar. Like, Don’t Look Up where smart people are trying to convince a stupid government through fact and scientific evidence about their eventual doom, Idiocracy is about a world post that doom.
Directed by Mike Judge, the film is about an American soldier and a prostitute getting into a government hibernation experiment that goes horribly wrong. What follows is a funny and incredibly smart satire on mass commercialization of everything that sells.
7. In the Loop (2009)
Another political satire that I was reminded of while watching Don’t Look Up was the 2009 British comedy In the Loop, directed by Armando Iannucci. Following the crass remark made by British Cabinet Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander), a series of ‘unforeseeable’ events take place that lead to the US and UK deciding and dictating the way the Iraq war plays out.
Made all the more biting and profane due to Peter Capaldi’s excellent performance as the political spin doctor Malcolm Tucker, In the Loop blends the elements that were found in Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove to weave an array of events that feel peculiarly plausible.
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8. The Interview (2014)
And while we are at dumb comedies after politicians, how can we forget the super controversial Sony product The Interview? Directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the 2014 film was the talk of the town when the North Korean government threatened to take actions against the United States if they released the film.
This is one of the first cases when fiction actually became reality and the inadequacy of said governments came to the forefront. In hindsight, the film was about two journalists who schedule an interview with the North Korean supreme leader only to be coerced by the CIA to assassinate him. The comparison to Don’t Look Up is evident because it also talks about the government putting its own agendas before anything else.
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9. God Bless America (2011)
When we talk about movies that are similar to Don’t Look Up, a list wouldn’t be complete without introducing you all to the underrated awesomeness of Bobcat Goldthwait’s God Bless America.
A pitch-black comedy about a man who one day decides that he has had enough with the stupid, pop-culture, media-obsessed country that the US has become, and decides to kill everyone who doesn’t understand their own stupidness.
Teaming up with a teenager to do the said deed, God Bless America finds humor in extremely hidden places. It is one of those nihilistic fantasies that might not hold up in 2021, but one can’t just look away and dismiss it on those grounds.