Many most people have a fundamental inability to face potentially devastating threats to human existence. What matters most to them is hanging on to the conditions of life they know — the familiar, the banal — rather than dealing with whqt’s coming around the corner.

Five words — complacency by way of denial (or denial by way of complacency).

This is clearly the basic theme of Adam McKay‘s Don’t Look Up (12.10), which has been screening for a few and is screening for more than a few starting tomorrow.

Quick — name a significant 1963 film that dealt with roughly the same psychological response to imminent human extinction. Correct — Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Birds.

Bodega Bay was abounding with complacency and denial, and it all came to a bubble in that famous luncheonette scene in which recent bird attacks were discussed and the town drunk (Karl Swenson) occasionally proclaimed “it’s the end of the world!” He was right and nobody listened. Because drunks are only to be tolerated, if that.

In Don’t Look Up Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence play astonomers who’ve detected an oncoming meteor that will most likely destroy the earth upon impact. They are also playing Swenson’s character.