Satirical Techniques in Don’t Look Up

The 2021 film, Don’t Look Up is a satirical comedy that uses many satirical devices to critique and make fun of various aspects of contemporary society. Techniques such as hyperbole, irony, and parody are used in order to fulfill the vision the filmmakers had.

To begin, the film uses hyperbole to exaggerate the numerous issues in society, such as the threat of an asteroid hitting Earth, the media’s obsession with sensationalist news, and the political polarization that prevents any effective actions from being taken. Probably the most obvious example of hyperbole in this film is the impending doom the scientists express when talking about the asteroid that is heading towards Earth. After their discovery of the asteroid is made, they attempt to bring this information to the White House, although it does not go as well as they planned. The use of hyperbole is seen again when the extremely self-interested President (Meryl Streep) dismisses the threat and is depicted as a power-hungry, egotistical leader. The White House Staff is also portrayed as dimwitted and incapable of recognizing this impending extinction. The exaggeration of these things creates a very frustrating feeling that the target audience can relate to.

Another layer to this satire is the use of irony. The film uses irony to highlight the absurdity of the situations portrayed. For example, the scientist’s warnings about the asteroid are dismissed as fake news by some politicians and members of the public, while the media is more interested in the personal lives of the scientists. This creates a sense of confusion within the scientists similar to the confusion many people get when observing the current problems in the world compared to what news outlets choose to talk about instead. In addition to the utter ignorance of this humanity-threatening event amongst news sources, the spread of misinformation takes place in the film as well. The scientists provide concrete evidence regarding the seriousness of their claims, however members of the public take to social media and try to denounce these claims as fake news. This may seem like an absurd thing to do and the fake news claims may have been a little far-fetched, however compared to how things work in today’s world, the filmmakers were not far off from reality.

Finally, another very prominent satirical device used was parody. This film parodies different styles of movies including disaster movies, political dramas, and talk shows. For example, the character President Orlean, played by Meryl Streep, is a parody of real-life politicians who are more concerned with their image and popularity than with actually governing. These parodies combined with the other satirical techniques mentioned earlier caused this movie to be a very impactful and eye-opening film that used satire to its fullest advantage.

Overall, Don’t Look Up uses a variety of satirical devices to lampoon various aspects of contemporary society, highlighting the dangers of ignorance, apathy, and polarization in the face of global threats.

Major League

As we all know, major league sports are about the best of the best athletes coming together to compete with each other for fame and glory. But in the movie, Major League, the story takes on a very different direction from the typical sports movie genre. The film takes place in Cleveland, Ohio, where a former showgirl and now widowed Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton) is the new owner of the Cleveland Indians baseball club. Phelps hates the city of Cleveland and wants to move the team to Miami but in order to do so she needs the attendance in the stadium to go down. Her plan is to put the worst professional ballplayers on a team in order to break the lease from Cleveland.

Raggedy Baseball players from all around were called up to try out for the Indians as their season of losing approached. Some of the washed-up players were a young pitcher Ricky “Wild Thang” Vaughn who was a felon and pitched 100 mph with no control to third-baseman Roger Dorn, who was a former MLB star but won’t dive for the ball to prevent injury. You can hardly call any of these players professional, with them all having a major problem effecting how they play baseball. The team starts off the season very slowly but when they learn that Phelps is going to release them no matter if they win or not they get their act together and win the pennant. The irony of these shabby ballplayer that were hired to lose and won it all in the end is exactly the type of story and comedy people can relate to.

The film follows Aristostle’s definition of comedy by following characters who the audience can relate to very easily. Pair that with an antagonist that’s very wealthy and your in for a world of laughs that mocks the rich and praises the working class. By the end of the movie each character solved their problem and used their new found skill to propel the team further into victory. A majority of the comedy is driven from Phelp’s plan to get them lose but is actually the reason they decide to change their old ways and become real profesional baseball players in the end. And with every character trying to win just to spite their owner, it shows how people would react to being lied to in a comedic sense that uses realistic scenarios and unrealstic baseball players to convey how anyone can accomplish something if they try hard enough.

Nightcrawler: A Satire on the News Industry

The 2014 film Nightcrawler starring Jake Gyllenhaal is a satire on the public’s obsession with shock journalism and crime. The film centers around a man named Louis Bloom who makes a living by capturing crime scenes on video and then selling these videos to news companies. He drives through the nighttime streets of Los Angeles in search of crime scenes that he can capture by any means necessary while reading ‘how to be successful’ books on the side. His chilling behavior is evident throughout the film.

One example of his strange behavior is when he comes across a nearly dead person, and instead of showing any remorse, he sticks his camera into his face. Another example is when he breaks into a house where a robbery and murder had just taken place and doesn’t appear to feel any sort of sympathy or emotions for the victims. The most noticeable scene in the movie, though, is when someone he knew dies due to his greed and he shows no remorse, instead talking about workplace etiquette and how it was deserved because he wasn’t a ‘trustworthy employee’ of his.

The news industry’s competitiveness is portrayed intensely throughout the movie, and only heightens as Louis gets more successful. With his stress from capturing eye-catching material that he can sell, he goes to further lengths than previously in trying to make money. Jake Gyllenhaal’s entire character is ironic, because everything that he seems to be the exact opposite of what you’d expect someone to say or react to. 

Raise the Red Lantern

“Raise the Red Lantern” is a film based in 20th century China where we follow Songlian as she enters a system of being a fourth mistress in a household.

I found the movie very interesting and I think it connects to a lot of the ideas in the literature we read in class. Gender and class binaries are present throughout the entire film. Songlian brings herself into this system for money. She starts off on the path of university and perhaps a job, but ends up bankrupt because of her fathers death, forcing her to turn to a marriage for money. She falls into a system where the goal is for women to compete for attention from a man (the master) and have their lanterns lit. The women in this system will do anything for the attention of the master. The women often turn against each other or even lie in order for their lanterns to get lit. These red lanterns symbolize wealth and prosperity.

Songlian feels trapped mentally, and physically she never leaves the house, symbolizing her mental state. At the end of the film, she “goes mad” as the other characters say, but this “madness” is what sets her free. She is no longer a part of the cycle mentally because she has freed her mind from the trap she was in. The brutal cycle that this story is, is emphasized in the end as well when a new mistress is married to the master, repeating the cycle all over again. This shows how hard binaries, power, and systems are to be broken sometimes.

Many film techniques are used to highlight these ideas. For example, Songlian is seen a lot being framed by things like windows or doorways. This adds to the idea of her feeling trapped and how as a woman in this time, she is opressed.

Satire in Get Out

Get Out is a horror film directed by Jordan Peele, which uses satire to critique the racism and social issues in American society. The film follows the story of Chris , a young African American man who visits the family of his white girlfriend, Rose , only to discover a disturbing secret about their family.

One of the ways in which Get Out uses satire is through its portrayal of the white, upper class people. Roses family presents themselves as liberal and progressive, but their attitudes towards Chris and other black characters in the film reveal a deeply ingrained racism.

In addition, the film satirizes the mistreatment of black culture in America. Roses family´s plot to transplant the consciousness of white people into the bodies of black people is a metaphor for taking advantage of black culture by white society.

Get Out is a powerful satire that exposes the racism and social issues present in modern American society.

Comedy in “Grown Ups”

“Grown Ups” is a 2010 comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan. The film stars several popular actors like Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Kevin James, who all have grown their careers through comedic films and television. The movie follows five childhood friends who reunite after 30 years to attend the funeral of their basketball coach and spend the weekend together with their families.

The film uses a lot of physical comedy, slapstick humor, and crude jokes to elicit laughter from the audience. It also plays on the idea of grown adults acting like children, with the main characters engaging in immature antics and pranks. Many of these events take the characters back to their childhoods and help them rediscover old bonds. This tactic within the film gives the audience a good laugh, while also helping them grasp human nature and how it works.

While some audiences find the film entertaining and funny, others criticize it for its reliance on lowbrow humor and lack of depth in its characters and plot. I believe the film was a comedic success as it gained a lot of revenue and paved the way for the second film “Grown Ups 2”.

Overall, whether or not someone finds “Grown Ups” to be a funny comedy will depend on their personal taste in humor.

¨The Simpsons¨ as Satire

The show is known for its satirical take on American society. The Simpsons uses satire in a number of ways. One of the most common methods is through its portrayal of the fictional town of Springfield, which is meant to represent a typical American town. The show satirizes many aspects of American life such as politics and religion.

For example, the character of Homer Simpson is a satire of the working-class American man, who is often portrayed as overweight and lazy. The show also satirizes American politics through its portrayal of characters like Mayor Quimby, who is a parody of corrupt politicians.

In addition, The Simpsons often satirizes popular culture through its use of celebrity guest stars and parodies of famous movies and television shows.

The Simpsons has become an icon of American satire, and its use of humor and satire has helped highlight on the many flaws and issues that exist within American society.

The 22-2023 School Year for Dummies

Good morning huskies and welcome to the official newsletter for everything orange and blue. We’ve got some big changes this year (that most people aren’t so happy about). No need to fret huskies! Here is your “How To” guide for any and everything you need to know about the new and improved Oak Park and River Forest High School.

  1. IDs! Whether you’re a fresh-faced first-year or an exhausted senior everybody must wear their IDs! And don’t worry huskies, no one, and I mean NO ONE has a good ID photo. The school has made sure of that by using an iPhone that has just been manhandled by a toddler eating Cheetos to take everyone’s pic. If your lanyard isn’t out and visible when walking through those main doors on your way into school, no way are you making it to class on time. Plus everyone behind you in line will be just thrilled that you’ve made the morning foot traffic even worse. It doesn’t matter if you walk through those doors every morning, greeted by the same person, at exactly 7:46 with your ID on. If you forgot it at home on a random Tuesday in April, you will be personally escorted out of the school by none other than Linda Parker.
  2. Keeping those hallways spick and span! I personally think the hallways could use a good sweeping, considering all the mushed cafeteria fries I see on the daily. So you can understand my disappointment when I learned that “Hall Sweeps” did not mean they were taking a broom to the main staircase. Either way, huskies, make sure you aren’t a-wondering when that bell starts a-ringing. 30 seconds or 10 minutes late, you will be missing major class time. No excuses! Bathroom was crowded? Pee at home. Couldn’t find the right room? You should be less directionally challenged. You tumbled down the stairs, broke your toe, and all your books flew out of your bag? Pick em right on up and hobble your way to class!
  3. Bright and Early! Here at OPRFHS, we go by postman rules. Rain, snow, or shine, we make sure to only unlock the doors furthest away from the parking spots you paid 200 dollars to park in. If it’s a particularly windy day, make sure you’re out the door just a few minutes earlier, to avoid getting blown over. Refer to number two as to why you don’t want to be late. And remember huskies, the early bird gets the worm or the bone or whatever.
  4. Lunchtime! Last but not least huskies it’s time for lunch. Fourth, fifth, or sixth period, lunch is a nice break from your stressful school day. Last year we could eat anywhere we wanted, it was chaos! Now we don’t care if the 100-decibel level noise emanating out of the north and south caf hurt your ears, or if the horrendous led lights require sunglasses, everyone must eat in the lunchroom. Unless of course you cover your food with a garbage bag because that is much less suspicious than carrying a chicken sandwich through the hallways.

Any way you decide to spend your school time will surely be improved by these simple tips. Have any more questions and you know where to find me, frantically running to my next class to avoid being taken out by a broom. And here’s to a healthy and happy 22-23 school year. Cheers huskies!

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians presents as a textbook romantic comedy. As the protagonist of the movie Rachel Chu certainly fits the bill as a comic hero. Aristotle references a “humble or disadvantaged background” in his definition of this character and seeing as Rachel was smuggled out of China by her single, working class mother, she seems to match this description pretty perfectly. Especially in comparison to her boyfriend, Nick’s, insanely wealthy family the couple goes to visit in Singapore, where a majority of the movie ends up taking place. She is however, highly educated and career driven and completely adored by Nick.

When they arrive in Singapore, Nick’s family, particularly his mother, decide that Rachel is simply not good enough for their family and begin their attempts of breaking them up. They are there to attend a wedding and at the bachelor/bachelorette party Rachel is harassed by the women there, even ending up with a gutted, dead fish on the bed of her hotel room. After the wedding Rachel decides that she loves Nick, but can’t possibly imagine marrying into his family and tries to leave. Nick stops her and is going to propose before he himself is stopped by his mother and grandmother, further confirming Rachel’s beliefs that she can’t be with Nick. Rachel leaves again but in the end Nick runs onto her plane and proposes to her before she can go back to New York. He says that he would be willing to give up his money and his family all for her, but in the end it’s clear he won’t have to when he proposes with his family ring. So, Rachel says yes this time.

Throughout the movie, we can see just how deserving of this love the two are. Despite his background, Nick is humble and kind and truly in love with Rachel for exactly who she is. Rachel is true to herself, confident and just an overall likable character who is incredibly easy to root for. Making their ending up together that much more sweet. It’s clear how perfect the two are for each other right away in the establishing shots. They are then kept apart by their class differences and parental interference, both hallmarks of romantic comedies. Yet, despite all the obstacles they are eventually married.

Even though comedies don’t necessarily challenge you and force you to think about the issues of the world, they are still and important aspect of media. Even if all a comedy does for someone is bring them joy, that is more than enough for it to be a valid form storytelling. Not everything has to be provocative and intellectual, sometimes light entertainment is needed to distract from the tragedies that can be present in daily life. Knowing that a comedy always has a happy ending ensures that the viewer will always get their desired outcome and enjoy themselves by watching it. Comedies can also touch on important issues without having to make the ending tragic so that the message is heard. Especially in a romantic comedy like Crazy Rich Asians, the idea of class differences and tradition are heavily referenced and in the end the movie is able to show how trivial those things are and that true love can rise above all. It also is able to discuss themes surrounding family and the importance of blood, but also the expectations that come along with those relationships. All this to say, even though comedies may be perceived as shallow, taking a closer look will actually allow you to see the value in a genre with a consistent and formulaic writing style.

Eurovision and Comedy

In the movie ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’, Will Ferrell stars as Lars. Lars is somewhat of a disappointment to both his dad and town: he, despite being pretty old, lives at home and is still chasing his dream of being a famous musician in his Icelandic town. The movie is set up as a rom-com between Lars and his band-mate Sigrit, who is obviously in love with Lars from the beginning.

Throughout the movie, Lars makes many (funny) mistakes. He interacts awkwardly with fellow contestants, fights with Sigrit, and makes a fool of himself onstage countless times. However, no matter how badly he messes up, Lars ends up able to pull through and win. The movie ends with Lars winning the competition and marrying Sigrit, getting his perfect happily-ever-after.

At first glance, this movie is incredibly stupid. Will Ferrell is incredibly awkward and difficult to watch on screen as he makes countless dumb mistakes. Their songs, outfits and badly done accents make the movie even worse, although in a funny way. However, through this juvenile comedic style, the movie is able to convey some important themes and messages.

Lars is a normal guy, living in the town he grew up in and dealing with things like the loss of his mother. He faces relentless bullying from people in his town, but no matter what, refuses to give up on his dreams. He also has normal flaws, often being self-centered, putting his own wants before those of Sigrit’s and refusing to change his mind. While the themes and lessons the movie teaches are best suited for a younger audience, they can truly apply to anyone. The movie encourages its viewers to be authentically themselves, chase their dreams no matter how old you are and allowing yourself to be happy. This movie, like most other comedies, might be sniffed at due to its lack of seriousness. But, it is through that very lack that it is able to engage audiences and showcase cheesier themes that may otherwise get lost in the shuffle.

The Freedom of the Lego Movie

‘The Lego Movie’, starring Chris Pratt is a movie about an construction worker named Emmett who tries his best to be ordinary and fit in with his peers. His job as a construction worker reinforces that role, as anyone who has built Legos knows that you must always follow the instructions. This film uses comedy to display how constantly following the rules, or doing what is expected of you is boring and makes you an uninteresting person, while the ‘master builders’ or those who can create something out of nothing with just a simple idea, are idolized for their abilities by society.

This film follows Aristotle definition of comedy, with Emmett starting off the movie with no status what so ever, and ending the film as a master builder and the savior of his town. Additionally, his path is quite noble, as he sacrifices himself in order to save his friends in time of need, and is somehow mystically brought back to life. In the end he defeats the antagonist and reunited with his friends as a hero, signifying his massive increase in status. While all this is adds to the film being perceived as a comedy, the decision to make the story Legos as well as appealing to a much younger audience is a genius way to push the message that it’s oaky to disregard societal norms and systems that we have in place ,and to ignore the ‘instructions’ and find your own way in life with your own original idea is heroic.

Groundhog Day and Bittersweet Lessons

Whether or not you’ve seen the movie, you’ve probably heard of the expression “it feels like groundhog day”. The phrase indeed refers to the iconic 1993 movie, Groundhog Day. The movie stars Bill Murray who plays an arrogant weatherman, Phil Connors, traveling to Pennsylvania to report on their annual Groundhog day ceremony. Phil quickly realizes he is trapped reliving that same day, February 2nd, no matter what he does. Despite his attempts to change his actions and escape Pennslyvania, Phil wakes up in the same place on the same day every morning.

The reason for the time loop is left unanswered, but the story’s central conflict is still Murray’s inability to escape it. The movie perfectly encapsulates “the rise and fall of a sympathetic figure”. Phil initially comes off as a pretty unlikeable character, and in a way, his circumstances almost seem like karmic justice for his obnoxiousness yet you cannot help but pity him for the tortuous and maddening effects of having to relive the same day, potentially forever. Phil explores the limits of his predicament by jumping off buildings, binge-eating junk food, smoking cigarettes, and duping people. He eventually learns to take advantage of his situation, for example, he takes piano lessons and plans the perfect date to impress a woman he likes. Rita, his love interest is ultimately what helps inspire him to change his character, in a way making the film a sort of romantic comedy.

By the end of the movie, Phil had learned to become a better, more compassionate person. The comedic and absurd nature by which it took him to reflect on his treatment of others is what makes the story powerful. The transformation of a rude and arrogant character into a compassionate one is not a new concept in the world of stories, but the way this movie told that story is what makes it particularly unique. The concept of a time loop allowed Phil to go through countless stages of philosophical outlooks on his life; egoism, his initial outlook, and his character at the beginning of the movie when he is rude to everyone around him.  Hedonism, when he recklessly engages in self-indulgence after realizing he gets to redo the day. Nihilism, when he becomes so depressed with his situation that he tries to kill himself. And altruism, when he wakes up on February 3rd after learning the importance of generosity and living in the moment. 

Ultimately, the movie has gone down in history as a classic for a reason, it tells the story of human greed and compassion without being heavy and depressing but rather in a light-hearted comedic manner that forces the viewers to imagine what they would have done in that situation themselves and simultaneously come to the conclusion that life is about the little things, and every day is important.