Don't Look Up Contains An Intentional Editing Mistake

Writer-director Adam McKay's "Don't Look Up," now streaming on Netflix, has earned mixed-to-negative reviews, with our own Chris Evangelista calling it "a smug, shrill disaster movie satire." Despite its star-studded cast, led by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, the knives and pitchforks — and plastic social media sporks — are out for this film. That includes not just reviewers but also viewers, who have caught what appears to be a blooper in the background.

Said blooper (or non-blooper, if McKay is to be believed) involves the crew of "Don't Look Up," who can be spotted in their face masks off to the side of Lawrence about 90 minutes into the movie. Entertainment Weekly likened this moment to the infamous "Game of Thrones" episode whereby a cup of Starbucks coffee could be glimpsed in the medieval world of Westeros. HBO promptly removed that cup from the episode as the flub went viral.

With "Don't Look Up," it was people in the frame, not anachronistic coffee, and it seems their appearance was intentional. Someone posted a clip to Tik Tok showing the moment in question, with the hashtags #oops and #moviemistakes. As outlets like E! Online picked up on the story, McKay himself chimed in on Twitter, as you can see below.

McKay linked to the E! story pointing out the mistake, and wrote, "Good eye! We left that blip of the crew in on purpose to commemorate the strange filming experience." The cynical view would be to say that he's just trying to save face, but actually, it's the crew members who were trying to follow Covid protocols and possibly save lives by covering their faces with masks.

You can see the blurry frame from the rather shaky cam shot below. It comes in at the 88:10-minute mark.

A Feature or a Bug?

"Don't Look Up" has big issues like climate change on its mind, and in the grand scheme of things, it's not very important whether this shot with the crew in the background was intentional or not. In general, though, I do think there's a tendency sometimes with movies we like (in the case of filmmakers, perhaps even movies they've made) to attribute certain flaws to intention on the part of the artist or artists responsible.

This is a point that was driven home (to me, at least) by the most recent episode the Filmcast, where they're talking about the lackluster staging of the fight sequences and the seemingly counterintuitive placement of the line, "I still know kung fu," in "The Matrix Resurrections." Was it all part of the director's design, or are such features actually bugs?

The same question applies to McKay's film. Here's the official synopsis for "Don't Look Up."

DON'T LOOK UP tells the story of two low-level astronomers who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth. Written and Directed by Adam McKay.

"Don't Look Up" is streaming on Netflix now.