Adam McKay: Neither political party ‘has much to be proud about over the last 40 years’


I watched Don’t Look Up over the holidays, and I am not part of the internet community with strong feelings for or against it. It was too long, the script was not great, at least two B-plots could have been jettisoned, but there were some legitimately funny moments, and I thought Leo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence were great in it. One of my biggest complaints for what the film got wrong was the politics of a global crisis: President Orlean (played by Meryl Streep) is probably supposed to be a Trump-like figure who hates facts and science. Her supporters are cult-like and arguably supposed to be like the MAGA death cult. So, clearly, this is a send up of that particular kind of Republican political mess, where ignorant, anti-science people form a cult around a charismatic lunatic, right? Wrong. In an interview with EW several weeks ago, director Adam McKay refuses to commit to the idea that the fictitious President Orlean represents Republican politics. These quotes went viral in recent days, despite it being a weeks-old interview:

The Oval Office was re-created by production designer Clayton Hartley at a studio in Boston, where the film was shot. “It’s a good stage for the insane carnival ride that has been modern political life,” says McKay of the setting. Despite Streep wearing a red suit in the scene, the director will not reveal whether her character is a Republican or Democrat in the film. “I don’t think either party has much to be proud about over the last 40 years,” says McKay.

[From EW]

Ah, yes, both sides! One side is a death cult feeding anti-science propaganda to its ignorant followers and the other side is… telling them to get vaccinated and wear masks. One side supported a violent and deadly terrorist insurrection at the Capitol and the other side thought that the insurrectionists were going to murder them. One side pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord and the other side… signed the accord and re-committed to it. Don’t you see, both sides are equally to blame? Don’t Look Up could have committed to the very particular kind of right-wing propaganda machine that we see in real life. Instead, Adam McKay pulled his punches. What a loser.

World Premiere of Netflix's 'Don't Look Up'

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Netflix.

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48 Responses to “Adam McKay: Neither political party ‘has much to be proud about over the last 40 years’”

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  1. Izzy says:

    Only one party tried to overthrow democracy. Miss me with this mess.

    • Emma says:

      Exactly! I know the Democrats have problems / aren’t perfect, but what other realistic choice is there for anyone who cares about maintaining a semblance of democracy in this country? I will be the first to admit my party has a LONG way to go on racial equality, but look at the Republicans, bunch of old white men gleefully suppressing the Black vote and demonizing immigrants.

    • Mac says:

      Don’t look Up was written by David Sirota who is a Hillary-hating Bernie Bro. President Orlean is supposed to be Hillary, that is why you see the photo of Streep and Clinton on the desk.

    • sunny says:


    • whatWHAT? says:

      one party wants health care for all, one does not.

      one party wants every person (who is eligible) to vote. one party wants to keep a large majority of eligible voters from voting.

      one party wants to invest in infrastructure. one does not.

      one party wants to address climate change. one does not.

      one party wants livable incomes. one does not.

      mckay is the DEFINITION of cis het white male privilege.

    • kelsey says:

      THIS!!!!!!! Agree 1000%

      Sorry for the all caps but I am so sick and tired of people thinking Democrats and Republicans are the same. Democrats are far from perfect but they mostly do the right thing and aren’t a bunch of lunatics wanting to run the country into the ground.

      I am so damn sick of this “both sides” crap. One side is trying their best to preserve this country and the other side wants to turn us into a fascist country. There is no both sides.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Actually, I am beginning to think that Repugnant’s are willing to burn the country into oblivion unless they get everything that THEY want!!! The Repugnant’s are nothing but school yard bullies who will use force without hesitation to have it their way or NO way!! Let’s face it, the Repugnant’s are only out for themselves, no one else. They will be the death of America because they have already started destroying our Democracy.

        BTW, my name if from a song I love!

  2. Vera says:

    Tell me you’re a rich cishet white man without telling me…

    • STRIPE says:


    • Dee (2) says:

      Right? Right off the top of my head the violence against women act of 1994, Don’t ask Don’t tell repeal, Dodd0 Frank Act? When people say things like this, they mean, nothing which impacts MY life, and is of great importance to ME has occurred, therefore nothing has changed,

    • WithTheAmerican says:

      Also the Bernie bro producer David Sirota -white cishet rich male- hates Hillary and I noticed they tried to make the Clintons evil in this movie too.

      Absolutely ridiculous POV to both sides these two parties right now, of all times. But also, Republicans have been the party of criminals and encroaching fascism for decades now.

    • lucy2 says:

      Exactly. It’s very easy to BOTH SIDES! everything when you and your life will be secure and unchanged no matter what.
      I’m guessing McKay wasn’t one of the millions helped by Obamacare/ACA either, huh? Because, though it’s not perfect, that is something to be proud of that helped a lot of people.

      • STRIPE says:

        This this this this. Its super easy to not notice a difference when it’s not your rights on the line. A libertarian leaning podcast I listen to and actually recommend in general, Abe Lincoln’s To Hat, was very much “theres no difference between Trump and Hillary, theres no difference in the two national parties they’re both bought and paid for” leading up to 2016. While I agree that both parties are under pressure from corporations, the military industrial complex, billionaire donors etc, the ethos of the Dem party is clearly better for women and other power minorities. But, the podcast is hosted by all men.

        They came around pretty quickly into the Trump admin, thank God, but I cant tell you how disappointing it was and how much their lack of intersectional thinking was showing. Cishet men really have it made.

    • E says:

      Exactly @Vera!

    • NIlestheninja says:

      THAT PART!

  3. Mac says:

    If the asteroid was supposed to hit in six months, why was it winter the entire movie????

  4. Léna says:

    Politicians will always protect themselves first, their interests and their own power.

    You can clearly see the references to Trump/Ivanka and MAGA idiots in the movie, I don’t understand how he can say otherwise. It’s a great satire movie, but also quite depressing

  5. Juls says:

    By his commentary, I’m surprised he didn’t cast Susan Sarandon in this film.

    • WithTheAmerican says:

      David Sirota is all we need to know, he’s Susan but without the backlash, because male.

  6. Winnie says:

    Shut up white man.

  7. jamie says:

    Archbishop Desmond Tutu said “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, then you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

    I’ve even seen it on this site’s comments sometimes and one commenter pointed out that presenting both sides in some situations is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    Both sideism is not the critical thinking flex people think it is.

    You don’t have to join the fight, but you need to stop visiting the enemy’s sideline. Complicity
    grows in your footprints.

  8. teresa says:

    This is the problem with people who already have a great deal, they truly expect that the government should do things for them to make their lives better, otherwise, the government has failed. Which is so narcissistic. I used to have this argument with some of my students. Mr. McKay, doesn’t understand that it isn’t the upper middle class that needs supporting, it’s the underclass, the people we keep crushing. So PPACA was a huge f’ing deal for those people who never got the benefits of having health insurance. Like the working poor, who didn’t qualify for Medicaid but now do. There was that child tax rebate that people have been getting for months now, that’s a huge deal for parents, in particular again, the working poor. Do people like McKay even know what child care cost or braces or whatever it is that crushes the working poor!

    And I could go on and on an on about how wrong McKay is, but he’s such an a$$ his own best friend dumped him, so he probably can’t learn that he and his aren’t the folks who need help.

    • WithTheAmerican says:

      Preach. Democrats passed so many good bills just in the last year, it’s like WTF is he smoking.

    • loulou says:

      Agreed, one party made marriage equal and supports trans rights, the other sponsors conversion therapies. But yes both sides are to blame…/s

  9. Cortney says:

    I’m glad Will Ferrell dumped his ass. 🙄🙄🙄

    • TIFFANY says:

      This right here.

    • smcollins says:

      Exactly what I was thinking, that I’m starting to see why WF cut ties.
      As far as the movie….my husband gave up half way through, he couldn’t watch anymore. I stopped watching, too, but went back to it the next day determined to see it through to the end. I really wanted to like it, and it did have some good, funny moments, but yeah…it wasn’t very good and I definitely don’t intend to watch it again (once was enough).

  10. Jennifer Smith says:

    I am just here to say 100% to allllll of this. The write-up was excellent, and the comments are all *chef’s kiss*. Why I love this site and this community!

  11. Azizian says:

    Just a counter thought – the climate goals that were committed to at the summit are insufficient and incredibly disappointing. I find Biden does have some responsibility for that.
    So when he says BOTH parties I don’t disagree. On some topics both aren’t great. No one can call the democratic party a green party with a straight face. Although Trump was atrocious I feel like its ok to continue to still have high standards and hold parties accountable.

    • Ana170 says:

      No one said Democrats are perfect but Biden being a bit disappointing is miles away from Trump claiming climate change is a hoax.

  12. EllenOlenska says:

    As if team republican MAGAT was going to watch his movie anyway. And yes, both teams could do more but look at the country they are dealing with..huge swaths refused to get vaccinated with an IMMEDIATE killer staring them in the face…you want them to do something that’s requires thinking more than a sound bite? Fat chance.

    And they are all screaming about gasoline prices and drill here drill now…where are they going? Most are working from home…not all, but most. And they aren’t going to buy electric cars because they don’t make them big enough yet…

  13. IMARA219 says:

    I mean he’s not wrong. Maybe now a white male has voiced it people will listen 😊.

  14. Amy Bee says:

    He’s right.

    • Imara219 says:

      I saw Dont Look Up and loved it. I immediately saw the right and left-wing roasting. It was fairly obvious that people are the problem and when things become overly politicized and divisive. The movie did a great job of showing how both Liberals and Conservatives screw things up because of their biases. That’s a realistic and honest message. Reading commentary both sides are upset about the messages. I wish instead that both sides did introspection.

      • Amy Bee says:

        The 1994 Crime Bill which was has led to mass incarceration of mainly black and latino people was signed into law by a Democratic President so yes both sides have done some bad things.

      • Imara219 says:

        AmyBee this is why I believe Clinton should get all the smoke he’s been getting these past few years. He definitely deserves to be taken off of the pedestal Dems and Liberals placed him on. #ButYallNotReadyforthatConversation

      • Emma says:

        Bill Clinton deserves all the heat and more that he has been getting. I have zero patience for entitled old white men like him, or their misguided apologists.

        With that said, the two parties are not remotely the same on many issues. The Democratic Party is the only one that does *anything* for the rights of traditionally marginalized groups like Black people. I still remember that picture of Congress at I think a Trump State of the Union from a few years back, with all white men and a very very few white women on the Republican side, but a more diverse group for the Democrats, with a prominent contingent of diverse women wearing suffragette white.

    • Lexluthorblack says:

      I totally agree.

    • Chachi says:


  15. Arpeggi says:

    When it comes to climate changes, the biggest threat we are facing, he’s right though.

    The vast majority of countries have done nothing: politicians will fly to fancy meetings, they’ll sign treaties and shake hands/bump elbows, do photo-ops with activists like Greta Thunberg, but ultimately, however concerned they pretend to be, nothing significant comes out of it. They’ll say they need to care about their citizens working in those industry (Joe Manchin, anyone?) and that the transition needs to be smooth in order to preserve the economy while the people are facing “extreme weather” events every season. The Canadian government, which includes a former Greenpeace activist, bought a pipeline while promising to plant trees as if those 2 activities cancelled one another (and those trees haven’t been planted yet) and claiming to take climate changes super seriously.

    The COP26 President was weeping and apologizing for how little was agreed on this fall at the end of the meeting, knowing it wasn’t close to what’s needed if we want to change the course we’re on, I don’t know any climate scientists that was pleased with what came out of those meetings. If leading political parties had actually done something in the past 40 years, we wouldn’t be getting close to a 3C increase.

  16. Sal says:

    Only one party is following a leader who fed the most extreme fringes in the party and sparked a violent attack on our democracy.