‘Don’t Look Up’ Podcast review: Just listen to the new Harry Potter episode

The Princess Bride, who’s the sailor?

Yes, “The Princess Bride” is all about sorcery and witches and gods and stuff like that, but the movie is even more about curses and wills and secrecy and the power of the tongue. The film’s pretty specific about its toxic things: “This is the worst curse in the universe” (a line spoken by Buttercup’s uncle); “He’s not going to kill me!” (Buttercup tells Westley after she gets burned); “It’s going to be horrible.” It’s a pretty dense, almost text-book-style characterization of poisons and pestilence.

So when the ballads start playing, and the striding figures (i.e., young widowers) start galloping over the screen at night, it’s hard not to watch with your hand over your mouth: “This is the worst curse in the universe”? Tell me the person who’s the most powerful person in the universe. Princess Buttercup? Your dad? Either one? Whoever?

Well, if no one, “Don’t Look Up” might be your friend. And it’s also the only film to star Rob Reiner and … one of the funniest actresses on earth. And she’s talking about someone, right? Yes, yes, that person: Leo.

If you’re smart about this podcast, you know that Leo DiCaprio’s never given a TV interview, but Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence is just that: smarter.

Like Leo, Lawrence gave an early interview for this podcast and — gasp! — she forgot to take out a few quips. Do not ask her to do so again. Or ever again.

“Don’t Look Up” — what, a podcast about Harry Potter? I guess it’s for smart people.

Seriously, though, it’s the only movie that doesn’t speak negatively to all the fans of Harry Potter, the “Harry Potter” series. This could make sense if this was the first “Harry Potter” podcast to air. But it isn’t. There’s a clear sense of two kinds of children and how children are made — and the adults who influence their development, including parents, teachers, coaches, and — most importantly — you, listener.

The original “Don’t Look Up” podcast was my doctoral dissertation. I interviewed Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling about the novels and the life of author J.K. Rowling, and it was super cool.

But there’s no great central thesis (they would never say that?) that could be explored. “Don’t Look Up” is at its best when the two of them are just listening to each other and reacting to each other. Lawrence: “How does this fairy tale feel to you?” Reiner: “Do you love it?” Lawrence: “Oh, that’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard,” is close. Reiner: “You sound like a zombie.” Lawrence: “I like you, but this.” It’s a pleasure to listen to, although I wouldn’t recommend this for children. And I wouldn’t recommend any of J.K. Rowling’s Potter books — truly never recommend them — but I will tell you that the “Don’t Look Up” podcast’s interview with Bill Nye, Emeritus Professor of Science at the Union of Concerned Scientists, is also creepy.

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