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DONNIE DARKO (2001) ****

When Donnie Darko was released, Mind Fuck Movies like Fight Club and Memento were all the rage.  I saw it on video when it first came out and instantly loved director Richard Kelly’s unique vision and loopy Kubrickian logic.  Unfortunately, in the past couple of years, the flick has been embraced by the pathetic pseudo-Goth Emo teeny-boppers that frequent Hot Topic and wear too much eyeliner.  You can’t talk about Donnie Darko without one of these poseurs chiming in and telling you how it’s a movie for “their generation” and “perfectly encapsulates what they’re all about”.  Well, I’m here today to take Donnie Darko back from those worthless fucks.  Donnie Darko belongs to open-minded moviegoers that can appreciate originality and clever twist endings and not to whiny Emo cuntflaps who will cut themselves wide open with a razor at the drop of a hat because their mascara got a little runny.


If you already don’t know the plot:  Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a disturbed teenager who has a history of arson and pops scripts like crazy.  He starts having visions of a demented bunny rabbit named Frank who tells him that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds.  Donnie also finds out that he can somehow travel through time thanks to bubbles that come out of his chest.


I know I’m not explaining it very well, but I don’t want to give away the surprises that the film holds.  One of the flick’s many charms is that you’re assured to be surprised even after repeated viewings.  That’s part of the fun of the movie.


Kelly effectively creates a world that is sublimely locked in time (1988) yet feels like it could happen today.  It’s a place that seems otherworldly but looks perfectly ordinary.  He also crafts a bat shit insane ending that simultaneously wraps things up and leaves you scratching your head trying to piece everything together.  The man can also film a jazz recital like no one in the business.  How many directors can brag about that?


Then there are the performances.  Gyllenhaal is note perfect as Donnie.  He’s awkward like a real teenager yet he still possesses a potentially dangerous aura around him.  Jena Malone does some stellar work as Donnie’s love interest and Mary McDonnell is MILF-errific as his caring mother.  But hands down the best actor in the bunch is Patrick Swayze.  He plays this diluted self-help guru with a sleazy past.  His informercials are hilarious and his pep rally speech to the school is a classic.  It’s easily the man’s best performance since Road House.


These Emo idiots nowadays try to live their life based around Donnie Darko.  They think that they’re just like Donnie because they take medication too.  (It’s probably for asthma not schizophrenia.)  They need to get a life.  Either that or go watch Twilight or something.  Leave the good movies to the rest of us.


PS:  Donnie Darko:  The Director’s Cut is to be avoided at all costs as it tries to over-explain things and features different song cues which ruin the overall mood of the film.

Donnie Darko is filled with enough trippy coolness to land it on The Video Vacuum Top Ten Films of the Year for 2001 at the Number 8 spot, smack dab in between The Royal Tenenbaums and Ocean’s Eleven.



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