VIDEO: Donnie Darko (2001)

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In what could be considered a counterpoint to Mr. Mendo’s own review, Cheapus takes a look at Donnie Darko, which he happily admits has its fair share of problems (EXPLAIN YOURSELF EVERY ONCE AND A WHILE, WHY DON’T YOU), but he believes the film still has much about it to recommend, such as a really-quite-realistic family dynamic, interesting conversations about God and the Universe, and the scariest bunny since our own Phil.

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  • i hate this movie because it has seth rogen in it, and i havent been able to stand the sight of him since he raped the green hornet for his own amusement.

    • Liam Barrett

      Really? I think he’s only in this for like a combined total of 2:30. I think he also only has one line…

      • I was gonna say if you hate a movie because one particular actor you have an irrational level of dislike for is in it, I’d say that you would have to be a pretty shallow person to do so. Seriously though dave, you do sound like an idiot when you say he ‘raped a movie for your own amusement.’ That’s what I hate about these review sites in general, when someone in the comments over-reacts to something or someone with such self-righteous indignation and hyperbole that it irks me to no end. I haven’t seen the Green Hornet film with Rogen in it, but if it was as terrible as you say it was, just say it was terrible without having to over-react to such an obnoxious level, please!

        • lol, buddy YOU are the one overreacting to an obnoxious level. i love that you’re blind to the irony.

          by the way, before you go around saying other people sound like idiots, you should probably make sure you’re capable of putting together a coherent sentence, or at least bother to quote me properly.

          • Liam Barrett

            Now seems to be the perfect time to say I actually quite liked the Green Hornet movie.

          • i can certainly understand that, if you werent familair with the character, but those of us that were fans of the character before this movie saw it as a slap in the face. It would be like if Michael Keaton re-wrote Batman to be exactly like Beetlejuice, and treated the whole thing like a joke. Seth Rogens repsonse to all the fan complaints was to give interviews outright whining that people who didnt like him weren’t cool. Now there isn’t going to be a sequel because, as the producer put it “We made the movie for too much money.” lol, they can’t even admit it flopped.

          • Youfeelingluckypunk27

            This guy is all over the Internet, isn’t he?
            I liked it, too, and I personally think it’s petty to be holding this obsessive grudge against Seth, as obsessive as my love and  admiration for him, and posting it all over the Internet.

          •  dave wrote: “by the way, before you go around saying other people sound like idiots,
            you should probably make sure you’re capable of putting together a
            coherent sentence (…)”

            Says the idiot who uses “lol” as punctuation, and who apparently can’t start a sentence with proper capitalization if his life depended on it. (Not to mention that “LOL” is an acronym and thus needs to be in caps.)

            Sorry, dave, your transparent attempt to change topic by claiming Brewerman (who wrote perfectly coherent sentences) is at fault doesn’t win you any sympathies.

      • which is a true testament to just how powerfully he sucks.

  • Cristiona

    No, the basic premise isn’t complicated.  Unfortunately, Richard Kelly is a self-important prat who has to make everything as complicated as possible.  I mean, just look at what he did to The Box.  A bog simple story that he had to stuff full of aliens, quantum mechanics, and miscellaneous bullshit.

    Frankly, if someone would just reign him in, Richard Kelly could make a good movie.  Sadly, he appears to be incapable of telling a coherent, self-contained story, and nobody seems to be able to force him to.

    Also, Jake’s a great actor, but for some reason he always annoys the hell out of me.  He just always looks so sullen and mopey.  And, yeah, that final scene of his never stuck me as happiness as it did madness.

    Argh.  Seeing this review just reminded me of how much I disliked this movie.  From the unexplained engine (which, being a total MacGuffin just feels like utter bullshit) to everything about Frank (except the awesome costume) to Kelly’s titanic ego that he thinks his movie should require endless supplemental material.  Gah.  Fuck this movie.

    • Liam Barrett

      It’s a very polarizing movie. You will never meet people who think it’s just okay. You either love it to death or want to see every copy of it burnt. At the very least it inspires discussion amongst  people.

      • Andrew Buckles

        I kind of disagree.  I enjoyed it on seeing it, and though the logic didn’t make it all the way to the fridge, it was an enjoyable enough movie to see.  I haven’t felt the desire to burn it or watch it again.  I think in discussions about it you will usually only find people on both extremes, but that’s true of most issues you talk about. 

        • Matthew K.

          This would be the most true. I’m in between. I watched it and enjoyed it, but I didn’t need to enter internet debates about it. The indifferent are a silent minority.

      • Cristiona

        I really wanted to like it too, but as I watched I just felt my incredulity rise higher and higher.  I mean, it was better than the Box (grr argh), but it just felt too up its own ass for me.

  • Muthsarah

    What happened in Britain over Christmas 2003?  A Google/Wiki search turned up that “Love Actually” came out, and while that movie did pretty much suck, I suspect that may not be what you’re talking about.

    • Liam Barrett

      Nothing specific, it was just a pretty gloomy time for some reason. I remember it feeling like there was a bit of a dark cloud over everything. But then the first few years of the 21st century weren’t exactly a bunch of roses.

  • The_Stig

    I don’t know which film I hate more: This or A Scanner Pretentiously. 

    Not so much because of the film itself but because of the fans of this film….which proves yet again that Hipsters Ruin Everything.

    • Liam Barrett

      Yeah, that was one of the reasons I tried really hard to be as unbiased as possible when discussing this. I know it’s hardcore fanbase can be very unreasonable, and I didn’t really want to be associated with it.

      • The_Stig

        I’d probably dig Donnie Darko more if every horn rim glasses-wearing Starbucks-swilling tit with a MacBook didn’t think it was the greatest film ever made. Just curious, what do you guys call hipsters in England?

        • Liam Barrett


          • The_Stig

            I knew you were going to say that.

  • Jeff Bradford

    You see? A truthful review goes a long, long way. Unlike Mendo’s bullshit, bashing a movie just to get a shock effect and to get more viewers. I like a lot of Mendo’s reviews, but bashing movies just to bash movies is a real crime to the fans of said review.

    You and I share about the exact same views on Donnie Darko, while it is a masterpiece of mindfucking, it does have it’s off moments, though they are few and far inbetween. Such a great movie.

    • Liam Barrett

      To be fair I don’t disagree with a lot of the themes Michael brought up in his review, they just have very different tones because he genuinely doesn’t like the film, and I obviously do.

    • MichaelANovelli

      You implying that I actually like Donnie Darko?  That’s below the belt, mate…

  • Delawheredad

    Interesting review. I see yours and Mendo’s as opposite coins.  Yet both of you have some of the same criticism of the movie but you are obviously a fan of it.  I can’t get past the p retention and sophomoric religious sermonizing, Just take a look at what Kelly did to “The Box.”. What was a four page story by Richard Matheson is turned into a huge mindf*ck in which Kelly used his own parents back stories for the lead protagonists and tried to imbibe the story with far deeper  meanings and significance than the material deserves. “The Box” was also presented on the last incarnation of the Twilight Zone. I enjoyed that version.  Kelly desperately want’s to be  his generation’s Ros Serling, yet he forgets what made Serling so great; linear and simple narrative structure with a mind blowing twist. This film is all mind blowing twist . 
     There IS a decent movie in this mess  but Kelly is far too self absorbed and pretentious to tell it in a sensible manner.  Donnie Darko COULD have been very compelling . like a great “Twilight Zone” episode if it were turned over to a competent editor and given a linear narrative.   Worse are the fans who claim if you don’t “get” this movie you are a pathetic human being with no imagination. I “get” the movie but that does not mean that I have to love it.  There is nothing terrible original in the film it just appears that way because of its dense structure.   Density does not necessarily mean profundity. 

    • Liam Barrett

      I want to review The Box one day, almost as a cmpanion piece to this review. As I said, they share a lot of the same themes, to the point where I DON’T think it’s coincidence. I also think it’s funny that Kelly went into this openly wanting to make a more approachable movie than Donnie (and Southland Tales, but that’s ANOTHER discussion), and ended up making a movie that’s actually LESS SO.