Warning: R-rated movie = R-rated blog post for some strong language.
Sometimes movies make us laugh. Sometimes they make us cry. Sometimes they make us feel like a total badass. And sometimes they give us an insane mind fuck and make us think about them for a while after. That’s exactly how I felt after I saw the movie Donnie Darko in the late summer right before my junior year of college.
I had this intense feeling of confusion after I watched it. I wasn’t even sure if I liked the movie or not. I sort of felt numb to the world too. It was so strange. After watching a movie that involves time travel though, maybe it wasn’t. A few hours and days later, I realized I did indeed like and then love the movie.
Donnie Darko was first released in 2001. It had limited box office success which may be attributed to the fact that it was released shortly after the 9/11 attacks. It gained popularity through a series of midnight showings that began in New York City and caused other theaters to follow suit. Once the DVD was released, you could say sales surpassed expectations. A director’s cut of the film was also released 3 years later. If you look back on it from a 2014 perspective, the cast was pretty stellar as it included Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead character Donnie Darko, his sister Maggie Gyllenhaal who also played his sister in the film, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Jena Malone, Seth Rogen, and countless others who I’m sure you’d recognize from other film and television productions you’ve seen.
Believe me when I say this though, you will either love or hate this film. I really don’t think there’s an in between unless of course you’re a supernatural apocalyptic drama connoisseur. It’s an odd movie and if you do end up liking it, you’ll probably watch it a few more times trying to figure it out (I remember reading something after that compared Donnie to Jesus so see if you can make that connection). Hate it or love it, either way, if you haven’t seen it, I recommend watching it at some point in your life. Maybe you’ll end up like me, love it, decide to dress up as Donnie for Halloween (the skeleton suit, gray hoodie combo…I was awesome), and learn a few things from the movie along the way, such as:
1. Cellar Door is the most beautiful phrase in the English language.
2. Following and listening to a giant, scary talking bunny named Frank could lead to your demise.
3. The world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds.
4. It’s impossible to suck a fuck.
5. Smurfs are asexual.
6. You may not always get caught if you flood your school and commit an arson.
7. It’s worth telling people off who are full of shit because they are probably in the child porn business. (Jim Cunningham was “the fucking anti-Christ” and we all know it.)
8. The giant, scary talking bunny might just be a man in a costume with a bloody missing eye who is trying to help you save the world or face your fate, whichever perspective you want to take.
9. Gary Jules does a much better version of “Mad World” than Tears for Fears even if it was their song.
10. The more committed you are to Sparkle Motion the more likely you are to die in a plane crash. (Unless time travel somehow comes into play)
As you can tell, these are important life lessons. But on a serious note, if you’re looking for a movie to watch this Halloween season that isn’t necessarily scary and still relates to this time of year (the movie is set entirely in October up until Halloween), I recommend Donnie Darko. I mean you can probably combine it with The Rocky Horror Picture Show and truly have a science fiction double feature. It’s one of those movies that has different meaning for everyone and can spark a philosophical discussion. It’s worth it for the occasional comedic relief and even for being able to see some early work of these great actors. Most of all, it’s worth all the confusion and thoughts that you won’t be able to wrap your head around the first time you see it. So I hope that when you do see Donnie Darko, you can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.