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UPDATED! Davey Bizzle’s Got A Look At The (Not Remotely) Finished SOUTHLAND TALES!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. We just got this note in from Richard Kelly, which he's also posted to his blog to clarify what it was that this guy saw: "FINAL RUNNING TIME Hello all, I just wanted to make a clarification to the individual named "Davey Bizzle" who claims to have seen the final version of Southland Tales and posted a review of the film on AICN via Moriarty. The problem is... the version he saw is nowhere near the final version, but and avid output from December of 2006, which was basically the cut as it existed (at a running time of 2 hrs 17 min) before we began to add dozens of new visual effects shots and additional content to fix the film. This is the version that I showed Sony (and Universal International) last December... and said... there are still a lot of problems that we need to fix and can I have more visual effects money to fix them? Thankfully, they said yes. The final running time of Southland Tales is 2 hrs 24 min... and more than EIGHT MONTHS of work has gone into improving the film after this version viewed by Davey Bizzle. The description "(Mostly) Finished" is a completely innacurate description of what Mr. Bizzle saw. Just trying to set the record straight... and I can't wait to screen the finished version. RK" So there you go. Like I said in my intro before, I know that Richard's been killing himself to make this film the best possible version of what he has in his head, and I'm sure when it does finally screen in its finished form, we'll hear about it. Until then, this is not representative of that final film, so keep that in mind: We get a lot of mail about this film. People wanting to see it, people doubting they’ll ever see it, people asking why they can’t see it. All I know for sure is that Richard Kelly is a filmmaker who will work to find his film, even after he’s screened it, because he wants to make the best movie possible. I have tried to sort of tune out SOUTHLAND TALES so that when I finally see it, it’ll be as pure an experience as possible, but for Davey Bizzle, the time came to lay eyes on the finished movie, and this is the reaction he sent us:

Hey Ain’t It Cool... Just chipping in with a new look at: SOUTHLAND TALES The version I saw had a total runtime of 2 hours 18 minutes. This is reportedly the final length that will be released in theatres, the only difference this cut still had certain FX shots missing – some buildings remained in pre-viz stage, whilst there were a few subtitles instead of actual dialogue that had yet to be recorded. Before the review I would like to stipulate a few things: I am a big Donnie Darko fan. On the strength of that film I had been looking forward to Southland Tales for a long time and was completely surprised by the initial reviews of the 160-minute Cannes Cut. I have not seen that cut of the film, so this viewing was my first reaction to ST. I enjoy films that lead me places that do not always make perfect sense – but I believe a film has to earn that right. Inland Empire is my joint favourite film (with Zodiac) of 2007 thus far. I felt cheated by this film. The premise is interesting, but after sitting through the duration I feel most people will be left unmoved by anything on screen with only thoughts of disappointment, and most likely confusion. The overriding problem with ST is that it never really takes off or develops into much of anything. We meet characters; they say something ‘whacky’ or act in a heavy-handed futuristic way that is supposed to provide social commentary; then we move on. Repeat this process each time we see them. Southland Tales opens with home-video footage of a Texan July 4th party in 2005 where a nuclear bomb goes off. Cut to credit sequence (unfinished in this cut) where a Justin Timberlake voiceover informs the viewer that in the three years that have passed, WWIII has begun and America’s homeland security has tightened to such an extent that visas are required to travel between states. A group of liberal ‘neo-Marxists’ have formed to rebel against ‘USIdent’ – a company created by the republicans as an ultra big-brother-style monitor of the public and the entire internet. Furthermore there is a new kind of energy in the world known as ‘liquid karma’ which uses tidal force to wirelessly power military vehicles allowing them to never need refuelling… and... yet more… only the votes from California will count in the 2008 governmental election. JT’s voiceover continues throughout the film, providing the sparsest of characterisation to our 2D characters and also quoting various biblical verses that are intermittently relevant to the action. Post credits, the film begins and we learn that Boxer Santaros (The Rock) is a famous actor with a heavy political swing for the republicans. He went missing for 3 days and ended up in Nevada (which baffles the powers because of the visa situation) and now he has ended up back in southland California (further baffling the government). Boxer has written a screenplay called ‘The Power’ with his porn star mistress Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar) which prophesizes how the world will end. Next we are introduced to one of the Taverner ‘twins’ both of whom are played by Seann William Scott. It is a pretty cool scene in which he is weirding himself out in front of a bathroom mirror and playing around with a gun – all the while his reflection is about 3 seconds behind him. Upon leaving the bathroom we see his twin lying unconscious on the floor and some neo-Marxists tell Taverner that he needs to impersonate his brother and pretend to be racist cop. Various other characters show up, but the main thrust is that Boxer wants to film himself doing ride-alongs with Taverner as research for a new film role. Knowing this, the neo-Marxists have set it up for him to witness a fake domestic double murder, which they will then use to bribe the Republicans. The set-up goes wrong and Boxer and Taverner witness a real murder. This sequence frustrated me greatly because it should have been so much more. Their escape is filmed using slow-motion steadicam shots whilst Pixies classic ‘Wave of Mutilation’ resonates over the soundtrack. Although visually interesting, the (deliberately?) minimalistic character development leaves the scene feeling flat and tacky instead of the visceral rush that Kelly was no doubt striving for. This happens yet again during the climax of the film, where another prolonged musical montages kicks in – something which a contemporary director such as PT Anderson can pull of with such vigour - yet here I simply felt nothing. This cinematic device, which also worked so well in Darko, should provide a moment where audience and character unite; a song reflecting an eclectic group’s feeling. Unfortunately here the lack of any genuine emotional resonance or dramatic suspense ruined the third act’s catharsis. One gets the distinct impression that after the success of Donnie Darko, Kelly tried to do something far too abstract. The result is a collection of interesting concepts and segments that in no way fit together as a narrative or even an enjoyable experience. Whilst the idea of Justin Timberlake miming The Killers ‘All These Things That I Have Done’ as girls dance around him and he pours Bud over his head sounds fantastic on paper, it has no correlation to anything at 90 minutes through the film and completely fails to pay off. Things like this happen throughout – cars hump each other as part of a commercial; a character of little significance begs The Rock to allow her to felate him in the middle of Venice Beach. If I had read this and knew Kelly was directing I would have looked forward to some funny, peculiar scenes to enjoy discussing afterwards with my friends. Scenes such as ‘Sparkle Motion’ from Darko work. Here they feel out of place and do not. I respect Kelly’s ambition with the film, but at times it feels like a 140-minute student film and whereas Darko was genuinely funny this frequently feels like a Carry On movie with some added sci-fi elements eerily reminiscent of Galaxy Quest (just sadly without any tongue in cheek). A few positives: It is well fairly shot and as always I enjoyed the work of the principals here, in particular Seann William Scott and Justin Timberlake. The repetition of the line “he is a pimp and pimp’s don’t commit suicide” is pretty cool. As is the very last scene. Moby’s score worked well and there is an excellent selection of songs throughout including Blur’s ‘Tender’ as the end credits roll. At present I struggle to see how Southland could even become a cult favourite. I will go see this at the cinema to see it with the FX shots completely rendered, and shall remain slightly hopeful that on a repeat viewing something grows on me. But for the most part I strongly believe that it’s not that I did not ‘get’ the film – there simply is not much of anything to grasp on to, let alone ponder and discuss. Obviously the Darko fanbase will pay to watch the film, but like me I feel they will only be disappointed. It saddens me to say that even after all this time in the editing room, Southland Tales remains a distinctly underwhelming mess. -Davey Bizzle-
Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 8, 2007, 3:48 p.m. CST




  • Sept. 8, 2007, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Let the Kelly Bashing Begin


    In 5. 4. 3. 2.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 3:50 p.m. CST


    by ButtfuckZydeco

    still looking forward to it.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 4:02 p.m. CST

    The Rock and Sean William Scott...together again

    by Bobo_Vision

    Thats a formula for 'meh'.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 4:02 p.m. CST


    by abner pepper

    Let's hope Kelly's not a one trick pony.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Never seen a Kelly Film but


    hey, it could be one of those films ahead of it's time? The same ones that people rave about being the greatest of all times 30yrs from now. <p> Maybe I'm reaching too far o_O

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 4:05 p.m. CST

    strikes me as a must see even if it isn't very good

    by Winterchili

    the whole thing just sounds very interesting, and the prequel graphic novels were really good.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Some one needs to look up contemporary in a dictionary.

    by Grando

    And, this sounds like exactly the kind of film that will become a cult hit.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 4:11 p.m. CST

    I am afraid to look... yet I cannot turn away!

    by Yeti

    Whether or not it's narrative is cohesive or not well Q.E.D.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 4:21 p.m. CST

    I AM SO

    by The Real MiraJeff


  • Sept. 8, 2007, 4:27 p.m. CST

    Fantastic Fest


    Please let it show during the fest.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Where's that trailer at???!!!!

    by pretentiousboy

    Hey Richard buddy, where's this trailer at? You said first week of september? Regardless of how bad this film is, compared to the utter complete emptiness of attempt at originality, this will still be worth the price of admission. Hopefully Richard didn't go over his head. USC students have a habit of getting prideful and pretentious over time (ex:Lucas). CONSPIRACY ALERT: I believe Sony bought the film to hold off its release until AN ACTUAL nuclear attack (by our government) kicks us into a police state, might happen this month, who knows. Remember the parallel to richards last film (jet engine/911).

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 4:47 p.m. CST

    This movie is not...

    by down75

    Donnie Darko and thats what I wanted to see more of, so I didnt like it. Figured I would edit down that review to help save some time for the other talkbackers.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 4:58 p.m. CST

    aren't porn stars

    by strangernparadis

    supposed to be nekkid?

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 5:03 p.m. CST

    wow, if a fan of donnie darko doesn't think much of ST,

    by newc0253

    what will the rest of us think?

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 6:44 p.m. CST


    by El Mono

    you are reaching with those conspiracy theories of yours... I will watch this movie no matter what. Can't be worse than Shoot 'Em Up, Pirates 3, Spidey 3, yadda, yadda, etc. At least it's got interesting ideas in it, no matter how poorly executed. And the music sounds kick-ass. Wonder how much of it will end up in the final.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 7:04 p.m. CST

    No Surprise here...

    by Redfive!

    Kelly's theatrical cut of Darko is great but the Directors cut is sh*t.Domino was crap and I think this dude just watched way too much Twlight Zone as a kid.Point being he's no boy genius that some have called him.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 7:15 p.m. CST

    Jesus, he's been working on this for how many years?

    by AnnoyYou

    Give it up, dude. "Donnie Darko" is a pretentious bore which appeals only to emo boys and girls. "Southland Tales" sounds like an unholy mess better consigned to DVD or the dumpster. Just take your lumps and go, Kelly. I think its moment has passed.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 7:27 p.m. CST

    El Mono

    by pretentiousboy

    I might not be reaching. Read this link....

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 7:38 p.m. CST

    alright enough of this nonsense

    by Winterchili

    donnie darko has 90% on rt, 88 on metacritic, and it is in the top 250 on IMDB. it is loved by many people who aren't "emo". many morons judge films based on who likes them since they have no facility for objective criticism and because they know nothing about film.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 7:49 p.m. CST

    Donnie Darko, why people like it....

    by pretentiousboy

    1. Good Music to slow mo. 2. Parallel universe stuff 3. 80's 4. Science Fiction Previous Sophmore slumps (getin cocky): Wes Anderson "Royal Tenebaums" (stick your american express card up your rearend)(QUIRKY = HUMORLESS HUMOR) Dear Richard, don't turn into that horrifically terrible needle nosed director Steven Sodenberg. SLT will be atleast more enjoyable then solaris. Side note: The RED camera is shipping out folks (out group has 2 on the way). Go make your movie. Prove you can do better.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 8:36 p.m. CST


    by one9deuce

    You are exactly right. There is plenty of cool things in DONNIE DARKO (good music, parallel universe, retro 80's, sci-fi, NOT studio fare, etc...) but the actual storytelling is horrible. It reminds me of certain friends I have that like a movie because of what it HAS instead of how well it's told. Ideally a film has both.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 8:38 p.m. CST

    That being said,

    by one9deuce

    I am interested in seeing SOUTHLAND TALES based purely on the fact that it sounds totally unique.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 8:44 p.m. CST


    by Sappers Forward

    Southland what?..anyway, just read that they're bringing ROBOTECH to the big screen and spiderman himself is going to star! Robotech ruled back in the day.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 8:54 p.m. CST

    Kelly knows he has a bomb on his hands...

    by El Scorcho

    So defensive, Richard.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Donnie Darko is a good cult film that ate itself

    by reflecto

    I didn't even bother watching that bullshit "Director's Cut" and I don't know if I ever will. You know why? The film I originally saw, you know the one he originally shot and cut, I came out with a totally different take on it from the one apparently dictated to me by the director, his website, his other tie-in websites, his Myspace, his DVD, his script, his commentaries... It's a massive wankfest for geek fans (like myself) to pretend the whole thing is part of a larger tapestry and extended universe that did not, in fact, exist in the original film we all watched. And trying to shove it all in there in a self-important second cut totally hamstrings the good film Kelly did make. He seems like a wunderkind who already thinks he's an esoteric genius with grandiose visions who can do no wrong, but all he did? Was make one good film. Which he then drowned in iconography and self-fanwank minutiae. I hear STL is crap and I am not surprised. His ego done sploded.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 10:18 p.m. CST

    People and their Lemming-like horseshit...

    by jfp2007

    What's with all the Lemmings on this site who read a review and automatically use it to judge a film? I've seen it time and again. It's one man's opinion of an unfinished film that is nowhere near complete. It's one review and doesn't function as a stand-in for the majority consensus of the movie. This shill could very well be completely off his rocker and the movie (for you) could be a completely different experience. Think about, Lemming. @reflecto: Oh, for Fuck's sake.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 10:25 p.m. CST

    A got Donnie Darko on DVD and I've watched it once

    by Judge Dredds Dirty Undies

    enjoyed it, never got around to watching it again and soon became very tired of people going on and on about it. Still I am really intrigued by this film as it sounds very odd. Look forward to seeing it.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 10:36 p.m. CST

    I've heard abou this movie forever and I still

    by slder78

    can't seemed to get enthused for it. i thought Donnie Darko was interesting but the hysteria around it borders on Whedonverse ridiculousness. And if California is the only state that counts in presidential elections, how the hell are Republicans still in power? I haven't seen a republican in CA since I watched Terminator 2 on cable the other night.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 11:59 p.m. CST

    I'd rather watch Domino 1,000 more times and I hated

    by GQtaste

    ...and I fucking hated Domino like no other! Matter of fact, I'd rather watch the entire run of Desperate Housewives thus far than see this pretentious piece of shit one time!

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 12:12 a.m. CST


    by pretentiousboy

    Art imitating life... Time to Repent folks.... You have only one shot at eternal salvation. Stop worshipping these false idols. If you don't believe in jesus check out what they found in the center of one of the farthest universes that we can see.... If there's chariots under the red sea.... And millions of sulfur balls at the location of sodem and gamorra... And the ark found where the bible said it was with same cubic measurements in bible (if anything explain how a boat that big gets up in a mountain)... And carbon dating as proven wrong... And evolution disproved (missing link still missing folks)... Then gods for real folks. Remember this, all religions except christianity are based on salvation through works, with christ it's grace through faith...

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 12:12 a.m. CST

    Matter of fact, I'd rather watch "George Rule" "Because

    by GQtaste

    I said so, FAther of the bride 3, "Stepmom", the one where Julia Roberts dies? You know, w/ Dolly, Sally, Daryl, et al. Oh, Steel Magnolias, Beaches, Spice World, Away from Her, Son of the Mask, House Party 2 and Santa with Muscles than this bullshit!

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 12:16 a.m. CST

    My advice to Richard Kelly is

    by glodene

    on his next project, try doing something a little less esoteric and more commercial. It's cool to be original, but not at the expense of alienating the ticket-buying viewer. You got to find that happy medium between artsy and accessable. It's already a foregone conclusion that Southland Tales is going to windup being a writeoff for Universal unless his re-edit version generates some good word-of-mouth, thus resulting in some (hopefully) profitable b.o. lucre (doubted), if not, he may have a hard time getting his next project financed.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 12:31 a.m. CST

    paint the shit gold all you want- its still shit

    by hegele

    There seems to be serious structural problems in this. It should not takes years of post if there is something worth wild in the Kelly's deck of cards. Richard- cut your loses, stop wasting studio money attempting to fix it. Release it quietly on video, hope nobody makes a fuss and then write a new script worth filming.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 12:35 a.m. CST

    yes, but the film does have a conversation

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    where SMG specifically discusses having foreign objects placed in her ass.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 2:39 a.m. CST

    The Brown Bunny

    by Neo Zeed

    Ebert said that it was the worst movie in the history of Cannes. One recut later, he gave it 3 stars. Perhaps Kelly has a chance. P.S. I've never seen The Brown Bunny so maybe it sucks balls, I dunno.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 2:41 a.m. CST

    no, it doesn't but Chloe does during the film.

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    easy joke.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 3:59 a.m. CST

    synechode dude

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    I never actually saw that movie. But wasn't it only like 7 inches...that's not THAT big

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 4:26 a.m. CST

    Crossing the fingers

    by BlackIronPrison

    Met Mr. Kelly once. Extremely nice guy. Easy to talk to. we watched Ang Lee's HULK together with some peeps. I hope this thing isn't as bad as everybody's saying it is. Couldn't be worse than Daddy Day Camp.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 5:58 a.m. CST

    Face facts....

    by Jimmie Dimmick

    Richard Kelly = Billy Walsh <br><br> Southland Tales = Medellin

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Opinions on the review...

    by DavidCamp

    Tomorrow I watch the same cut of Southland Tales as Davey Bizzle. I have been assured that no amount of playing about in post-prod can save it from weak performances and a complete lack of focus from Kelly. I hope he's mistaken. It’s frustrating and a little sad to know the film turned out so terribly, but even more upsetting that so many clingy Darko-fanboys refuse to let go of their hopes for the picture. From the beginning, my interest was peaked by the idea of Kelly having the ambition and resources to broaden his vision and have a shot at a much bigger project, but it seems that in the process his coked-up mind confused itself for some sort of groundbreaking auteur. Sure, he has one genuinely original movie under his belt, but this whole endeavour stinks of ego – and the blind belief that he can throw together a structureless bunch of meaningless ideas and images and trick the public into thinking its cohesive. The reviewer mentions Lynch, whose work is the polar-opposite of what Southland Tales appears to have become. For all their fucked chronology and peculiarity, Lynch’s flicks are anchored by some sort of emotional/visual/thematic weight in place of conventional narrative. As Stanley Kubrick once said, “a film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.” Whereas the Lynch and Kubricks of this world have this skill down to a fine art, (and I hoped Kelly too prior to this apparent mess), the review suggests that Southland Tales fails in exactly the ways I feared it would. Utter randomness for the sake of randomness, in the empty hope it’ll trick fools into thinking its ‘profound’, the worst sort of lazy “wouldn’t it be cool if” screenwriting. Hearing Kelly scrambling to the films defence within minutes of the reviews posting is even more frustrating. I pray he’s right, and it has somehow been elevated to a more cohesive level during the last few months of editing, but this whole project now reeks of commercial/critical disaster. Frankly, watching the film shuffle around for the last couple of years whilst Kelly pathetically defends against any criticism is nothing short of embarrassing. I wish that he had the guts to give up and allowed it to gently slip into the warm, forgetful embrace of DTV with none of this bullshit 'hype'. The film strikes me as being dead on arrival. I hope Kelly has the humility to acknowledge its flaws when it bombs in a couple of months, and shift his intelligence and talents onto a tighter, less ego-driven project. I’ll track the progress of ‘The Box’ closely.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 8:29 a.m. CST


    by theoneofblood

    I hope that was a joke. I really do.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Any sort of a release date for this thing at all?

    by Yeti

    And will any of the actors do junkets for it given that it's been (years?) since they actually filmed?

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 9:18 a.m. CST


    by ironic_name


  • Sept. 9, 2007, 10:12 a.m. CST

    It can't be...

    by NubtheSquirrel

    worse than say, Buffalo 66, or Brown Bunny, or even Doom Generation. Those three movies are the worst movies I have ever seen. The only thing Doom Generation had going for it is that you see Rose McGowan naked in almost every other scene, otherwise the movie is pure shit. If anything I want to see this simply because of the trouble Kelly had gettig this to the big screen. Perhaps it was the hype that the fans of Donnie Darko heaped upon it as the seconding coming that will eventually lead to its general panning. Remember, this was one of the two movies that was booed off the screen at Cannes the year it premiered. Marie Antoinette was the other. Southland Tales is an enigma to me because the comic book that ties into the movie was released last year and they were fascinating and will probably be the thing that make the movie make sense rather than the incoherent mess that people are talking it up to be.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Yeah SK229 politics and art definitely don't mix...

    by rbatty024

    just read Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, Sinclair's The Jungle or Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath because nobody reads those today. Sarcasm aside I understand you're point that art should be about more than just the time and place and touch upon the human condition, but I don't think that if a piece of art is about a time and place then it's garbage. All three works I mentioned are much richer and deeper works of literature if you know about when and why they were written. If you understand the politics then you can get more out of them. I agree that art and politics is tricky and can be a deadly combination but I'm just not nearly as dead set against it as yourself. Besides, everyone has a political ideology, whether you recognize it or not it's there. So in essence there's politics in all art because any worldview or view of the human condition suggests a political ideology. As far as liberals being as bad as conservatives when it comes to shutting up opposition I think you're wildly off base. The ACLU is the most liberal group out there and they protect people who hate them and share wildly differing views. I also don't think a liberal president would monitor PBS to decide if they had enough people on who were friendly to their administration (

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Steel Magnolias 2: Tokyo Drift...

    by messi

    This time, John Matrix wants War.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 12:13 p.m. CST

    SGT. kubukiman, nypd

    by ironic_name

    says youm. hes radical!

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 12:17 p.m. CST

    "coz nobody likes ya, monkeyboy."

    by ironic_name

    thanks nixon, now i can hear bloodhound gang, over and over.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 12:49 p.m. CST

    An open letter to Richard Kelly

    by TheKappa

    Richard Kelly- One of the worst story tellers in film? I'm going to lose a bunch of you here, but... ...I HATED Donnie Darko. For those of you still with me, I'll continue. Maybe it was the complete over hype by my friends who, knowing my tastes in film and other media, told me time and time again that I'd love it. However, I have a feeling that the reason I didn't like Donnie Darko is because it really wasn't all that good. It's an interesting look at time travel, sure... but in the end, a disjointed story that just simply didn't add up when all was said and done. You see, when telling a story, be it in cinema, television, a novel, a comic- WHATEVER, the audience pieces the plot together, piece by piece as if it were a puzzle. Once the credits roll, the audience should be able to take a step back and recognize just what it is that they put together. This wasn't so with the original cut of Donnie Darko. Major plot points (including the mechanics of time travel, the machine that drives your film) were passed over in your initial "final" (pre-director's) cut. Major pieces of said puzzle weren't included in the "box", resulting in a failed final product. A number of posts above mine outline how people had varying conclusions after watching the first released cut of Donnie Darko as to what happened. You yourself admit that everyone will have a different interpretation of what happened. Even you have had to weigh in with what you THINK happened in Donnie Darko in various interviews. Shouldn't a director fully grasp the story he's telling? Otherwise, you're a guide who doesn't know where he is going, and you're taking the audience with you. To me, that's the mark of a poor storyteller. There should be an objective truth to a film that the audience can reach given the elements of the story being told. (One of the reasons I have such a beef with David Lynch films, but that's another rant altogether) Back to the point I'm making, in order for the audience to fully understand the original story in Darko, one had to peruse the DVD extras and get a sense of just how the machine that drives your movie operates. You even had to write a book ("The Donnie Darko Book") to explain just what the hell was going on in the film! Thankfully, you realized this and re-cut the movie as your "Directors Cut", including all the crap from the DVD extras actually *IN* the film (what a novel concept!), however badly. (Let's face it- you could have thought of a better way to show the contents of Roberta Sparrow's book) Then, we have Southland Tales- By all accounts, instead of learning from your mistakes, you've gone with something even more abstract and disjointed. Your first cut that was booed to high hell at Cannes weighed in at a lofty 160 minutes, and even that required the reading of three graphic novels of content that were required in order to even make heads or tails of the disjointed mess that you call Southland Tales. Now, I'm all for making films a multimedia experience. I love comics that help to ADD to the plot of films and other media. I loved the website for the Blair Witch Project back in 1999 that added to the experience of the first viewing of that movie. I played every step of the "Lost Experience" last summer as a companion piece to the TV show Lost... HOWEVER- when you need to read a 360 page comic book in order to fully understand whats going on in a movie (as you have required with Southland Tales) then, once again, you have failed as a cinematic storyteller. Extras such as this shouldn't be used as props to the cinematic story you're telling. If you're going to add to the story you're telling in other forms of media, be it comic books, ARGs, shorts, WHATEVER- Make them ADD to the self contained plot of the film you're tying them to, not make them required reading for anyone to grasp a plot that you couldn't even tell in 160 minutes! Mr. Kelly, maybe film isn't the right medium for you... Perhaps you would be better off writing comics, novels or television series? It seems to me that if you have difficulty telling fleshed out stories in 120 minutes that maybe it's time to step aside and let better, more competent storytellers do their thing.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 12:57 p.m. CST

    new SFX won't help the bad acting and bad writing

    by BrowncoatJedi

    Why bother to release it? It looks like an embarrassment for all concerned. Dump it on Showtime at 2am.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 1:30 p.m. CST

    You know what this movie needs!

    by Judge Dredds Dirty Undies

    Buffy plays a porn star does she not? We need a full anal scene with her, i would definitely buy this on blu ray then!

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 1:49 p.m. CST


    by TheKappa

    Yeah, I had the entire rant formatted when I posted it... then when I hit "Post Comment", it posted it as one big block... No way to edit my post, either... (sorry... it was my first post.. the formatting irked me too)

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 2:55 p.m. CST


    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    but then...I was about 10 when I saw it.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 2:57 p.m. CST


    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    those 3 pieces are about the characters and the human condition first and foremost. the politics of the moment are explained in literal terms, not vague metaphors and carry weight as human issues, not just issues of the day.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Donnie Darko as originally viewed is a mood piece

    by reflecto

    And it was a cult film because of that mood and what it made a collective audience feel. It was not THE BEST FILM EVER but was quite a good debut. It was afterwards, when the whole "hidden mythology" on the websites and in intvs started to seep in that was almost totally unrelated to the original film you actually saw, that the thing became a monster. You had Kelly on the audio commentary of the original cut explaining how everything you were seeing was totally contrary to the byzantine narrative he constructed in his head, but never bothered to put onscreen. Then, he released a WHOLE OTHER CUT which totally mangles the good film, but hey, at least it's "his real vision". And now we have Southland Tales, the bloated apex of his ego.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 3:55 p.m. CST

    At least Richard Kelly knows his 80's music

    by Neo Zeed

    He put Echo and The Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon" in the intro. That song was BEGGING to be put in a movie for years. He was the only filmmaker to recognize that. Also, The Church, Joy Divsion, and even little ol' Tears For Fears. Alt 80's tunes + teen drama = instant fanbase. It's that simple. Just ask John Hughes.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 3:58 p.m. CST

    Southland Tales is shit.

    by Superflyfox

    Seen it in Cannes last year and it is exactly the same here despite the 'edit'. Loved Darko but this film stinks badly all fans will feel the same

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 4:38 p.m. CST


    by rbatty024

    I agree with you that great literature should transcend the issues of the day, and I even mentioned in my earlier post that great art should ultimately be about the human condition, what I was taking issue with was SK229 claim that great art and politics are mutually exclusive. He sounds like a goddamn New Critic. As far as Southland Tales, what I've heard has been interesting and I've was a big fan of Donnie Darko (I haven't seen the director's cut). Although, I also hated the other film that was booed at Cannes, Marie Antoinette so I don't want to get my hopes too high.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 5:34 p.m. CST


    by pretentiousboy

    I'm beginning to not trust mr kelly anymore.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 6:06 p.m. CST

    so someone explain to me:

    by newc0253

    what exactly was missing from the theatrical release of Donnie Darko that (i) some people didn't understand it the first time round; and (ii) Kelly felt it necessary to explain a whole bunch of stuff in the director's cut? I thought Donnie Darko was overrated but i never thought it was particularly ambiguous. So what was it about the director's cut that made so many Darko fans unhappy?

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 6:42 p.m. CST


    by Neo Zeed

    The problem with the Director's Cut was that it was called a Director's Cut. It should've been called the Explanation Cut. Or Richard Kelly should've released the original with an extra disc explaning stuff. In the director's cut, title cards pop up explaining the parallel universe stuff he explained in interviews during the film's original release. As an explanation of the mythology behind Donnie Darko, I thought it was interesting. Sort of like an easter egg DVD thing (without the interactivity.) As an actual movie, though it sucks because 1. The title cards pop up too many times and interrups the flow of the movie. 2. There's a cheesy video overlay of a firework show, to emphasize that Donnie "saved the day." 3. He changed the intro song to INXS Never Tears us Apart, but that might be a personal complaint ;)If Kelly just said it was a companion piece to the original film, I would be happy with that. But when it's called the Directors Cut, it implies that Kelly believes that it's a superior film to the original cut....and that's just plain retarded.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 7:06 p.m. CST

    He got lucky with Donnie Darko - fact.

    by performingmonkey

    Donnie Darko (original cut) only works because everyone can take something from the movie even though they didn't really understand what happened. This was a total accident though, as Kelly admits. He originally intended for the time travel 'mythology' to be in the movie and for everyone to be able to get the story. Without that stuff it's a better movie but the events are more confusing. It's Lost, when they explain everything in the end (what the monster is etc.) people are just gonna be pissed off because the wonder is gone.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 7:06 p.m. CST

    What A Cast!

    by Aquatarkusman

    (insert Triumph the Insult Comic Dog joke)

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 7:13 p.m. CST

    Doom Generation question.....

    by barnaby jones

    Does a character get their member cut off by a pair of shears in this ? Also was it shown at Cannes ? if it wasn't why are we even talking about it ?

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 10:46 p.m. CST

    S Tales

    by Cobbio

    After the load of Kelly discussion I've read here, I'm still excited for the theatrical cut of "Southland Tales." They've added millions of dollars of effects and re-edits to bring it up to Kelly's vision, and I can't discount that. Plus I thought the "Southland Tales" clip I saw was funny, oddly nuanced, and Darko-ish in its delivery.<p> I'll be checking this film out in November.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 11:05 p.m. CST

    ILL ASK AGAIN.....

    by pretentiousboy

    Where's the frappin trailer at.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 11:59 p.m. CST

    Link to trailer!!!!.....

    by pretentiousboy ONE WORD WOW!!!!

  • Sept. 10, 2007, 12:01 a.m. CST


    by pretentiousboy

  • Sept. 10, 2007, 3:10 a.m. CST

    Bullshit, he made up the time travel arc after the fact

    by reflecto

    I guaran-fucking-tee it. The little wunderkind hit it big and then decided to introduce a whole other bullshit concept.