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Vern reviews S.DARKO direct to video...

To H. Knowles, M. Beaks, Q. Vespe and A. It Cool News: Hey everybody, Vern here. I have been known to review a DTV sequel or two, so somebody requested I report on the quality of S. DARKO: A DONNIE DARKO TALE, available on the DVD as of today. So don't ever say I didn't give back to the community. It's been a while, but if I remember my DONNIE DARKO right, a bunch of weird shit was going down with a bunny man and hallucinations and mysteries and what not, so there was time travel and apocalyptical type shit, turned out the bunny was a dude in a Halloween costume that got hit by a car, Donnie was killed by a plane engine landing on his house, trippiness, etc. End of story, right? Wrong! Not unless you ignore the crucial events that occurred in July 1995 in Utah to Donnie's younger sister Samantha, better known in titles as S. IMDb informs us that S. was played in the original by D. Chase, who was also the scary little girl in the American version of THE RING and the voice of Disney's Lilo. Chase returns in S. DARKO as a pretty 19 year old. She and her sassy best friend are on a rebellious road trip of sisterhood when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. They get help from a local bad boy who keeps his smokes rolled into his sleeve even though his t-shirt has a pocket in the front. That's how you know this guy could fix a car. It's gonna take a few days though so they check into a hotel run by indie stalwart J. Hawkes. What the fuck is a stalwart anyway, not sure how I ended up using the word stalwart. I would like to give a shoutout to all you stalwarts reading this. Like in her brother D. Darko's tale, S. Darko's involves a countdown to doom and some weird shit and/or quirky characters. There's a nerd who's turning monstrous from touching a strange meteorite, a crazed Desert Storm veteran who the locals all fear, a possibly pervy youth minister who passes out a book called "Jesusonomy" and still hangs out at his church after it gets burned down, and a mystery of some missing kids. Also E. Berkley from SHOWGIRLS is in there but I didn't realize it was her. There's some weird dream imagery including a phallic CGI ABYSS tentacle (those were in the first one, right? Can't remember for sure) and a glowing feather she pulls out of the TV during an infomercial for the G. Foreman grill. Not sure what the fuck that means, but I'll go ahead and count it as a nice touch. It's funny, usually you gotta assume it's a bad idea to make a sequel without the input of whoever made the original. But I think R. Kelly is a special case. D. DARKO was a movie that seemed refreshing and original at the time, or to some youths seemed like the greatest movie ever made, projected directly from God's beaming eyes onto the side of a magical cloud. Anyway it was pretty good at the time so it was fair to expect interesting things from this director. Instead he wrote god damn DOMINO and set a new world record for self indulgent messes with SOUTHLAND TALES. So I'm sure they high fived and broke out the champagne when he said he didn't want to do a sequel. The director they got is C. Fisher, who did some TV episodes, a couple serial killer movies and the C. Gooding Jr. movie DIRTY. The writer is N. Atkins, best known as assistant sound editor on T. Hooper's THE TOOLBOX MURDERS. They must've done thorough background checks and everything because they found two guys completely innocent of working on DOMINO or SOUTHLAND TALES. I gotta respect them for that, but unfortunately they can't overcome the fact that there's no reason to make this sequel. The only way to make it seem like a sequel to DARKO is to imitate the original, but the only reason anybody liked the original is because they hadn't really seen anything exactly like that before. So a sequel is self-defeating. That said, these guys make a better attempt than you'd think they would. For the most part it doesn't feel like a cut rate DARKO, the production value is pretty good. The cast is good, the cinematography is good, they capture the gloomy mood pretty good. Lots of slo-mo and musical montages. There's a guy who builds a metal version of the bunny mask, one that actually hurts his head when he puts it on. The explanation for why he'd make a mask like that sort of makes sense, but it still feels like your typical sequel stretching to bring back familiar elements from part 1. There's some ambiguousness here but I think also some sloppy storytelling that made me understand what was going on even less than I was supposed to. There's also not as much humor as in part 1, and 100% less P. Swayze. I did think a couple things were clever though, so I might as well spoil them. 1). Many movies have a lead who's having some mysterious character appear to them in dreams or hallucinations to pass on some kind of cryptic message. In this movie it's the other way around, the lead (S. Darko) keeps appearing in the visions of the mysterious character (the aforementioned vet, Iraq Jack). 2). In kind of a PSYCHO type surprise, S. Darko gets killed in a sudden car accident, and the movie becomes about her friend. But her friend feels bad about mean things she said to S. right before her death so she figures out a trippy way to travel back in time and sacrifice herself in place of S. So then S. is alive and it becomes about her again. Janet Leigh never got to do a double switcheroo like that. Still, I would not really recommend this movie, it's an unnecessary rehash. But if you insist on watching it for some reason it's really not that bad. It's definitely not one of the all time classic DTV sequels like UNDISPUTED II or FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 2, but it's way better than an embarrassment like a CANDYMAN 3 and a step above a mediocrity like HOLLOW MAN 2 I'd say. Maybe it's a masterpiece if you read the prequel comics though. If they decide to do part 3 I hope they get further away from the type of story told in part 1. Maybe it could be called DARKO 3: DARKSQUAD. S. Darko is still travelling the country, now on a souped-up jet-engine motorcycle and with a helmet shaped like a sleeker version of the bunny mask. She's found out that the time travel secrets have fallen into the wrong hands so she leads a team of Timecops fighting Timecrimes. There are a bunch of matrixy fights where they swing their ABYSS tentacles at each other and slap them together like big floppy swords. Then it flashes a bunch of weird images and formulas and it's all trippy and etc. Just one possible approach. Anyway thanks Ain't It Cool, your friend Vern now at

Readers Talkback
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  • May 12, 2009, 8:59 a.m. CST


    by hirst


  • May 12, 2009, 8:59 a.m. CST

    S. DARKO

    by kgerm

    I saw this a few weeks back and completely agree with this review. It's almost a point for point review of the first movie. Sadly, there was actually promise (in the first ten minutes or so) of giving rules to donnie's universe that the entire audience would understand.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:01 a.m. CST


    by kbass

    Once again, the best reviewer here hits the mark. Thank you for your input. My suspicions have been confirmed.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:08 a.m. CST

    I love Vern

    by theGoldbergV

    but not in a gay way. Just a respectful love. Like a man-hug.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:09 a.m. CST

    The problem with this movie....

    by V'Shael

    is that like Vern, they seem to only vaguely have remembered the original, and then only partially understood it. <p> As such, the sequel is relegated to a series of checklists, in order to try to capture the same air as the original. <p> "Time travel?" "Check" <br> "Apocalypse?" "Check"<br> "Halluncinations?" "Check"<br> "Subtle references to the first movie, to appeal to the hard core fans?" "Check"<br> <p> "What do you mean we didn't do as well at the box office? We had all the same cool shit!" <p> Fucktards.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:09 a.m. CST

    A. Darko: Scannerly

    by Iowa Snot Client

    The line about projection directly from God's eyes gave me a chuckle.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Three of My Least Favorite Movies Ever

    by RichardAlpert_TimePimp

    Donnie Darko, Domino, Southland Tales. <p> Basically, what I'm saying, is I fucking hate R. Kelly, and think he is the biggest hack on the planet. If you watch his other movies, and go back and watch Darko, you'll realize, just like I did, that none of it means anything, and it never did. He just makes shit up as pretentiously as possible, and purports it to have meaning. Dick.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Didn't like Donnie Darko

    by HorrorFan81

    So, I'll stay away from this one.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:21 a.m. CST

    didnt do as well as D. Darko in box office?

    by misterfaust

    lol are you serious? Just checked and that movie made 1.2 million. Not a hundred point two. Just a measly 1 million. Donnie Darko was definitely better. I'm just sayin.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:22 a.m. CST


    by kgerm

    Kelly's version of The Box will change how you think of him.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:25 a.m. CST

    where's the...

    by DMAGnifier

    ...spoiler tag? She dies and comes back? I wish I could go back in time to before I read this.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:27 a.m. CST

    how can you not like Domino??

    by the_knightfall

    Any movie that shows the tits of Keyra Knightley is a classic in my book!

  • May 12, 2009, 9:27 a.m. CST

    If I were interested in a Donnie Darko sequel...

    by DerLanghaarige

    ...I would visit more often. :P

  • May 12, 2009, 9:30 a.m. CST


    by perromaldito

    What tits?

  • May 12, 2009, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Is the first one some Scientologist thing or something?

    by Spandau Belly

    I saw it, and didn't like it general, but also felt like I didn't really get it. So whenever I met people who claim it's their favortie movie I would ask them (in a non-insulting sincere tone) what this film meant to them. I honestly wanted to know. But everytime they would just explode at me telling me that I am a sheep controlled by mass media to only want Michael Bay type formula blockbuster garbage.<br><br>Maybe if I sent L. Ron Hubbard a big enough cheque I'd get a panphlet telling me what the big secret is, but I dunno, I get the feeling everybody's bluffing on this one and it's an emprorer's new indie film type situation.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:33 a.m. CST

    The best movie R. Kelly ever did...

    by Alkeoholic77

    Was that one where he pissed on the 13 year old girl.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:36 a.m. CST


    by one_guy_from_andromeda the only thing keeping this site alive. I can even stomach Beaks because Vern tips the scale for AICN so far in the direction of Awesome that it doesn't matter what illiterate fuckwits they employ else.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Spandau Belly

    by Alkeoholic77

    You, my friend, are spot on! I always thought that movie went under the "It's so god damn weird that it has to be genius" label and every time I would ask someone which part they liked they would mention something about how different it was and how it was amazing and not give me any specifics. I would just say back my favorite part was when the kid dressed like Hulk Hogan.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:37 a.m. CST

    now review DRIVEN TO KILL

    by Jarek

    Which is the best DTV Seagal flick I've seen. That's right Vern, better even than Urban Justice and Pistol Whipped.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:39 a.m. CST

    AICN ...where hating anything good is the norm..

    by quantize

    oh i see so we're kicking Donnie Darko now? Well its a fuckin great movie..and yes everything else he's done is diabolical shit...but i'm not gonna jump on the hate train fuckheads on this site like get in line for..

  • May 12, 2009, 9:39 a.m. CST

    A short confession

    by theGoldbergV

    I actually kind of liked Southland Tales. Its ridiculous, overblown and makes very little sense, but its does feature two outstanding peformances, ie. both of The Rock's eyebrows. "Nobody rocks the cock like Crysta Now!" <p><p> Yeah its a bit shitty, but parts of it are good and the soundtrack is cool.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:48 a.m. CST

    For those who didn't get Donny Darko.

    by V'Shael

    Here's the thing. It's not "so weird it has to be good". You guys remind me of Kevin Smith when he ripped apart Mulholland Drive, until his wife patiently explained it to him. Then he realised that David Lynch is still a genius, and he (Kevin) is a tool. <p> Donny is in a bubble universe (pocket universe). He should have died, but didn't. Everyone around him in this altered timeline (which shouldn't exist) mirrors what is going on in the "real" universe. The pocket universe will collapse in 28 days. <p> The movie is basically about Donny finding out that his universe (and himself) is living on borrowed time. And trying to reconnect the pocket universe back to the main one, before it collapses, and kills everyone in the pocket universe. <p> That's more or less it, going from memory (it's been a while since I saw it). But like The Usual Suspects, it's a plot that rewards the careful viewer who works it out for themselves. It's all too easy to mock the hell out of it, if someone has to explain it to you. <p>("Kevin Spacey, the gimp, is Keysor Soze? I thought it was Gabrial Byrne's character. That's stupid!") <p> Those who got it, liked it. Those who didn't, didn't.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Who are the ad wizards...

    by wampa 1

    ...that came up with this one?

  • May 12, 2009, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Thanks for spoiling, dumbass!

    by thalvar

    If you were going to tell us S dies, please put "Spoiler" on the title of your post.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:54 a.m. CST

    Loved Donnie Darko. Respect Southland Tales.

    by knowthyself

    Can't wait to see The Box. I'd rather see a director aim for the stars and fail than to direct anything without purpose or passion. I.E. X-Men Origins Wolverine.

  • May 12, 2009, 10 a.m. CST


    by Silverhour

    I've had a copy of Donnie Darko on my shelf for over a year now and I have yet to watch it. I have very little TV time to myself when I can watch the trippy/scary/fuckedup movies I like and my wife doesn't. Hell, there's 4 or 5 movies I've bought that I haven't watch yet (From Hell comes to mind, as does Don't Say A Word and Mothman Prophesies)

  • May 12, 2009, 10:05 a.m. CST


    by Monkey Butler

    See, that's all well and good, except none of that is actually in the movie. Not until the Director's Cut, anyway, and that just beats you around the face with all the time travel mumbo jumbo that any mystique the film had is lost. Donnie Darko was entertaining and interesting because it made no sense, but it turned out that it actually did make sense, but the sense was stupid. And that shit about asexual smurfs still makes me cringe.

  • May 12, 2009, 10:07 a.m. CST

    Yeah, the review needs a spoiler tag, BUT...

    by DerLanghaarige

    ...before Vern's spoils S's death, he wrote: "so I might as well spoil them". If this isn't a spoiler warning, I don't know what it is.

  • May 12, 2009, 10:13 a.m. CST

    "Projected directly from God's beaming eyes"

    by Zardozap2005

    Yeah, thats what some people seem to think about R. Kelly's movies. Why I'll never know. D. Darko was just ok, it wasn't that great a flick. Kelly is a one-hit-wonder. (Is that possible for a director?) Whateva....

  • May 12, 2009, 10:14 a.m. CST

    Monkey Butler.

    by V'Shael

    Actually, it is in the movie. I haven't seen the directors cut. But I did use the movies tie-in website before I saw the movie, so I knew a little going in. <p> But yeah, it's all there in the movie.

  • May 12, 2009, 10:25 a.m. CST

    does d. chase get naked?

    by bacci40

    cuz unless there are gratuitous shots of her young nubile bod...i aint gonna see this

  • May 12, 2009, 10:27 a.m. CST

    gotta disagree V'Shael

    by oisin5199

    my loving of Donnie Darko had very little with me 'getting it.' I never really understood the time travel stuff at all, and I certainly didn't know there was that whole 'pocket universe' theory. See, I absolutely hated the director's cut. The strength of the original film is the emotional content, not the convoluted 'scifi' stuff. The more you have to explain the film, the less it works. In fact, I didn't really want an explanation. Having been in high school (in a similar school to Donnie's) at roughly the same time the movie was set - 1988 - and listening to all that music (Echo and the Bunnymen, Tears for Fears), there was something about the tone of that film that captured a particular time for me. And Donnie's sense that something was utterly wrong in his world - call it a pocket universe, but it's really a classic story - in the Catcher in the Rye sense - of the teenager who knows that everyone (especially the adults and authority figures) is playing a strange game and he wants no part of it. And having a sense of something beyond the mundane, that that knowledge is somewhat comforting, like when he says to the girl who the other kids make fun of that it won't always be so bad for her. <p>And the final scene with the cover of 'Mad World' in which everyone seems to have the knowledge that something - they don't know what - has changed, and they react emotionally. That to me was one of the most powerful musical montages I've seen in a film (next to the Amy Mann montage in Magnolia). For someone like myself, for whom Tears For Fears' original Mad World was practically anthemic, hearing this newer, more reflective version over those incredible emotional moments, that's what sold the film for me. As soon as you start over-explaining it with the whole 'pocket universe' thing, that's when it loses the magic for me. <p>Anyway, is there any reference in this new film to Sparkle Motion? In the original, that was a primary example of everything that's wrong in Donnie's world.

  • May 12, 2009, 10:27 a.m. CST

    The script's a lot better...

    by ImMorganFreeman

    ...than the finished project. The script had humor, and connectivity. The movie has some cool shots.

  • May 12, 2009, 10:27 a.m. CST

    'very little TO DO with me getting it'

    by oisin5199

  • May 12, 2009, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the review!

    by papawapa

    I had forgotten I was supposed to remind myself to ignore this movie. Sarcasm aside I do enjoy a Vern DtV review.

  • May 12, 2009, 10:29 a.m. CST

    okay V'Shael, glad I didn't miss anything

    by Spandau Belly

    That was actually the interpretation I had worked out when I saw the non-director's cut. I thought it was about a dude who felt fate went off the rails and had to go back and set it right. I don't remember how it was he had the power to do this.<br><br>My earlier comments weren't so much on the movie. I didn't like it, but didn't really care. My comments were more on the fans of this other R. Kelly movies being the most hostile and secretive fans in the world. If people ask me why I like or dislike something, I'll tell them. I have reasons for my opinions. But all these Darko fans just jumped to the conclusion that the appeal of Donnie Darko as a movie was something too beautiful for this world and I would never understand it. Maybe I just look like an idiot. But the thing is, I like Lynch. I like Kieslowski. I like Jorodowsky. I don't need all my movies to be satisfying as straightup narratives to be enjoyable, I just didn't like Donnie Darko and was sincerely interested in why others did and they ranted at me like I just drove over a unicorn.<br><br>I didn't see Southland Tales, but I went to the IMDB page and again, it was all this angry secret cult stuff. All the fans abusing people who didn't get it or like. Again, it was a bunch of this "if you have to ask, you're clearly evil" stuff about how these poor people who just turned up to watch a movie were ignorant to general knowledge that they were expected to learn R. Kelly's secret language and follow the clues to the decoder glasses and use them to read the Holy hidden Kelly scrolls before buying their ticket.

  • May 12, 2009, 10:30 a.m. CST

    'I question your commitment to Sparkle Motion!'

    by oisin5199

    I meant to say that Samantha was a major part of the Sparkle Motion thing, and you'd think that would play into her development somehow, even if it's a matter of leaving it behind. Just a mention would suffice (maybe).

  • May 12, 2009, 10:34 a.m. CST

    swing their ABYSS tentacles...

    by FatherMcGruderKicksAssForTheLord big floppy swords. <p> I'd rather see that movie, it sounds hilarious.

  • May 12, 2009, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Its the HATERS who have over blown the first films popularity.

    by knowthyself

    We discovered it. We enjoyed it. We spread the word. Haters seemed to think we claim it to be some sort of GODLY film just so they can hate on it even more.

  • May 12, 2009, 10:48 a.m. CST


    by Arguendo

    Although I do like movies with "quirk" I think the standout part of Donnie Darko was the emotional content. One of my favorite types of movies (and this has quickly become a bit of trope as well) involve suburban dystopias and/or the juxtaposition of beauty and superficial ugliness. Donnie Darko strikes me as a mix between Edward Scissorhands and American Beauty and the most resonant piece of it is the fact that Donnie's family is prototypically the dysfunctional family but underneath it seems to be the most cohesive family on the block. <p>This of course involves the "How's it fell to have a wacko as a son?" conversation; Donnie's dad supressed laugh to Donnie's reaction too the lifeline exercise; the affection that Donnie showed his sister in conjunction with the regular sibling rivalry (it helped, of course that they were related); the fact that Donnie's sacrifice while theoretically for the "greater good" seemed also fundamentally personal -- saving his mother and his little sister who were on the plane. <p>I also preferred the theatrical cut to the director's cut. Perhaps oddly, that may mean that I also agree with the suggestions that R. Kelly isn't that great of a director -- his concern with the weird or science fiction elements and making a "neat time bubble" seemed to have gotten in the way of what I thought was the more compelling story and if he would relegate the emotional story to the B plot rather than the A plot, then, well, that is too bad.

  • May 12, 2009, 10:48 a.m. CST

    Damn you Alkeoholic77. (re: R. Kelly's best movie)

    by turketron_2

    You reached into my mind to pull out that post. I wanna piss on you....

  • May 12, 2009, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Saving his mother and sister?

    by YeahSureWhatever

    How did he do that? Didn't the engine still fall off the plane and kill him? Haven't seen it in a while...

  • May 12, 2009, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Theatrical DD was Awesome..

    by Redfive!

    The Directors Cut was Shit as was this.Dont waste your time.

  • May 12, 2009, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Theatrical was much better

    by Tin Snoman

    The extra stuff slapped into the Director's Cut are retarded. But the Director's Cut does have the better soundtrack. Also: I really like Southland Tales, but mostly because it has Christopher Lambert driving an ice cream truck. It is a completely ridiculous film, and it also has a pretty good soundtrack.

  • May 12, 2009, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Damn glad to see you back, Vern!

    by The Real McClane

    Come visit more often!

  • May 12, 2009, 11:36 a.m. CST

    The engine fell from the alternate universe.

    by knowthyself

    Watch the directors cut. It explains everything.

  • May 12, 2009, 11:54 a.m. CST


    by Bouncy X

    havent seen the movie but another review mentions she's driving to LA to pursue a dancing career, so it does keep in touch with her sparkle motion days.

  • May 12, 2009, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Vern returns and the quality of this site jumps.

    by rbatty024

    I too enjoyed the first film but somehow I doubt I'll get around to seeing the second movie. I even went far enough to see Southland Tales in the theaters. What a mistake that was.

  • May 12, 2009, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Sparkle Motion

    by Vern

    There's no mention of Sparkle Motion, only a short clip of it when she looks at a movie screen and remembers her childhood.

  • May 12, 2009, 12:17 p.m. CST


    by Arguendo

    Did I make that up or did knowthyself answer my question...? <p> My understanding is that the engine was ripped off of the plane that his mother and younger sister were flying on. Recall that his mother was only chaperoning her sister and the dance team because the PE teacher pulled out to defend P. Swayze. <p>Now if Donnie died, P. Swayze would not be incriminated and therefore his mother would not have had to chaperone them by plane (for some reason I thought the original plan was not by plane, but if it was -- then that doesn't make sense). Thus, his dying saves his mother and sister. At the very least, them mourning should have kept them at home...

  • May 12, 2009, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Southland tales...

    by Davidia

    Gets my vote for worst movie ever made! What a pretentious mess. The "humor" was way off and it made no goddamn sense. Oh I'm sure if you sent me a plot synopsis it would, but I shouldn't have to look that far into a fucking movie to understand what the flying fuck is going on. If you wanna make a convoluted and metaphysical story...fine...but atleast construct a viable narrative to squeeze it in, Southland Tales failed miserably at that. Even tho I hated the fucking thing I still ended up watching it twice, trying to catch something I missed and give it a fair shake upon a more relaxed viewing...but no, still the shitty mess the second time around. That being said, Donnie Darko was quite good, but if ya ask me Kelly was a one hit wonder.

  • May 12, 2009, 12:35 p.m. CST

    i was never a big D. Darko fan

    by BMacSmith

    didnt really hate it, i just felt like the plot is just made up as they go along to fulfill a weirdness quotient, but the girl in it was cute. But ive only seen the directors cut, which i heard is one of the few movies that are actually worse than the original. And I didnt see it until much later, so maybe the hype killed it for me.

  • May 12, 2009, 12:37 p.m. CST


    by fiester

    Was an enormous steaming pile of shit. Completely unwatchable.

  • May 12, 2009, 12:43 p.m. CST

    it's ok.

    by rayseedy

    Donnie Darko had some interesting ideas,(being stuck in a time loop untill something is fixed) but the characters were super annoying.

  • May 12, 2009, 12:43 p.m. CST

    i could see how the original would be better though

    by BMacSmith

    since the Director's cut just made up some completely arbitrary rules for time travel, then had the main character go through the motions without any real choice in the matter. Should have been kept more vague, so at least I could have made up something more interesting in my head (which isnt a knock on the movie btw).

  • May 12, 2009, 12:58 p.m. CST

    I thought Southland Tales was a joke... literally

    by andrew coleman

    I was watching and kept thinking: "This is a joke right? Like the movie itself is one big joke on the audience RIGHT?" No it was just a horrible movie I guess.

  • May 12, 2009, 1:04 p.m. CST

    True oisin5199

    by bobbofatz

    The original is the best because the supernatural is not totally explained. Makes ya work for it. It is a brilliant film that may take a couple viewings to really appreciate. For people who were in high school or college in the 80s, the nostalgia seems to make the movie that much better. For folks in their late 40s and up, and mid twenties and younger the film may not work as well. With the sci-fi and teen angst elements, it could work for nearly everybody. If this film is going to be bashed now what other classics are next? The Godfather, Raiders, Goodfellas, Star Wars, Aliens? Given enough time, DD will be up there with the best movies of the last twenty or thirty years.

  • May 12, 2009, 1:04 p.m. CST


    by Mullah Omar

    ...was the one where he pissed on that kid. <br> <br> Oh wait, wrong R. Kelly... <br> <br> Well actually, the video in question is still better than DOMINO and SOUTHLAND TALES.

  • May 12, 2009, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Arguendo... GET OUT OF MY MIND!!!

    by IL_Deuce

    Seriously... your post nailed the exact way I feel about this story. The sci-fi stuff is just gravy for me.<BR><BR> As for Richard Kelly himself, yes... that fucker is a pompous ass. I wish I had those hours of my life that I spent on Southland Tales back. I WANT THEM BACK, KELLY! Fuck that shit was unwatchable. The only reason I sat through the whole thing was because of my respect and love of Donnie Darko. That, and I was sure that there would be an inkling of an explanation somewhere towards the end of the movie. Something!<BR><BR> The ass gave us nothing though. Self-serving motherfucking hack. I will never watch anything from this guy ever again. I'd rather watch something by Uwe Bol. Honestly, I've only walked out on one movie my whole life. Alexander. I wish I could've walked out on this one too. I couldn't, though. I had bought it on Blu-Ray, you see. I watched it with some friends, we all talked about it on my porch like we were rape-victims afterwards and the next day I traded the movie in at a Game Crazy. <BR><BR> Richard Kelly raped me that night.

  • is that a reference to southland tales? its pretty funny if it is. <br><br>because i have to admit im one of those assholes who stick up for southland tales.. and i read the prequel comics. heh.

  • May 12, 2009, 1:10 p.m. CST

    That's right... Richard Kelly raped us all.

    by IL_Deuce

    With The Rock's cock.

  • May 12, 2009, 1:16 p.m. CST

    For the record, Southland Tales

    by Atomica

    Was a badass movie. The only thing self-indulgent is Vern in his pathetic attempts at wit with his abbreviation of each person's first name. Think you're clever eh? Yeah....No. You're an idiot. Southland Tales was a badass flick. I'm sure you're right, that S.Darko isn't anything amazing, but no need to shit on a perfectly good movie in Southland Tales. Jackass.

  • May 12, 2009, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Great idea for a third movie

    by kungfuhustler84

    Great idea.

  • May 12, 2009, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Atomica... why was Southland Tales a "badass movie"?

    by IL_Deuce


  • May 12, 2009, 1:20 p.m. CST

    Donnie Darko...ew, emo.

    by Grievey

    Srsly. Vern writes reviews for all the kids at Hot Topic.

  • May 12, 2009, 1:22 p.m. CST

    I want to fuck Daveigh Chase...

    by Cap'n Jack

    that is all.

  • May 12, 2009, 1:23 p.m. CST

    I lost resepct for Richard Kelly when...

    by Skuzz

    ... i listened to the commentary track on the original Darko dvd. It was like he had no clue what made the movie good, and was dissing all of the studio decisions. I couldn't believe what i was hearing. I still refuse to watch the director's cut.

  • May 12, 2009, 1:30 p.m. CST

    Mullah Omar

    by Alkeoholic77

    SOrry man, already made that joke near the top of the page. You are sooooo three hours ago.

  • May 12, 2009, 1:36 p.m. CST

    Donnie Darko

    by ChocolateJesus

    is basically "It's a Wonderful Death". Good movie (never seen the director's cut). A sequel isn't justified, I don't care what happens in it.

  • May 12, 2009, 2:01 p.m. CST

    I'll wait for The Box

    by oisin5199

    a Richard Matheson short story that was turned into a Twilight Episode? That's gotta be cool. And I'm one of those people that actually think Cameron Diaz is underrated as a serious actor (ex: Invisible Circus, some of Vanilla Sky). Maybe his next film will feature Lucy Liu so he can fulfill his dream of working individually with every one of the Charlie's Angel movie actresses. I have to admit, though, I never got around to seeing Southland Tales, although I still want to.

  • May 12, 2009, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Damn, now "Donnie Darko" is spoiled for me!

    by BenBraddock

    Shouldn't have read that review. Should, however, have seen "Donnie Darko" by now.

  • May 12, 2009, 2:13 p.m. CST

    I too want an explanation from Atomica....

    by Davidia

    On how Southland Tales was a "badass" movie. Awesome praise for it too, the same adjective you'd use to describe Commando for a David Lynchian-snooze fest.

  • May 12, 2009, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Alkeoholic77 I bow to you

    by Mullah Omar

    You are right, and I hang my head in shame at having not noticed your earlier joke until you pointed it out. <br> <br> And let me just add that personally, I would rather see the sequel to the video we both mentioned. <br> <br> Or maybe this time, R. Kelly can piss all over the other R. Kelly the way they both piss all over their fans - one metaphorically, one literally.

  • May 12, 2009, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Not going to read this right now....

    by The Dum Guy

    Just got back from Blockbuster with S. Darko.... must not be spoiled.

  • May 12, 2009, 3:16 p.m. CST

    I'll bet it's even shittier than the original.

    by JackPumpkinhead

    As laughably moronic as the first one was, Fisher was the slime that puked out "Nighstalker", compared to which Uwe Boll's films look like Paul Thomas Anderson's.

  • May 12, 2009, 3:45 p.m. CST

    Skuzz, now that you mention it ...

    by Arguendo

    ... that happened to me, too. I guess I blocked the memory of that out of my mind. <p> ... in a similar vein, I always hate when an actor/actress talks about their character on some interview and completely misses what made that character compelling as well (which seems to happen quite a lot).

  • May 12, 2009, 3:48 p.m. CST

    RichardAlpert_TimePimp -

    by Chadley BeBay

    You are a fuckfaced ne'er-do-well... Donnie Darko was a really good debut with a lot of great mood and atmosphere. Saying R KElly is a hack only succeeds in exposing you as a horse's ass. Oh and GOFUCKYASELF!

  • May 12, 2009, 4 p.m. CST


    by VikingQuestFan42

    Interesting theory, but unfortunately, you're an idiot. Richard Kelley himself said in an interview that he doesn't know what the movie means and that he deliberately made it that way so people would draw their own conclusions. But please, go on speaking like you're some intellectual douche'. It's quite entertaining.

  • May 12, 2009, 4:39 p.m. CST

    "Guys who got it like it"

    by Continentalop

    Not to point specifically at any TBers, but I have to say I hate that rational. "You didn't like it because you didn't get it" is just a cheap way to attack someone else's intelligence, a subtle way of saying :"you're stupid." <p> OF COURSE I DIDN'T GET IT! If I got it I would have liked it - that is the definition of liking a movie, you got it. I "didn't get" Babel, and no matter how many times my ex-gf explained it to me, I still saw it as a pretentious and overindulgent movie. Same with the two Matrix sequels. If I got what the filmmakers where going for, I would have felt a connection to the movie and probably liked it. So maybe the fault doesn't lie with us, but with the directors and writers who can't explain their ideas clear enough for people to get them?<p> Can we please just retire the whole "You just don't get it" argument. <p> PS - I "got" the original Donnie Darko, and I did enjoy it.

  • May 12, 2009, 4:59 p.m. CST


    by caruso_stalker217

  • May 12, 2009, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Cannot watch anything with Brianna Evigan

    by djseanmac

    She's literally unwatchable. I laughed at the trailer of Step Up 2 implying she has any right to lead a dance film. I cried at how abysmal she wrecked a potentially great episode of Fear Itself. BJ needs to put that bear back in the cage. And the thing that bugged me about Donnie Darko was, with him dying, Patrick Swayze's character was going to continue molesting freely without police interference. Thus, his death seemed like he was avoiding dealing with the problems rather than addressing them head-on like the viewer is sorta led to believe. Sickness :(

  • May 12, 2009, 5:31 p.m. CST


    by Sal_Bando

    Yw knw I'm rte.

  • May 12, 2009, 5:43 p.m. CST

    The only movie Richard Kelly has made is Donnie Darko.

    by Amy Chasing

    Southland Tales is best forgotten about. One of the worst large budget movies ever made. Down there with Dreamcatcher and Lost In Space. Poorly acted, poorly told convoluted story, poor entertainment with too few redemptive features to mention. Maybe Richard Kelly knows what he's doing, but he forgot to inform the rest of the cast & crew.

  • May 12, 2009, 6:05 p.m. CST

    OMG! WTF? LOL! I.P. Freeley!

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • May 12, 2009, 6:05 p.m. CST

    I can usually tell if someone knows nothing about movies

    by Series 7

    When they tell me Donnie Darko is the best/favorite movie ever.

  • May 12, 2009, 6:28 p.m. CST

    I like the title.

    by OutlawsDelejos

    But I'm sure that's all I'll like about it.

  • May 12, 2009, 6:54 p.m. CST


    by TedKordLives

    Go back to China, bitch!

  • May 12, 2009, 7:07 p.m. CST


    by applescruff

    Richard Kelly isn't a hack. He's just wack. And this movie didn't need/deserve a sequel. Shameless.

  • May 12, 2009, 7:20 p.m. CST

    Haven't seen hollowman 2

    by Jesiah

    But I know there's a really hot chick going topless in it, the same chick from masters of horror cigarette burns. Reason enough for me to see it when I get the chance.

  • May 12, 2009, 8:38 p.m. CST

    Any of you that like Southland Tales...

    by IL_Deuce

    listen to the commentary track. Seriously. <BR><BR> You know how when you were a kid and you knew you did a very bad thing, but before you got busted you felt the need to explain and justify yourself a tad too much?<BR><BR> Yeah... kind of like that, except with more "douche".

  • May 12, 2009, 9 p.m. CST

    Series 7

    by ebonic_plague

    I do the same thing when people say they love Boondock Saints. I dunno, some people might genuinely love it, but man, what a turd of a movie. But then, I liked Donnie Darko a lot when I first saw it, so maybe now my opinion on quality in movies is null and void for other people. But, as my taste in all things is infallible, I don't really worry about it.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:18 p.m. CST

    is that bad that I want to see this...

    by The Amazing G

    for the mid 90's setting? I haven't seen the original in a really long time though.....

  • May 12, 2009, 9:32 p.m. CST

    Apparently I'm on my own...

    by wacko3205

    but I'd have to say that I'm a fan of Kelly's eyes, mind, thoughts, & where he tries to take you with them. Sometimes they end up being a bit jumpled...& wacked as fwock...but I enjoy the ride. I loved Donnie Darko & Southland Tales. Both for opposite reasons. Donnie Darko really took me back to my high school years with the Tears for Fears track. the drugs, the anxieties, & last but not least...the clicks! All of that teen angst shit was just to dead on the money. Sparkle Motion was the shit, Dirty Dancin's Swayz-man was nearly my most fav villian to pop up in a long long time...and overall the entire story line really got me. I many times have you ever wanted to course correct your life? Only to end it? Fantastic. The acidic like fashion that it was shot in & the fact that he dropped the Evil Dead name bomb in the theatre during one of his time jumps was the end all be all for me! Kelly really really won me over & while a lot of the time shox & their workings went over my head...I like the way it was delivered. Now the main thing that I loved about Southland Tales...the cast & the fact that it was such a tortured product from start to finish...& it showed. That movie my good chums was just 100% fwockin out there!!! Can't wait for "the Box" to come out.

  • May 12, 2009, 9:59 p.m. CST

    Your Sequel Idea

    by Oldnewbie

    Is pretty damn good, man! Better copyright it NOW before you see it on the sci-fi channel!!

  • May 12, 2009, 10:15 p.m. CST

    The Swayz was crying during the epiloge...

    by Billyeveryteen

    He FELT caught. I doubt there'd be any molestrin' after that.<p>Donnie saved everyone, not just his awesome family.

  • May 13, 2009, 12:54 a.m. CST

    Enjoyed all Kelly's stuff

    by DrMambo

    for really different reasons. Liked Darko pretty much for the reasons everyone likes Darko, fun puzzle, cool tone, teen angst, etc... Liked Domino through sheer force of will because everything in it *should* have been awesome, but Tony Scott somehow managed to fuck EVERYTHING up - I like the idea of the movie more than it itself. And I saw Southland with low expectations because everything I'd read about it had been bad, but quickly raised my expectations as it went on. I don't really understand the hate on that movie - it seemed much easier to understand than Darko to me, and overall has a lot of similarly cool/funny/apocalyptic shit going on. Is it because ST goes for a more humorous tone, but tries to keep some meaning as well? Am I just misinterpreting the whole thing?

  • May 13, 2009, 1:51 a.m. CST

    my D. Darko experience

    by drave117

    I had never heard of it when I first saw it on DVD. I had just met this girl on a dating site, and she said "This is the most amazing movie I've ever seen! We have to watch it on our first date!" So she came over, and we watched it. After the movie, without a word, I immediately went into my room, signed in to the dating website, and changed my preferences to only show me people over the age of 25. Then I came back out and asked her to leave. I never saw her again, and listing Donnie Darko in the "favorite movies" section of your profile has been a dealbreaker ever since.

  • May 13, 2009, 1:54 a.m. CST

    and, flashing back to 2007, my Southland Tales review

    by drave117

    Southland Tales is, without the slightest doubt, the worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life. Worse than Catwoman, worse than Super Mario Brothers, worse than Epic Movie, and yes, even worse than that early-nineties Fantastic Four movie that was too horrible to even release in theaters. It is such a colossal failure on every level that I am still reeling from the experience. It literally made me physically exhausted to watch this film. I feel vaguely as if someone spun me underwater in a gyroscope for two and a half hours, while someone else used a potato gun to fire human feces at all of my senses. It is so thunderously bad that, although I have never struck another human being in anger, I swear on the graves of all four of my grandparents that, if I ever meet Richard Kelly, I will attempt to slap him in the face for making this petulant, masturbatory, wrong-headed abortion of a film; a film about which the most charitable thing that can be said is that at least it is twenty minutes shorter than it was when it was booed off the screen at Cannes.

  • May 13, 2009, 2:55 a.m. CST

    The way That I Interpretated D.Darko was...

    by Mace13

    that Donnie was destined to die from the plane engine falling on him. But because of him basically not being at peace with himself and the world around him and/or god that he was allowed (by powers higher up) to come to terms with everything and change how he felt by getting to experience things that would have happened in his life had he continued to live. He was giving a second chance to change his outlook on everything in the split seconds before his death.Thus saving himself. And I don't mean physically.<br><br> The way I took it was that everything that happened after the plane engine first fell to the end of the movie when Donnie actually died was basically all just a dream like state. None of that was real. The stuff with the rabbit man and the abyss looking stuff and time travel were all happening because it was in a dream world. Weird shit goes on in our dreams. <br><br> I thought that the biggest clue as to what was going on was when Donnie took his date to the movies. The "Evil Dead" was playing along with "The last temptation of Christ". If you've seen "The last temptation of Chirst" then you should know that it's a very similiar story. while being crucified on the cross, Christ is allowed to see what his life would have been like had he lived. The same concept is being applied to Donnie. <br><br> After his girlfiriend is killed I think Donnie even realizes what is happening. Thats why he takes her body up to the hillside or whatever and watches for that plane engine.He knows that in real life that she is safe and that his time is almost up. After he is showed in bed again right before the plane engine falls for the second/first time it shows him smiling while he is sleeping. I felt this was to show that he was at peace with everything now before he dies.Which he wasn't before. <br><br> It has been awhile since I have seen Donnie Darko. I need to rewatch it to see if my interpretation still holds water. I have never seen the director's cut. Thats just my thoughts on the first movie. Take it however you will.

  • May 13, 2009, 3:04 a.m. CST


    by The Dum Guy

    As far as DTV goes this is alright, but not worth the time unless you Love the first film.<br><br>One thing is that you have to have seen the first film to even know WTf is going on, and (most significant) if you apply logice, the ending doesn't make sense.<br><br>I dunno, but anyone who judges anyone for enjoying the first film is a shit-stain on humanity (who has to ** as they ** when ***), but I digest.

  • May 13, 2009, 5:43 a.m. CST

    Original was overrated

    by ballyhoo

    I like it a little less every time I watch it.

  • May 13, 2009, 6:02 a.m. CST


    by Knuckleduster

    If I remember correctly, you're quite the Richard Stark/ Donald Westlake fan. Well, I heard that Darwyn Cooke (the demi-genius behind DC: The New Frontier) has decided to adapt The Hunter into comic book form. Don't really know if you're into the whole funnybook thing, but you can see some samples at

  • May 13, 2009, 7:06 a.m. CST

    I agree Ballyhoo

    by hatemphd

    I loved the film when it first came out. But I've seen it about 5 times since and now i can barely tolerate it. <p> And no, the time travel reasoning, about the pocket universes and stuff, is from the old website. It is not in the movie at all. Which is kinda the problem with Southland Tales. Kelly expects you to understand his film's universe before you watch the film. I shouldn't have to spend 30 minutes decoding a website for the pages of a time travel rules book to understand Donnie Darko and I shouldn't have to read a bunch of comics to understand Southland tales. <p> And to the "get the movie" agruement, it is possible to "get" the film and walk away both unimpressed and disappointed. I understood perfectly what he wanted to do with Donnie Darko and i thought it was ambitious. I knew what he was going for in Southland Tales and I want Kelly's apology for wasting such a good cast.

  • May 13, 2009, 7:23 a.m. CST


    by ThereWolf

    Donnie Darko is genius.<p>Don't think it needs a sequel, though.

  • May 13, 2009, 7:23 a.m. CST

    drave117, you're awesome

    by Spandau Belly

    I wouldn't go with anyboy who had Darko as their favorite movie either.

  • May 13, 2009, 7:27 a.m. CST

    I'm a pimp...

    by MissusCalabash

    and pimps. Don't. Commit. Suicide.

  • May 13, 2009, 7:44 a.m. CST

    It weren't too bad

    by GaiustheBrave

    It wasn't ever going to be the best movie of 2010. Or the worst. is that it was on the threshold of being a good movie, it just never got around to being a good movie. Y'know what I mean? It was so close that I felt bad it couldn't have been tightened up a bit and, as Vern said, it does dip from the Donnie Darko well a bit too much; even Iraq Jack (or whatever his name was) looks like a Jake Gyllenhaal look-a-like in some scenes. <br> It was a hell of a lot better than I was expecting from a dtv sequel, though.

  • May 13, 2009, 7:46 a.m. CST

    "is that it was..." shoulda been "It was..."

    by GaiustheBrave

  • May 13, 2009, 8:15 a.m. CST

    R. Kelly sucks so hard.

    by rev_skarekroe

    Seriously. Trapped In A Closet? What the fuck is that all about?

  • May 13, 2009, 9:03 a.m. CST

    No one ever talks about funny DD is.

    by knowthyself

    That movie has lines that always have me reeling. The smurfette talk. The Banter between Donnie and his sister. Hilarious stuff. Even if you don't like the time travel aspect of the film you have to admit its pretty damn funny at times.

  • May 13, 2009, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Southland tales is taken WAY too seriously.

    by knowthyself

    Kelly isn't as serious as you think he is. A lot of the things people hate in ST are intentional put there by Richard. He does tend to over explain himself when he does commentaries but in ST he pretty much shut anyone up who thinks its meaningless crap. The film requires a level of investment that most people aren't willing to put into a movie. The prequel books + the movie + rewatching and rereading them several times to understand it all. Who wants to do that? Once you do maybe you can realize he's crafted quite the crazy little science fiction tale. Considering people are complaining that Star Trek is too simple, Southland Tales is the kind of scifi uber geeks love. Multidimensional mind bending stuff. I think the story was a little ahead of it's time. Still my favorite performance by Dwayne Johnson. And the last line is just too loveable. Consider me a Southland Tales apologist if you will but I love that film even with all its flaws.

  • May 13, 2009, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Perfect reviewer for this film

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    Someone who makes a show of how little impact the original had on them.

  • May 13, 2009, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Hey O. Vern

    by crazyyog

    First, please put SPOILER on before you giveaway the bloody ending! I guess I don't need to see this one now. Also, next time get rid of just using the first initial of people's name. It is goddamn annoying when you are unsure of someone you mention.

  • May 13, 2009, 10:45 a.m. CST

    I think Vern was just trying to be funny...

    by GaiustheBrave

    "S. Darko" so, therefore, E. Berkeley, etc.

  • May 13, 2009, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Again, for emphasis:

    by TedKordLives

    "Go back to China, bitch." <P> Jeez, funniest line in the whole movie and nobody notices.

  • May 13, 2009, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Worst director's cut

    by Sonny_Williams

    I vote for "The Exorcist". The added scenes within the movie were all right, loved the spider-walk, but the new ending fucked up one of the best parts of the movie. Don't know why Friedkin felt the necessity of 'explaining' everything.

  • May 13, 2009, 3:33 p.m. CST

    My annoyance with Darko and ST...

    by subtlety

    It's not that it takes awhile to figure them out... its that once you do, there's nothing really all that interesting there. They're more smoke and mirrors than actual substance. Sure, they both have a neat little sci-fi tale hidden in there, but neither one is that original or engaging. Its just that you have to dig through so much crap to find it that most people don't bother and just assume its confusing because its deep.

  • May 13, 2009, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Monkey Butler

    by subtlety

    "Donnie Darko was entertaining and interesting because it made no sense, but it turned out that it actually did make sense, but the sense was stupid." <br><br> Ha! That's a Vern-worthy line! Well done.

  • May 13, 2009, 3:51 p.m. CST

    "Everybody dies alone."

    by knowthyself

    Darko definetly had an emotional pull that was lacking in Southland Tales. Kelly must remember that FIRST you aim for the heart THEN reach for the head.

  • May 13, 2009, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Donnie Darko is not the greatest movie

    by bobbofatz

    ever and Kelly may be a dick. But that movie has subtle brilliance to it. If you cant see it your wrong and blind.

  • May 14, 2009, 3:31 a.m. CST

    Donnie Darko - I got it, and didn't like it

    by David Cloverfield

    I guess I had help, because I saw the director's cut with all the pages from the book shown on the screen. I understood the story, I just don't think it was a story worth telling.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:14 a.m. CST

    David Cloverfield

    by Freakemovie

    The original cut is vastly superior to the director's cut. That being said, I doubt your opinion would change too drastically. I thought it was a cool movie; it felt very much like the script of a first-timer, and I admired how optimistically ambitious it tried to be.<br /><br />As for S. Darko, I barely ever rent movies anymore, but I have seen all of the DTV "Cube" sequels, so I think I'll need to pick this one up eventually.

  • May 15, 2009, 6:11 p.m. CST

    original is about as overrated as you can get

    by Rupee88

    only "American Beauty" takes that crown away from Darko.

  • May 19, 2009, 7:19 a.m. CST

    It seemed very profound in 2001...

    by König Lear

    ...when I was fifteen. Watched it again recently, and it was considerably less so. Whenever you don't have a plot, begin a countdown to the death of the main character, or the world. Voila! I give you...113 minutes. The "fuckass" exchange was funny, though.

  • May 24, 2009, 10:49 a.m. CST

    american beauty

    by maitlanr

    is and has always been crap...the compromised draft...what got onto the screen.... i guess it was "fun" for hundreds watching kevin "don't tell my dad" spacey do the whole teenage rebellion thing....because you know the 'burbs....are like....totally soul-crushing....but there's beauty to be had in this world my friends...go find some it.

  • May 25, 2009, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Original movie was great.

    by Super Joker

    Not the be-all and end-all. I liked how it was basically a modern version of the Second Coming of Christ. That's what i took from it. Donnie gets to see what his life would be like had he not died, just like Jesus did before he was crucified. He realises he needs to die and is at peace with it, knowing this. As a result, he absolves everyone of their sins and demons - which is why everyone is seen releasing their emotions at the end, as if they had all shared Donnie's what-if adventure through time, and were now filled with regret and remorse (Swayze) or what seemed like love (his sister) or just contentment (his mother). I liked it, mainly because other people got something else from it. I find it ironic that some people treat the film like the Second Coming of Jesus, and choose to either worship or crucify it, when really, they missed the point of it all along.

  • Aug. 21, 2009, 2:28 a.m. CST

    In response to all that I have read above.

    by Ladrhiana

    I thought Donnie Darko was a pretty decent movie, as far as movies go anymore... You want a convoluted abstract supernatural plot? Try "K-Pax"! Watch that and try not to feel brain raped. Back to Donnie Darko, I didn't find it's emotional atmosphere or it's scientific notions to be too difficult to follow at all. Then again, I can sit still and pay attention to a movie for more than ten minutes without needing to pick or scratch something. Both Donnie Darko and S. Darko require the viewer's undivided attention. They've both got the same "blink and you miss something" sequencing. The first time I watched S. Darko, I went to the bathroom and by the time I got back living people had switched places with dead people. So, of course, I had to back it up and pick it up where I left off. As in life, attention is vital to comprehension. So if you're going to watch a movie with friends, you might want to consider watching it alone first. And why is it so hard to comprehend the idea that intellectual resolution was what the delay in his death was all about? The powers that were in his 'pocket-verse' wanted him to have understood the consequences (and body count) of his continued existence, and come to resolution through the acceptance of the need for his death to save those he loved to put it all back the way it was meant to play out. The same as in S. Darko where Iraq Jack effectively took up Donnie's torch just with a different deck stacked against him. "The Princess" intervened with Iraq Jack the same way Fred intervened with Donnie. Iraq Jack had a shit-ton of stuff to put to bed before he could shuffle himself loose the mortal coil. OMG! Something JUST occured to me! The Crow and it's subsequent, all too familiar, yet twisted sequels! Ok, random thought aside, I liked S. Darko even as a stand alone flick. I even put it on my wishlist. My best advice is to watch Donnie then S. right behind it. There is a feel of continuity to them. Whether it's a cheesy checklist as implied above or not, I really don't care. It's a mind rollercoaster that you have to hang on to and pay attention to. If you overthink it and over analyze it, you're going to miss the allusions. There are subtleties, and there are flat facts in both movies. Donnie is in either a 'pocket-verse' or for those of you who are aquainted with temporal strand theories (time philosophy), he's in a paradoxial strand (or splinter) reconciling the necessity to return to the original strand. If you want to be technical about it, either could be applicable. I do like all the tie-ins and wrap-ups in the sequel. Her poem about Ariel and Prince Justin. Then Iraq Jack calls her "The Princess". A subtlety and a flat fact combined. It continues the theme of self fulfilling prophecies like Donnie commiting the murder that created his innitial savior. If repetition is so annoying in a sequel, it ought to at least make understanding the first one a little easier for those who didn't "get it". Here's a thought, at the end, Donnie, Cory and Iraq Jack resign to their fates and it all falls into place for them. Donnie in his car, and Iraq Jack in his head gear, Cory in the other car too, they all intellectually resolve to commit themselves to whatever it is that fate or destiny requires of them to set things to rights. Resolution is the theme in both movies as is peace the goal.

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