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Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

 

"Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!"




If you didn't know already, the director's cut of Donnie Darko will be screening for the first time this Saturday at the Seattle International Film Festival. If I wasn't working this weekend and could actually get a ticket, I would seriously think about going.

So you still haven't seen, let alone heard of this little movie? You're not alone. I saw Donnie Darko on whim when it was first released in 2001. I tried explaining the plot to various freinds but could never convince anyone to see it. Now, two years later, it's gained a healthy cult following. Here's a quick plot synopsis:

Donnie's a trouble high school student living in the year 1988. After a jet plane engine mysteriously falls from the sky and crashes into his bedroom, he begins to receive visions of a 6-foot tall rabbit that tells him the world will end in exactly 28 days.

Yeah, it's a tough sell. The movie combines the sci-fi humor of Back to the Future with the mind-bending mumbo-jumbo theories of Pi. Patrick Swayze (!) co-stars as motivational speaker with a dark past and Drew Barrymore, who helped get the script financed, plays one of Donnie's teachers.

One of the problems with the original cut is that it was clearly held-back by its small budget. The story is wide in scope and the director, Richard Kelly, has often commented on how financial limitations and the initial running time affected the film's ending. Donnie Darko had a second life on DVD, and now the special edition will hopefully receive a wider release and earn this strange little film the larger audience it deserves. The new version of Donnie will hit the screens again on July 29th.

But this brings up another issue: why is OK for Kelly to tweak his film ala George Lucas, which has become a cinematic cardinal sin? For one, he isn't likely to insert annoying CGI critters all over the place that distract from the story. Secondly, Donnie Darko isn't a movie that's beloved by an entire generation. Well, at least not yet.

Lastly, here's a fun little bit about Smurfs from the movie. Yes, it's naughty. If you're under the age of 27 and have a delicate liver condition, no, you shouldn’t read it.

"First of all, Papa Smurf didn't create Smurfette. Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel's evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village, but the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her. And as for the whole gang-bang scenario, it just couldn't happen. Smurfs are asexual. They don't even have reproductive organs under those little white pants. That's what's so illogical, you know, about being a Smurf."

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