"Quanta...like spit in the dust of a baseball field" - Cody

June 30, 2003

Donnie Darko, OMG!

As a person who has had a hallucination or two, usually drug-induced and much sought after, I have to say that this movie, Donnie Darko, makes me want to stay sane, ignore my imaginary friends, and watch out for airplane engines that fall from the sky!

This is the airplane engine that fell from the sky and slammed into Donnie's room. The neighbor kid says that Donnie got "shmushed." How cute is that?

Also, how cute is Donnie's imaginary friend Frank, the death's head bunny rabbit?
Please rate him from zero to ten, zero being "I love him like the Easter Bunny" and ten being "He scare me like the Grim Reaper."

I'm not sure why this movie was so moving. For one, the movie is visually enthralling. The camera "loves" the characters, and some of the shots, especially Donnie on his therapists couch unbuttoning his pants, are downright lecherous. The scene with Sparkle Motion's performance makes me sad. Girls that young should not be wearing makeup and dancing like that, but maybe I'm just an old-fashioned kind of guy.

I'm not sure where it was filmed, but it feels like it could be in the Rockies somewhere or the Pacific Northwest. I'm reminded of David Lynch's movies (especially Blue Velvet), by the setting and also by the way that utterly mundane images are transformed into beautiful and scary parodies of themselves, like the scary bunny costume or the parking lot behind the diner in Mulholland Drive.

In a nutshell, this is a movie about, um....time travel, insanity, following your heart, adolescent love, Halloween, prescription drugs, scary bunnies, and the dangers of hypnotherapy.

BTW, I love the small parts played by Drew Barrymore and Noah Wyle, and Jake Gyllenhaal's performace rang true throughout the movie. I almost cried in the end when-- just kidding. See it yourself.

Final note: the special effects are straight out of The Abyss , but they aren't obtrusive and they seem to fit within the texture of the movie.

Posted by cbsisco at June 30, 2003 04:50 PM

Drew Barrymore made this moving happen by producing it so props to her.

If you do rent the DVD and watch it, DO NOT listen to the director commentary. I love the film, and it was a real drag to find out that the director essentially accidentally made a great film, because what he describes isn't what ended up on film (thank god).

An amazing and unparalleled film.

If you want more information on my thoughts regarding why the director comentary is so bad, ask me.

Posted by: gene at June 30, 2003 06:53 PM

not only do i love this film but i also love jake googly-moogly.

Posted by: michele at June 30, 2003 08:01 PM

Well, I'm sold. Maybe now I'll actually watch that DVD I got from Netflix like a month ago. Thanks for the advice on not watching the commentary, Gene. I remember really like Vanilla Sky when I saw it and having to completely reverse my opinion of the film after sitting through the director's boring, overly personal commentary that revealed the true cheesiness and accidents that somehow miraculously resulted in such a cool film. Directors should sometimes opt out of the commentary, if only for fear of exposing themselves and their films for what they truly are...

Posted by: Kristina at July 1, 2003 09:27 AM

I'd like to echo gene's position on the director's commentary. When I saw in the the theater I thought, "My god...this director is the smartest man to ever walk the face of the earth."

After watching the movie with commentary my opinion of him was far lower. But thankfully, sometimes people make mistakes (and make great movies in the process).

Posted by: Jacob at July 1, 2003 06:20 PM

So I'm finally rewatching the movie. Here's my take on the first half hour:

Awesome opening shot of the mountains and trees at dawn. It establishes how lost Donnie is when he wakes up on the road; it's also a signal for the audience to be prepared for the unexpected.

Side note: I fucking LOVE the soundtrack. It opens with Echo & the Bunnymen. I think that sold me on the movie right from the start.

Some great lines...
Donnie's little sister: "What's a fuck-ass?"

Friend: "That's some good shit, huh?"
Donnie: "It's a fucking cigarette."

Little girl: "My best friend said the boy's locker room is flooded, and there are feces everywhere."
Friend: "What are feces?"
Little girl: "Baby mice."
Friend: "Awwww."

Donnie: "I once burned down a house. But I'm over all that. I mean, I'm painting and stuff."

Donnie: "It's so illogical about being a smurf. What's the point of living, if you don't have a dick?"
Friend: "Donnie, why do have to get smart on us"

The older female teacher at a PTA meeting: "Not only am I a teacher, but I am also a parent, therefore I am the only person here who trancends the parent-teacher bridge."

Great moments...
The older female teacher's obvious terror and jealousy of Drew Barrymore.

When the new student is forced to "sit next to the boy she thinks is the cutest."

When Donnie and his dad almost run over the spooky old woman with the David Bowie-like hair. (And the suspense, what does she whisper in his ear?)

All of the therapy scenes. For the weird patient-doctor vibe, and Donnie lying on the couch.

Noah Wyle acting like a know-it-all talking about wormholes.

Posted by: Cody at July 23, 2003 01:14 PM

I just made Jay watch the movie. He thought it was very bizarre, but not at all sad. I, on the otherhand, almost cry every time I see the ending. I think it's the superb acting that gets me all teary. I really feel their grief when Donnie dies. And it's so sad that his love affair with Gretchen never actually happens. And that he's happier to die than live through his madness. "I find it kind of funny, I find it kinda sad, that the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had..."

Posted by: Cody at July 27, 2003 10:15 PM

Fantastic movie!

I now am looking for a frank mask...

Anyone know where i can find one?

Posted by: MiNioN13 at April 24, 2004 04:33 PM

have you tried the Internet?

Posted by: holohan at April 24, 2004 04:54 PM

First off, I had waited a year and a half to see the movie. When I did, wow.
Changed my life. Very deep, very good. Great soundtrack.
But here's the deal.
If you think youv'e got it all fgured out, until you read The Philosophy Of Time Travel, you know nothing.
If you haven't been to DonnieDarko.com, go. It's kind of like a game/movie/riddle puzzle thingy. In "level 1", you can unlock and read the book.
I have taken the liberty of copying it into my own word doc, and will share it with you.


Reading this will change your life.
You WILL spend all of your sleeping and waking hours trying to "figure it all out."
You will become paranoid, and scan the book and movie for things that don't really exist.
I warn you, because you may lose your grip on reality.
I know I have.

Here it is, in it's entirety. (Minus Appendix A and B. I couldn't copy them. My apologies)

The Philosophy Of Time Travel


I would like to thank the sisters of the Saint John Chapter in Alexandria, Virginia for their support in my decision.

By the grace of God, they are:

Sister Eleanor Lewis
Sister Francesca Godard
Sister Helen Davis
Sister Catherine Arnold
Sister Mary Lee Pond
Sister Virginia Wessex

This intent of this book is for it to be used as a simple and direct guide in a time of great danger.

I pray that this is merely a work of fiction.

If it is not, then I pray for you, the reader of this book.

If I am still alive when the events foretold in these pages occur, then I hope that you will find me before it is too late.

Roberta Ann Sparrow
October, 1944

Chapter One: The Tangent Universe

The primary universe is fraught with great peril. War, plague, famine and natural disaster are common. Death comes to us all.

The Fourth Dimension of Time is a stable construct, though it is not impenetrable.

Incidents when the fabric of the fourth dime(n)sion becomes corrupted are incredibly rare.

If a Tangent Universe occurs, it will be highly unstable, sustaining itself for no longer than several weeks.

Eventually it will collapse upon itself, forming a black hole within the Primary Universe capable of destroying all existence.

Chapter Two: Water and Metal

Water and Metal are the key elements of Time Travel.

Water is the barrier element for the construction of Time Portals used as gateways between Universes at the Tangent Vortex.

Metal is the transitional element for the construction of Artifact Vessels.

Chapter Four: The Artifact And The Living

When a Tangent Universe occurs, those living nearest to the Vortex will find themselves at the epicenter of a dangerous new world.

Artifacts provide first sign that a Tangent Universe has occured.

If an Artifact occurs, the Living will retrieve it with great interest and curiosity. Artifacts are formed from metal, such as an Arrowhead from an ancient Mayan civilisation, or a Metal Sword from Medieval Europe.

Artifacts returned to the Primary Universe are often linked to religious Iconography, as their appearance on Earth seems to defy logical explanation.

Divine intervention is deemed the only logical conclusion for the appearance for the Artifact.

Chapter Six: The Living Receiver

The Living Receiver is chosen to guide the Artifact into position for its journey back to the Primary Universe.

No one knows how or why a Receiver will be chosen.

The Living Receiver is often blessed with a Fourth Dimensional Powers. These include increased strength, telekinesis, mind control, and the ability to conjure fire and water.

The Living Receiver is often tormented by terrifying dreams, visions and auditory hallucinations during his time within the Tangent Universe.

Those surrounding the Living Receiver, known as the Manipulated, will fear him and try to destroy him.

Chapter Seven: The Manipulated Living

The Manipulated Living are often the close friends and neighbours of the Living Receiver.

They are prone to irrational, bizarre, and often violent behaviour. This is the unfortunate result of their task, which is to assist the Living Receiver in returning the Artifact to the Primary Universe.

The Manipulated Living will do anything to save themselves from Oblivion.

The Manipulated Dead

The Manipulated Dead are more powerful than the Living Receiver. If a person dies within the Tangent Dimension, they are able to contact the Living Receiver through the Fourth Dimensional Construct.

The Fourth Dimensional Construct is made of Water.

The Manipulated Dead will manipulate the Living Receiver using the Fourth Dimensional Construct (see Appendix A and B).

The Manipulated Dead will often set an Ensurance Trap for the Living Receiver to ensure that the Artifact is returned safely to the Primary Universe.

If the Ensurance Trap is succesful, the Living Receiver is left with no choice but to use his Fourth Dimensional Power to send the Artifact back in time into the Primary Universe before the Black Hole collapses upon itself.

Chapter Twelve: Dreams

When the Manipulated awaken from their Journey into the Tangent Universe, they are often haunted by the experience in their dreams.

Many of them will not remember.

Those who do remember the Journey are often overcome with profound remorse for the regretful actions buried within their Dreams, the only physical evidence buried within the Artifact itself; all that remains from the lost world.

Ancient myth tells us of the Mayan Warrior killed by an Arrowhead that had fallen from a cliff, where there was no Army, no enemy to be found.

We are told of the Medievel Knight mysteriously impaled by the sword he had not yet built.

We are told that these things occur for a reason.

Living Reciever:
Donnie Darko

Manipulated living:

Eddie Darko
Elizabeth Darko
Samantha Darko
Mrs. Rose Darko
Dr. Fisher
Jim Cunningham
Joanie James
Cherita Chen
Seth Devlin
Kitty Farmer
Gretchen Ross
Ricky Danforth
Principal Cole
Prof. Kenneth Monnitoff
Karen Pomeroy
Susie Bates
Emily Bates
Suzy Bailey
Dr. Lilian Thurman
Beth Farmer
Roberta Sparrow

Manipulated dead
Frank Anderson
Gretchen Ross

Please, hold onto reality.
It's all there is.
Everyone dies alone.

Posted by: Lord Yuppa at June 7, 2004 09:00 PM

Thanks for posting, Lord Yuppa. And well done too! I haven't encountered such fervent melodrama in quite a while.

Posted by: cody at June 8, 2004 06:43 PM

i think donnie darko is a great film but i am confused if the aeroplane engine fell through the roof doesnt that mean his mum and sister are dead and didnt he shooot frank at the end because when it shows the characters at the end frank is crying great film but confusing as hell

Posted by: killian at June 12, 2004 04:36 AM

To be put simply, the reason they were all crying is due to thier "Dreams". Much like 'Phantom pains', which amputees often face. WHen a limb is removed (ie leg/arm) They claim to still feel it. The Manipulated, living OR dead, will "awake" from the experience, (given the Living Reciever put the artifact back in it's place), and will be depressed, and alone, though they don't know why.
TO be honest, it's a very, touching seen. I remember crying (very hard) when I watched the movie the second time.
Mad World by Gary Jules, almost better then "Bunnymen"

Posted by: Lord Yuppa at June 14, 2004 03:20 PM

Lord Yuppa, thanks for taking the time and energy to copy that down for us. Unfortunately, I think that, like the director's commentary, this represents an entirely different take on the concepts represented in the movie itself than what I saw, and it spoils it (for me), in a way. Of course, some people may prefer this interpretation, but I identified more strongly with my original interpretation, which was more in line with:

"it is entirely possible that this is not a portrayal of real events but of madness. It is possible that Donnie Darko imagines much of what happens, or does some of it and imagines other parts, that no jet engine hits his house and in the end after shooting someone he collapses into a catatonic state and believes he died four weeks before. It is as possible that this is a modern telling of Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (Ambrose Bierce), a story in which Donnie sees the means of his death break through the roof of his room and in the instant before it crushes him in his bed dreams his escape and all that would flow from it, only to have it end abruptly as the rope tightens around his neck."
(note that this quote comes from M J Young, who actually subscribes to the director's intended interpretation, and only offers the above quote to give a nod to alternative interpretations)

One thing I did find interesting about the director's commentary was that Jake Gyllenhaal seemed to think about it more in line with my thoughts. To each his own.

Posted by: brian at June 16, 2004 02:58 AM

This Movie has changed my life, The messages are incredible. I dont know where God Is either.

Donnie: I just dont even debate it anymore.
Psych: The search for god is obsurd?
Donnie: It is if everyone dies alone.

Posted by: Spencer at July 4, 2004 09:05 PM

every living thing dies alone


this movie left me feeling glad that i am alive

Posted by: rab at September 15, 2004 11:06 AM

This movie left me feeling glad Jake Gyllenhaal is alive... it also left me craving more "Tears for Fears" 80's classics.

Posted by: Kristina at September 15, 2004 02:06 PM

the director's cut is playing at the Lumiere. Who wants to go? I know, it probably won't be much different, but at least we can watch it on the big screen! Who's with me?

Posted by: cody at September 15, 2004 08:36 PM

I WISH I could be with you...Ahh, the Lumiere.
I think the first time I went there it was to see Miller's Crossing?

Posted by: robyn at September 16, 2004 01:38 AM

I'm 100% with you (as long as it's a Thursday, Friday or Saturday).

Posted by: Kristina at September 16, 2004 08:21 AM