Movies on Film

Donnie Darko Live Blog

By: T.J. “sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion” Mulligan

Requested by: thepriesttheycalledhim

I remember finding out about this movie in the summer of 2003.  I had just graduated high school and my friend Mike mentioned that he had heard a lot of chatter regarding this film from friends who had seen it.  One night while walking around a Meijer, basically just killing time, we stumbled across a DVD copy of the movie at a reasonable price.  Mike picked it up and we headed home to watch it.  By the time the credits rolled I wasn’t sure what I had watched, what my opinion on it was or where the last 2 hours of my life had gone, but I didn’t really care.  For the next few days all I could think about were the different parts in the movie, trying to mentally piece them together so that it at least made sense to me.  Its ability to stick with me is what lead me to purchase it.  Since then I’ve watched it a number of times, but haven’t actually sat down to watch it again in about 3 or 4 years. 

Since this is basically just a running commentary with the picture I feel obligated to note that there are potential SPOILERS AHEAD.  Also, in case you’re curious, this is the original theatrical version of the film (or at least the original DVD release version).

0:01 - We have Jake Gyllenhaal, our titular Donnie, waking up on the side of a road next to his bike.  He looks out at the landscape then backward, flashing a nearly sinister grin.  Cue title card.

0:03 - Donnie’s dad is a total Troll Dad.

0:06 - They seem like such a normal family… outside of the clear emotional issues Donnie has.

0:09 - Our first glimpse of Frank, Donnie’s (kind of) imaginary friend in a rabbit suit.  This is all happening after he took his medication and this is the first time I’m noticing that.

0:10 - “28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, 12 seconds.  That is when the world will end.”  It’s always good to have a definite time line for that sort of thing.

0:13 - At this point we know that the jet engine that crashed through the Darko home landed in Donnie’s room, which certainly would have killed him.  And at this point I know that keeping a coherent running commentary going throughout this movie is going to be difficult.

0:16 - Donnie’s friends are straight-up cocksuckers.

0:17 - This montage is easily one of my favorites in cinema history, due in no small part to the use of “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears.

0:21 - What kind of teacher makes a new student pick their seat based on sitting next to the person they think is cutest?  Way to single out that person on the first fucking day.

0:25 - It’s still odd to see Seth Rogan in this flick, stuffed in the background.

0:26 - I can’t be the only one who sees this and immediately thinks of Majora’s Mask.

0:35 - Seriously, douchebags.

0:44 - Come on, who hasn’t wanted to yell at a teacher for teaching dumb shit?

0:52 - I’ll probably now be looking up footage of the football game they were watching after I’m finished.

0:55 - The fuck is this guy’s deal?

1:01 - Donnie Darko: Making paranoid schizophrenia look kind of okay since 2001.

1:13 - Fucking Sparkle Motion.

1:17 - Never good to be accused of possessing a “Kiddie Porn Dungeon.”

1:27 - Really, the fuck is with this guy?  Aren’t people around town concerned about this dude?

1:44 - Another excellent montage to cap off the third act, this time with Gary Jules’ haunting cover of “Mad World.” 

1:48 - End Credits.

This is a film that multiple viewings can never really ruin because you’re still trying to piece together exactly what happened.  Some of the dialogue is a little rough from time to time but the look is good, the cast is solid and the open-ended quality of the story is played out really well.  Still a quality flick, right here.

I give Donnie Darko 4 glimpses into a chest portal out of 5.

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It's TJ Time

Movies on Film does Tribeca

For the next week, the Movies on Film crew will be in New York City for the Tribeca Film Festival. You’ll hear about our journey and the films that we saw upon our return; but, real quick, we just wanted to thank you, the Movies on Film readership.

This couldn’t have happened without you.

On Febuary 16th, the Tribeca Film Festival Press contacted us and asked us to submit applications to attend their festival. Initially, I didn’t even know what to think. Had they even read our blog? But because of people like you, our little blog has generated enough buzz to be invited to one of the important film festivals in the world.

Both T.J. and I cannot thank you enough for that.

We’ll both have Tribeca reports when we get back, but if you’re interested in following the festival as we experience it, I highly recommend that you follow our personal Tumblr and Twitter accounts.

Click here to follow Joshua’s Tumblr.

Click here to follow TJ’s Tumblr.

Click here to follow Joshua on Twitter.

Click here to follow TJ on Twitter.

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2nd Annual Movies on Film Oscar Predictions (2011)

Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

And the winner is….

T.J. Mulligan - Inception
Another year of Oscar, another year where I haven’t seen even half of the films nominated for various awards.  However, we’re all entitled to an opinion and I don’t mind acting like I know exactly what I’m talking about even when I don’t.  For the Best Picture race I’m of three minds: I want Toy Story 3 to win because I’d love to see an animated film take the Best Picture award and set a precedence and, really, this may be the perfect film take that honor.  I truly believe that The Social Network will win and, if it did, I wouldn’t be disappointed because it is simply a fantastic film.  But, if it were up to me, the winner would be Inception.  Visually stunning, superbly written and wonderfully performed flick that has been unfortunately snubbed all award season and deserves it’s just due.

Joshua Richey - The Social Network (but hoping for The Fighter)
I’ve done my very best this year to watch every film that’s been nominated for Best Picture. This was so much easier back when there were only five nominee’s. Of the ten films that are nominated this year, I’ve seen eight. I’ve not seen The Kids Are All Right or Winter’s Bone. Neither of those films seem to be getting much buzz for taking the top prize, so I’m not going to beat myself up over it too bad.

It’s pretty amazing to look at this list of films. 2010 was stacked with brilliant movies that could all have a case be made for why they’re the best. In fact, when you look back at the movies that were nominated this time last year, everyone had come to a concenus that The Hurt Locker was the best film. I was on board with that, too. But nearly every single one of these movies are even better than that. Had Toy Story 3 or Inception been released a year earlier, it probably takes home the Oscar. But in 2011, with all the great films that were released, those movies will be losing.

I’ve gone back and forth for the last hour trying to choose which film I think will win. With the exception of 127 Hours, I loved every movie in this category. Whatever wins, even if it’s something that I thought was truly special, there’s a part of me that’s going to be disappointed that something else didn’t get the nod instead. Okay, so what wins?

My two favorite movies this year were The Social Network and The Fighter. If I were going with my heart, I would say that The Fighter should win. But the momentum seems to be on the side of The Social Network. 

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Movies That I Love That Most Hate: Grandma’s Boy

Ever watch a movie that you found yourself loving so much that you recommended it to everyone, only to then have those people hate on you for suggesting such an awful movie? I’ve been there. In fact, I’ve been there so much that I’ve decided to make a new segment out of it. For the first Movie That I Loved That Most Hate, why not pick the film that my Movies on Film co-writer, T.J. Mulligan, hates? That’s right, T.J., I’m talking about Grandma’s Boy.

By: Joshua “You would if you had robot ears” Richey

2006 was a fun time for me. I was in college; I was getting drunk on a nightly basis; and I had also become a fan of the natural substance known as marijuana. It was during this joyous time that I also discovered Nicholaus Goossen’s Grandma’s Boy. The following is a list of 10 reasons for why Grandma’s Boy is a fantastic movie. (This list initially had 1,300 reasons for why Grandma’s Boy is fantastic, but I narrowed it down to 10 just for you.)

10.) It’s about a video game tester.

Quick. List all the other movies that you’ve seen that were about a video game tester. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

…got nothing? Keep thinking. I’ve got all night.

…yeah, that’s what I thought.

9.) It gave us Jonah Hill

Jonah Hill may be in every other film these days, but before Grandma’s Boy, Jonah’s most noted role was in The 40 Year Old Virgin, where he was credited as “eBay Customer”. His performance as Barry in Grandma’s Boy likely had just as much to do with his breakout success as Return of the Killer Tomatoes had for George Clooney, but that fact is that it was one of his first films.

8.) Kevin Nealon

No explanation needed.

7.) This scene.

6.) Linda Cardellini’s rendition of “Push It Real Good”

5.) Nick Swardson

4.) “What does high score mean? New high score, is that bad?”

3.) It made me sexually attracted to Shirley Jones

2.) The Bathroom Scene


1.) JP (and his robot legs)

…I could keep going, but I think that I’ve made my case quite convincingly.

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