1 How did you first come to see this movie?
I can’t remember the first time I saw this movie. I remember one of the last times I watched it with rigor was after a college professor used it as an example of misogyny and I was like, “Huh, what?”
2 What makes it a movie worth owning?
I have this thing for time travel. I don’t know what it is exactly. Something about being able to control what is outside your control. The ability to jump out of chronology is sort of like immortality. You put your will over that of nature’s. But in Donnie Darko, he doesn’t time travel voluntarily, it doesn’t seem. It is his fate.
That and this movie has a killer soundtrack.
3 What are your favorite parts?
I like when he writes the date on his arm in marker. I like Frank the rabbit. I love hating Patrick Swayze’s character. I like it when Donnie says “Hungry Hungry Hippos.”
4 What do you relate to in the movie?
Donnie saw a pattern that no one else saw. He saw his own fate unraveling before him. He felt himself become elected. People think Donnie is crazy or dangerous or special. And maybe he is.
5 Who is your favorite character and why?
Well, Donnie, obviously.
6 How did this movie make you feel?
That special knowledge, special power like that of a superhero. It lends these feelings to you, if you are prone to them. There is a sense of being out of control, because Donnie is compelled to do things he doesn’t want to do. But he does want to do them.
After the movie
1 How accurate were your memories of this movie?
What I didn’t like about this movie, that I remembered, was that the version I have is like a director’s cut sort of thing. And sometimes director’s cut is not necessarily better. I prefer the original version. I can’t say to an accurate degree what is different, but any time you feel yourself saying “this doesn’t feel necessary,” it’s probably from the director’s cut. A lot of interstitial stuff I think got put in for whatever reason.
2 How much had you forgotten?
Jena Malone, Seth Rogen.
3 Do you still like this movie?
I felt more saddened by it than anything. I didn’t commiserate with Donnie so much. I kind of thought he was an asshole. The teacher puts a line on the chalkboard dividing all human experience into love- or fear-based actions, and Donnie says that you can’t dichotomize things like that. There are shades of grey. I am trying to think of the other dichotomy this movie puts forth, that of science and religion.
4 Did you have any new feelings or experiences?
“Did you know him?” “No.” Oh, this felt so sad. Like, this was what Donnie died for, so that this girl could live. I might be missing something, but was it worth it? I guess, if he hadn’t come back, his mother and younger sister would have also died in the plane crash. But they might anyways in the new time line.
5 What is the take-away?
Donnie Darko moved away from fear and towards love. He was afraid of dying alone. And he probably wouldn’t have made his decision if there wasn’t at least the notion of love that motivated him. But there is no one way of doing things, or at least, it is not that obvious. And: time travel is possible.
6 How do you think watching the movie impacted/ will impact your future actions if at all?
This is one of those pseudo-think-films where you rattle it around in your brain playing what-if scenarios in your head. But I don’t think there really are any answers in this movie. If anything, this movie gives you nothing to think about, it just presents these scenarios that chafe against each other, tantalizingly.