Donnie Darko: Director’s Cut


Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a couple more looks at the Seattle Film Festival’s premiere of Richard Kelly’s DONNIE DARKO: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT. First up is AICN’s own bad boy, Vern. Now, Vern has brought it to my attention that not only was Jena Malone in attendance, but so was Drew Barrymore… Being as Vern was in the same general space as two of my dream women, I think it’s safe to say that he deserves nothing less than a slow and painful death at my hands. Some of you negative retards below can disagree with me about the radiance of Ms. Barrymore and that’s fine. Less people I have to fight against in my ongoing struggle to woo this vixen! Anyway, here’s Vern-o!!!

Dear Harry,

Hey bud this is Vern. I don’t want to be a squealer or nothin but fuckin Moriarty man, that dude put me on his spam list and keeps dumping my reviews. I wrote a review of Cruel Intentions 3 to name one example of a review that the world obviously needs to see but he threw it in the trash with the p.enis enlargements and the v~icodin. I mean I understand the guy is busy, but come on. I can’t imagine he’s staying up all night polishing the dialogue on that thing. I’ll give you a hint bud: Scorpion says “Get over here.” Don’t be writing any monologues for him or anything. And then you’ll have a few extra minutes for dusting your flatscreen and putting up my reviews. So anyway that’s not the point, the point is this. I’m not going to as many SIFF movies this year, but I did manage to see Donnie Darko’s Director Cut. The world premiere. NOT the press screening which was already reviewed by “Gooter.” I don’t do press screenings. I saw it with the people. That’s just the kind of guy I am.

Donnie Darko: Director's CutI suppose you are wondering what the differences are from this version and the original version that we all know and memorize and have tattooed on our balls, apparently, judging by this audience (more on that later). Well you got me bud, I’m not really sure except that there are some pages from the time travel book printed on the screen alot. I really don’t know this movie good enough to notice any other difference, but I guess that just shows whatever the dude added flows pretty naturally. My impression is that there was more emphasis on the atmospheric business – the long dialogue-less takes, the hypnotic drones on the soundtrack, the David Lynch shit. But maybe it just was more effective on me this time around. The sound was real good (I never saw it in the theater before) and the whole thing just kinda felt creepier than I remembered it being.

I gotta say I like this movie. I like these types of directors that know exactly how they want to tell a story and they just do it, regardless of what anybody else thinks. This is an unusual combination of teen movie, sci-fi, CARNIVAL OF SOULS type horror and freaky “dude you’re blowin my mind” teen trip out destiny shit. And he doesn’t really follow any established formulas. He makes it take place in ’88, and there’s some nostalgia in there but he doesn’t really use it for camp like you expect. Like they wear school uniforms so there is not many jokes about ’80s clothing. I think it is a good choice and I think the Michael Dukakis motif really works – he is just like the guy who died on mom and dad’s prom night, or like Donnie Darko. Some guy you heard about and then he was gone and you forgot about him. At the same time it parallels the “tangental-universe” time travel business because they discuss what Maggie’s life would be like if Dukakis won the election as opposed to if fucking god damn Bush won. I guess it’s like that one bowling movie “big lebowski,” that at first it seems to be set in a particular time period for no reason and then the more you think about it the more it seems like it couldn’t take place at any other time. Same thing with Barry Lyndon or Viva Rock Vegas.

I got a couple questions.

  1. Did the original version imply that Frank the bunny was Maggie Gyllenhaal’s boyfriend, or was that new?
  2. If they switched Toby Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal for a couple scenes, I don’t think I would notice
  3. Really #2 was more of a statement than a question
  4. Did you know Seagal has a new one coming out where he is a covert agent turned survivalist whose foster daughter gets mixed up in a human trafficking ring

Now let me say I saw DONNIE DARKO a couple years back and I wrote a positive review of it and what not. And I knew it was gonna catch on on video, but not like this. I had no clue. I mean you shoulda seen some of these fuckin people Harry. There was at least two guys in there wearing bunny costumes. There was people that drove from California and probaly further. In the q & A (question and answer) session afterwards every question started out with a couple minutes of emotional rambling about how much they love the movie and how much of a genius Richard Kelly (young writer/director) is. There was one guy in a skeleton costume who announced that he watched the movie at least 4 times a week and also that it changes his life every time he sees it. That means his life changes at least 4 times a week. Pretty soon he is gonna start evolving or devolving like in Altered States. That would be fucked up man.

Have you ever seen TREKKIES, it was like that. Or AMERICAN PIMP, but they say “bitch” less.

I was kind of thrown off by these nutballs but thinking about it afterwards I started to realize that it makes perfect sense. Every generation has their REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE or their BREAKFAST CLUB or their HEATHERS or their, I don’t know, AGENT CODY BANKS 2 or something. Well maybe that last one doesn’t fit I don’t know what kids watch today besides DONNIE DARKO. But anyway these are people who were in high school when the movie came out in 2001 and it was their movie, the one that spoke to them as high school outsider or perceived outsider types. Maybe they had some problems, they were in therapy or on ritalin or something so Donnie reminded them of themselves. Or more likely they were not in therapy or on ritalin but in their dramatic teenage point of view they think they feel like Donnie. In a way. When you’re that age you think nobody understands you so when somebody like James Dean or a guy in a skeleton suit seems to speak to you then fuck man, go with it. And then they start watching it over and over and searching for deeper meaning and discussing it in chat rooms and then they paint storyboards onto their ass with henna, lock themselves in their room and play Vice City for ten days straight while they ponder whether they want to live or die. That’s what these kids do and if it’s too loud you’re too old. And extreme is spelled X-treme now also.

Nah just jerkin your chain but if that’s your generation’s movie then you could do a lot worse. I mean it’s a pretty good one. Even the great HEATHERS has some cheesy directing and is somewhat based on various movie formulas. This one is more of an art movie, it has alot more ambiguity and mystery and unexplained touches. And by making the movie take place in the horrible decade of the ’80s, the movie somehow becomes timeless. Yes, there is awful white people music in it but it already sounded that way when the movie came out. It wasn’t due to aging.

I would say this will be a good one to see when it comes out in theaters, although to be frankly honest I think the obsession of some of these people will make it harder for the uninitiated to catch on. It is harder to enjoy something when you know people are THAT into it, that they would wear a fuckin bunny suit and travel across the country to see it early. On the positive side, I didn’t hear anyone recite dialogue along with the movie or yell out “this part is new,” and for that I thank them all.

Confidential to Quint: Both Drew Barrymore (from the wonderful McG pictures) and Jenna Malone were there, along with Mary McDonnell who is great as Donnie’s ma. Drew kept “throwing up metal” I think they call it when they introduced the picture. I have seen her “dissed” on this particular web sight but in person she seemed like such a lovable goofball that you could see why she is so successful. She did not stick around for the Q&A though so a gal next to me was not able to ask what exactly it was about E.T.’s feet that she didn’t like.

anyway thanks boys more later

your friend


Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/17681

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • May 31, 2004, 3:53 a.m. CST


    by Boxclocke

    Man, I hope that the Director’s Cut makes it to DVD. I would perform horrible acts against humanity to see this movie the way we were meant to see it two-and-a-half years ago.

  • May 31, 2004, 4:46 a.m. CST

    what about my link

    by Vern

    Just ’cause I don’t have pictures of underaged gals don’t mean you gotta erase my link. http://www.geocities.com/outlawvern

    soon to be a major motion picture

  • May 31, 2004, 5:44 a.m. CST

    Time travel will be explained by midichlorians

    by The Data

    In the grand tradition of special editions, i think the scene where donnie shoots and kills frank, frank should acctually shoot at him first. It makes donnie look more heroic.

    Also i heard they added a scene where donnie meets jabba, its dope.

  • May 31, 2004, 9:51 a.m. CST

    Drew… more cushion for the pushin!

    by Russman

  • May 31, 2004, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Quit While You’re Ahead, Kelley

    by criminy

    I can’t believe this movie has had more half baked, going nowhere, incohesive, throw-every-sci-fi/teen-movie-cliche-there -has-ever-been-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks moments added to it. Doesn’t the vanilla edition have enough? Why don’t they add a scene which reveals that Donnie’s next door neighbors are Knight Templars searching for the Turin Schroud? Or how about a scene where his little sister admits that she can see dead people? A scene where it becomes apparent that his mother is being controlled by a parasitic alien? And you can never go wrong with a plot strand where it is revealed that family house has been built over a graveyard. Are they really adding a Time-traveller from the future with terminator-vision?! Dear God. Why not teenage vampires who live in the abandoned funfair down the road? A group of youthful misfits searching for a lost pirate treasure? And the best thing is that it doesn’t have to cohere into a meaningful plot because you can just create a website which says they are everyone in the movie is a pawns in a integalactic war being waged by the ants and the plankton for control of the Spice trade! And that the movie is an allegorical meditation on free will and the meaning of unconditional love! You’d have to be a literal minded philistine not to recognise the workmanship in that story.

  • May 31, 2004, 11:22 a.m. CST

    And the joke’s on me because my grammar sucks

    by criminy


  • May 31, 2004, 2:20 p.m. CST


    by Vern

    That time traveler from the future deal was just one guy’s screwy interpretation of the movie. I sure wouldn’t ever think that and I don’t think anybody else would. I know I heard one guy at the theater saying he didn’t like the new version as much because he thought it made it less ambiguous what was going on by having passages from the time travel book on the screen. That is a fair criticism but terminators from the future and magic vampires or whatever it is you were talking about, no, those are not in there so keep your wig on bud thanks. Vern.

  • May 31, 2004, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Well its official….Richard Kelly is retarded

    by JAGUART

    Like Chance the Gardner and Forrest Gump, Kelly’s ridiculous, pretentious, convoluted cinematic babble is mistaken for profundity by the teen crowd. How do you keep a moron busy for hours? Show him Donnie Darko and tell him it means something.

  • May 31, 2004, 7:34 p.m. CST

    Quint, I’m with you on the Drew thing…

    by Crackula

    …my only complaint about chud.com is their frequent fat jokes at Ms. Barrymore’s expense. I don’t get that at all. Open your eyes people!

  • May 31, 2004, 9:09 p.m. CST

    Re: Did the original version imply that Frank the bunny was Magg

    by Kiwi-1

    Yes, he was. It’s possibly made clearer in the new cut, but it was definitely in there in the original. Richard Kelly talks about it on the commentary. *** Quick question – I have never been able to find the Philosophy of Time Travel book on the DD website – can anyone tell me how to find it? Thanks. The e-mail address in my name is no longer active, so if you could post instructions in this talkback, it would be helpful. Thanks.

  • May 31, 2004, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Nitpicking Darko? Find something better to do.

    by Azlam Orlandu

    God some of you will never be pleased. Darko’s a great flick, anyone can make anything look like shit if you watch it enough times and analyze the flaws. By the way, where’s you’re flick that’s better? Stuck up ass wannabe professional critcs, you guys on this site think you’re such hot shit, if you really were then you wouldn’t have time to post here. Get a life. And Vern, I have to say that this is the most entertaining review I’ve ever read on this site. Thanks for an entertaining read, that doesn’t come from the mouth of a snooty movie snob on this site. I thought I was the only one. They’re movies, not wine you wankers. Let yourselves actually enjoy something for once in your life. And please, can you get over the Greed shoots first thing? I agree that is sucks, i think everyone does, but the fact is that it was seven years ago, I hear less about September 11th, than I do about that 2 seconds of footage in a Star Wars film. Fuck!


  • May 31, 2004, 10:40 p.m. CST

    Dudes, Drew is a mutt.

    by Manaqua

    ’nuff said. You see the shot of her in Confessions near the beginning when she is standing outside Rockwells door? You see that fucking chin? Good lawdy thats a jawline! I normally wouldn’t crack on a sistas mug, but don’t be tryin to pass of that shit like some damn beauty queen. Dog-o-Rama……M

  • July 30, 2004, 12:13 a.m. CST

    To you DD haters what Movies do you think is better?seroiulsy?

    by bigbenkenobi

This entry was posted on Monday, May 31st, 2004 at 3:50 am and is filed under AICN, Drama, Mystery, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

7 Responses to “Donnie Darko: Director’s Cut”

  1. Wow, I didn’t see this review coming. I prefer the original release to the director’s cut. I remember the ambiguity in the original release made it feel like there were things going on in the movie that were left unexplained for a reason to help add to the suspense, but the director’s cut revealed that was not the case. After seeing the director’s cut, listening to the commentary, and hearing Kelly talk about DARKO a number of times I am of the opinion that Kelly got lucky with the first release of DARKO. The original cut is a great mix of strange things and unexplained happenings that really works to make a unique and compelling story, but it is better the less you know because the execution of the film is better than any of its ideas. Having Kelly explain his half backed ideas or elaborate on them only lessen the experience.

  2. That is really fucking weird, but a minute ago I refreshed my browser and this review popped up as Vern’s most recent review, but now it has disappeared. Maybe it is some sort of crazy DONNIE DARKO worm hole alternate timeline thing going on. I just hope Richard Kelly doesn’t try to explain it and ruin it for me.

  3. Sorry Charles, while finally getting Vern’s Outlaw Awards and Badass 100 pages transferred over from the Classic site I came across a file with dates and links to reviews that I had missed during my initial pass years ago. Since the goal was always to have all of his reviews in one place I’m busy creating new posts and while I’m usually good at following my routine I missed setting the date and you obviously were faster commenting than I was fixing the date. If you’ve used the new Reviews (Timeline) page you probably have already seen some reviews that weren’t here before. And there are still a few more to come!

  4. Oh man every time I’ve watched a dvd laelty there has been a trailer for the new Donnie Darko movie, that bunny & his voice just scares the crap out of me! I did enjoy the first movie but could never watch it alone! The last few weeks when I close my eyes to go to sleep I see and hear that bunny :(And sadly reading the blurb made me think of that new Zac Efron movie, what is it called 17 Again?? But he doesn’t go back in time… lol! I need help!

  5. Knox Harrington

    May 8th, 2013 at 10:02 am

    What. The. Fuck?

  6. Knox— It’s known as leporiphobia… the fear of bunny wabbits. To the best of my knowledge, the only instance of leporiphobia displayed in a feature film is in Cabin Boy, when Chris Elliott’s character, abruptly separated from his fancylad existence, encounters a bunny hopping across the road he’s walking along & flips out. I’m guessing this moment was intended as a stepping-off point as he begins his odyssey toward mastery of the manly ways. You gotta start somewhere.

  7. Knox Harrington

    May 8th, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I was actually referring to the fact that Elvira here seems to be stuck in 2009, even though the date on her post says May 8th 2013.

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