clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Movie Night with Corn Nation - Year 2001: Donnie Darko

Sometimes I doubt your commitment to “Sparkle Motion”

The 2001 Nebraska football season

2001 was crazy. Nebraska was a machine right up until that day in Boulder Colorado. Nothing could have prepared us for what happened. It was as if our beloved Huskers completely forgot how to play defense. Craig bowl was our coordinator and it was as if he didn’t have a clue. It was a terrible day that saw me thrown out of my own house and and out of my neighbors house. If there were a quota for profanity I am sure that I used up at least 23 lifetimes worth. The BCS had just started in 1998-99 and they were still figuring out the formula when Nebraska imploded at the end of 2001. Everyone asked themselves this newfangled BCS thing was better than the bowls. Our beloved Huskers squeaked by Colorado and Oregon into #2 in the BCS as everyone howled. “How could Nebraska be in a national title game if they didn’t win their conference? They didn’t even win their division.” Now we have a College Football Playoff and we ask roughly the same questions because nobody’s really quite sure who gets in and why. The recommended solution is to expand eight teams. It’s a stupid solution. It’s an attempt to create fairness in place where such a concept will never exist.

Nebraska went into the national title game against one of the best teams in college football history. I hate to say that about Miami, but it’s true. Miami won an uneven game 37-14. Eric Crouch won the Heisman. Nebraska finished #7 and #8 in the Coaches and AP poll, respectively.


I chose “Donnie Darko” for this year’s movie. It was an excuse to watch it again in hopes that it would make sense this time around. It did not. I don’t recall the pace being as slow as it is. I re-watched it this week and all the while I kept thinking, “When does this get over?” I (cheated) read other reviews see if there was something I missed. There were some reviewers who felt it was a mini-masterpiece. My summation - it was Emo for the sake of being Emo. There were some interesting interactions and subplots.

The acting is exceptional. Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is excellent at being both creepy and a troubled teenager when either are called for. Patrick Swayze is great as a kiddie porn-creating cheesy motivational speaker. Donnie’s parents are okay - his father is more bothered by his daughter voting for Dukakis than having a “whacko son” and his mother takes everything, even Donnie’s death in the end, in stride.

The time travel bit could’ve been more interesting, but the book and Roberta Sparrow woman were… well, I didn’t feel like putting the effort in to figure it out (assuming that could be done) because it required more investment in thought I was willing to spend. The payoff wasn’t worth the pace.

Other movies that came out in 2001 included “Hannibal”, “A Beautiful Mind”, “Enemy At The Gates”, “Black Hawk Down”, “Oceans 11”, and “move on Rouge”. Any one of these would’ve been a better pick. I am interested in seeing what our community has to say about Donnie Darko. I can see why the line “sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion” could live forever with some people.

Nate M: Whenever the term “cult classic” gets tagged to a movie my first thought is always, “well this is probably going to be weird.” It was. But it could have been much weirder.

After watching Donnie Darko I read a couple articles that tried to explain the movie. This one, says that “Donnie Darko is a subtle superhero story, but make no mistake, it is a superhero movie.”

I guess most of us are left confused about what this movie means, but there is a director’s cut which gives more excerpts from that book written by Grandma Death. So check that out if you want.

When it comes to deciding what the movie is about, I am reminded of a quote by an author that I do not remember, “After writing a book, I look forward hearing from others about what my book is about.”

After reading the articles I think I’ll give the movie another watch.

Evan W: “Donnie Darko” was the third movie in our series, and it was also the third movie I haven’t seen. I remember seeing a picture of Frank (the guy in the bunny suit) last October and I was generally creeped out. Going into this movie I thought it was going to be a horror movie, and let me tell you, I HATE jump-scares. To my surprise, this movie reminded me a lot of Jordan Peele’s movies “Get Out” and “Us.” This was more of a psychological thriller, which I really enjoyed.

This movie surprised me because I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. While it did seem slow at times, once the movie got going in the second half I didn’t have a problem with it. The ending was kind of predictable, even though it was a tad confusing. Honestly, the ending to “Donnie Darko” truly reminded me of the ending to “Us.” I’ll expand without giving spoilers in case some people haven’t watched it and want to this weekend.

If you’ve seen “Us” you know there was a huge twist at the end that made everything tie together and make sense, even though it was muddied. It’s hard to explain because it makes sense, but there are still questions that need answers.

Jack Gyllenhaal was great in this role, he was creepy and regular when he needed to be. The only animation in this movie was pretty pathetic, but again this was 2001 so what can we expect? Overall, this was a solid choice by Jon. Next week we’ll review a movie picked by Greg, “Catch Me if You Can” from 2002.