Monday, July 09, 2007


I read a review recently of books about reviewing books. Its subject, I suppose, and its purpose, was to criticize the criticism of critics criticizing criticism. The author of said article belittled the standard practice of using this formula in reviews:

A is like B meets C, as in:

Donnie Darko is like The World According to Garp meets Edward Scissorhands.

Belittlable or not, I'll continue using this formula, because for an intellectually curious and fundamentally lazy person like myself, it helps express what I want to say about a film or book quickly. In fact, I'll say that Donnie Darko is like The World According to Garp meets Edward Scissorhands with a bit of Evil Dead thrown in (A is like B meets C plus D). Not because Donnie Darko has any technical or thematic association with Sam Raimi's brutally original horror flick*, but because some characters in Donnie Darko actually go to see Evil Dead, and there are literally bits of Evil Dead seen in the film.

I shan't recommend Donnie Darko. Mostly my response was "whatever," though occasionally it improved to "eh." Patrick Swayze's role was a surprise at least.

*There is, of course, a dead character in Donnie Darko who is evil. Or whose behavior seems to be evil. I'm sorry if that's a spoiler. Whatever.


John Vondracek said...

WOW. I'm suprised you didn't like it... it's one of my favorites, bar-none

oh well... I can see why some folks don't like it, but IIII thought it was sweeet (and very Fortean)

I guess you have to be in the right mood though.

BTW... did you watch the extended and rereleased DIrector's cut or the original? I HAAATED the extended directors cut. It took all the ambiguity out of it (if you ask me)

:) jv

geoff said...

I didn't dislike it--I just thought it should be better somehow, and was disappointed. Something about the tone was jarring; at points it wanted to be snarky and snyde like Scream, when it should have been more serious.

I dunno. The material was weightier than the treatment it got IMO--perhaps it's my interest in synchronicity that made my expectations too high.

Parts were very effective--especially the medication/bathroom scenes with Frank. CREEPY. The actors were rather good for the most part too.

I wish Cronenberg had directed it.

John Vondracek said...

yeah, cronenberg would have been great.

I came at it from a completely different point... I had NOOOOO idea what it was or what to expect (had not heard ANYthing about it) so I was blown away to see a movie talk about things like that

plus Frank... the opening scene with him? OMG... sooo scary

years later the directors cut came out, and it divided the movie into titled chapters (like Roberta Sparrow's book) and it just hit the viewer over thead about the time travel and synchronicity themes... WAAAY too dumbed down... it completely eliminates the need (or desire) for repeat screenings... I was soooo sad to see they did that. I am glad my first 10 or so viewings of it were NOT the directors cut. (sort of like Lucas fucking with the original trilogy)

anyone reading this blog should know to get the original!!!

:) jv

geoff said...

I'm glad I got the non-director's cut from Netflix. I lucked out.