Ultimate 2000s Blogathon: Donnie Darko (2001)

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The wonderful blogging duo Drew (Drew’s Movie Reviews) and Kim (Tranquil Dreams) are back again with the next Blogathon in their Ultimate series. They started with the 80s which I *think* I recall taking part in on my previous blog, then moved to the 90s, giving me the chance to talk about Liar, Liar (1997). Last year they went back further to the 70s and now in 2019 they’re giving us the chance to share our favourite movies from the 00s.

The 2000s is such a difficult decade for me to pick my favourite movie from. I’d finally reached an age in the 00s where I was watching movies for myself, and I’ve seen so many! Once I really made myself choose a single movie however the choice was clear, it had to be Donnie Darko (2001).

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If you’ve been living under a rock since then, Donnie Darko is a fantastically weird Thriller/Sci-Fi movie that demands to be watched at least twice. Teenage me had found herself obsessed with Jake Gyllenhaal, and spent hours on eBay tracking down second-hand copies of his movies, a trend that still very much lives on in me but has been made much easier thanks to the likes of platforms like Netflix. I couldn’t have been older than 14 at the time and I was terrified of the movie, but found it fascinating.

Donnie is a troubled teen with a history of violence. He takes medication but has recently stopped of his own accord. One night he sleepwalks and meets Frank, an eery-looking rabbit who warns him that in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds, the world will end. That same night, a jet engine crashes into the Darko’s house, destroying Donnie’s bedroom. Had he been home in bed, he would be been killed.

Donnie Darko is the movie that sparked my love and curiosity for dark and weird movies with endings that leave you with more questions than you started with. Donnie himself is a role that only Jake Gyllenhaal could pull off, and he does it so well!

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I haven’t seen it for a few years now, but off the top of my head, these are what I remember to be my favourite things about it:

  • “Oh please tell me Elizabeth, how exactly does one suck a f**k?!”
  • Those stoners talking about Smurfette. A conversation I didn’t really appreciate until I was a bit older.
  • Time travel!
  • The moral issue of finding a wallet on the ground. You have to take into account the whole spectrum of human emotion!
  • Donnie throwing shade on Jim Cunningham – it was hilarious.
  • “I made a new friend…”
  • Did I also mention Jake Gyllenhaal’s in it?

It wasn’t until reasonably recently that I learned a sequel was made, S. Darko (2009). A quick search of it on IMDB tells me that it’s currently rated #89 on IMDB’s Bottom Rated Movies list. Ouch. If you know me though, you know you can probably expect to see a review of it on my blog fairly soon. I can’t help myself. Any excuse to watch the original again too, I guess!

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Point Break (1991) vs. Point Break (2015)

I was feeling pretty blue last week, but a visit from my family and a chat about movies never fails to perk me up a bit. They’re forever taking recommendations from me, but this time I got some recommendations from them! Turns out one of my Mum’s favourite movies is Point Break (1991), a movie I’ve always known the name of but knew nothing about, and so not only did I give it a go last week, I also watched the 2015 remake so I could compare the two.

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Let me explain the plot of the original first just in case you haven’t seen it yet either. There’s a group of people robbing banks dressed as former Presidents of the US, and thanks to some footage from one of the crimes, one detective has the theory that the criminals are surfers. Keanu Reeves is an undercover cop that worms his way into the surf scene in Los Angeles and ultimately finds himself becoming close friends with the leader, played by Patrick Swayze.

No need to beat around the bush, it was fairly obvious that the gang that Keanu Reeves got himself in with was going to be the gang committing the crimes. But that’s not really the point, because this movie has so much else to offer. It has tension, action by the bucket-load and a romance that doesn’t feel unnecessary or forced. It also has one of the coolest scenes ever (Keanu Reeves on his back shooting at the sky) that I recognised from being spoofed and referenced in other things I’ve seen.

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I loved the ending, too. I thought it would end with the bad guys being caught, the good guys live happily ever after, blah blah blah, but the actual ending was a welcome surprise to me. Plus dare I admit it, I feel a Keanu Reeves obsession coming on. Is this the right time to admit I’ve never seen The Matrix?

Anyway, it was whilst on a high from seeing Point Break that I decided I would watch the 2015 remake. Oh what a stupid mistake that was! It’s impossible to write something coherent and intelligent about the differences, but allow me to list some of the things that annoyed me the most:

– New Keanu Reeves was blond and new Patrick Swayze was a brunette which confused the hell out of me constantly

– The actual bank robberies were mentioned briefly and that was it, rather than them playing a huge part of the story

– Any actual plot was thrown away in favour of stunts

– The only moments that were properly remade from the original were done in terrible ways. The moment Utah started shooting at the sky made me laugh it was so bad.

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Honestly, they could have just copied the movie frame by frame, word by word and it would have been better. I’m all for giving an old story a new lease of life but the best parts were trashed and replaced with crazy stunts just for the sake of action.

Put simply, it was LAME. I’ll stick with the original, thanks!

Bonus GIF:

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