Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Portrait of a Badass: Donnie Darko

Character: Donnie Darko
Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal
Film: Donnie Darko (2001)
Badass Moment: He accuses a motivational speaker of being the Antichrist during a school assembly, and is subsequently dragged away amid cheers from his fellow students

Donnie Darko is a potentially heavy film disguised as a clever 1980s nostalgia trip. The story follows our hero, a young borderline-schizophrenic Everyman, through his 28-day stint as a teenage deus ex machina, carrying out acts of divine intervention. That character is Donnie Darko, one of the most unfortunately named boys in the world of fiction. Donnie's onscreen psychosis, while dangerous and debilitating, is also the perfect device by which to make him a world-class bringer of wrath! This kid exposes a child pornographer, gets school cancelled by causing a flood, displays an extensive understanding of the Smurfs, and still has time to get the girl (in a way).

People I've talked to who didn't like this movie said that their main complaint was with the main character; they just didn't like him. To those people, I say this: Being a badass means being unlikeable sometimes. And besides, this movie also stars Drew Barrymore, who hasn't been likeable since she played Gertie.

Finally, consider this short dialogue between two of the teachers at Donnie's high school:

Prof. Monnitoff: Donnie Darko.

Ms. Pomeroy: [Laughing, shaking her head] I know!

That's a whole scene! Just the one shot, with just the two lines. People, the unspoken message here is, "BADASS."

Donnie Darko, you are an alliterative badass. We salute you.

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