Cult(ish) movies

22 Sep

Last night I caught up at last with Donnie Darko (2001), though not the Director’s Cut. See also Wikipedia and the Donnie Darko website, which is quite amazing in itself, though I could only make it work in IE. Last year ABC-TV had a My Favourite Film poll:

1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
2. Amelie
3. Blade Runner
4. The Shawshank Redemption
5. Donnie Darko
6. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
7. Pulp Fiction
8. The Princess Bride
9. Gone With The Wind
10. Fight Club

At that stage I had never even heard of Donnie Darko! Now I’ve seen it, and what an imaginative film it is. Well worth the time spent watching it. See also Margaret Pomeranz speaks to director Richard Kelly. Lawrence Person has written a very good critical review.

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Life is Beautiful (1998) is #29 on that top 100. I notice one review there says “Benigni’s movie made me want to throw up…” I did not react quite like that. The movie has had its share of knockers though: see also Wikipedia. It is now one of the texts for the NSW HSC unit on History and Memory, and I suspect would require much skill and tact to teach well; the Sydney Jewish Museum offers resources for that study.

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I enjoyed Life is Beautiful, even if it is a bit twee at times. There are many genuinely funny scenes, and a nice tribute to Singing in the Rain at one point. It is amazing how it encompasses such a range of meaning and emotion. Mike Odetalla offers a personal response that is worth reading.

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Posted by on September 22, 2006 in Cultural and other, Films, DVDs, TV


3 responses to “Cult(ish) movies

  1. Clayton Northcutt.

    September 22, 2006 at 12:12 pm

    No one is a complete movie connoisseur without the viewing experience of Donnie Darko, even if you haven’t seen the Director’s Cut. Trust me, if you thought the theatrical version was good, the DC adds whole new levels. When I saw it, it totally changed my opinion of films that I thought I liked, because this is what a movie should be like. The work with the camera and the sound are what tops off the brilliant acting by everyone, not just Jake Gyllenhaal (who is spectacular in his own performance).

    But what I feel really makes this movie in a class of its own is the topics and issues it tries to cover. Mental health is one thing, touching base on Sci-fi (with the multiple-universe theory) is another, but most importantly, place and purpose is the great feature of the film. It really is a quality, and important, film, and extremely underrated, in all spheres.

  2. Owner

    September 22, 2006 at 12:22 pm

    The DVD does have as supplementaries the missing scenes… That inane classroom “personal development” exercise (FEAR versus LOVE) I found very amusing, I have to say. It is of course in the theatrical version too. I have seen lessons like that.

  3. Clayton Northcutt.

    September 23, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    That scene is classic, not only because of the hilarity it entails, but because of the layer it adds to the film and Donnie in itself.

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