Donnie Darko


February 20, 2019
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(The Channel Awesome logo and title sequence play)

NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Let's talk about Donnie Brasco.

(But instead of that, however, clips of Donnie Darko are shown)

NC (vo): That's right, some of Johnny Depp's and Al Pacino's greatest performances - is that a bunny? I don't - I don't remember a bunny in Donnie Brasco.

NC: OH, SHIT! (clutches his head in frustration) Did I order Donnie Darko instead?!

(Cut to the right corner of the room to show a man (apparently, a fan of the movie) played by Doug, who's dressed in orange jacket and a bucket hat)

Fan: You certainly did. And let me tell you why it's the greatest movie ever made.

(In the other corner of the room, a jock (also Doug) is shown)

Jock: That's a load of crap. Let me tell you why this is the most overhyped, pretentious bull talk that has ever existed.

NC: (waves hands) No! I'm not doing this!

Fan: What? Why not?

Jock: Yeah, why not?

NC: Because Donnie Darko has two very polarizing audiences.

(The title of the movie is shown, followed by clips)

NC (vo): One side says it's one of the most mind-blowing movies ever made, and the other side says it's the equivalent of (poster for...) American Pie trying to be... (The poster for the 1998 movie Pi appears) ...American Pi. People love to talk about whether or not this is a game-changer or just an excuse for artsy kids to say, "You just don't get it."

Fan: As if we needed more excuses for that!

Jock: Yeah, if I don't understand that, that means it sucks. Like that movie Eraserhead. He was never once at the end of a pencil!

NC: Yeah, that's the thing. I don't care what the fanbases say. I just want to give my own take.

(The fan and the jock are baffled)

Fan: Really?

Jock: So you dress up as fanbases in a video just to say you're not gonna reference us?

Fan: Ironically referencing us?

NC: I don't even know what your fanbase is like. I have no idea if that's the shit you'd wear. I have no idea if that's the kind of stuff you would say. And, frankly, I don't care. I know there's a lot of opinions and theories about this movie, and you're welcomed to them. I'm just saying I'm gonna give my report on it. No one else's.

Jock: Just seems like a lot of extra editing simply to say you don't care.

Fan: You had to take time to find these clothes and change into them.

NC: Just leave me alone!

Fan: Fine. I'm gonna write a million theories as to what this opening meant. (leaves)

Jock: Yeah, and I'm gonna...punch a football. I don't know, whatever my fanbase does. (leaves as well)

NC: (sighs) Let's take a look at the film that launched a million blog posts. This is Donnie Darko.

(The movie starts by showing the titular character, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, lying on the road, having fallen from his bike)

NC (vo): The film opens with a boy knocked out, having apparently tripped on his bike. Ah, the mountains of Minnesota.

(Donnie resumes riding, and we're shown his family at home)

NC (vo): He gets back on and rides on home to his slow-motion family.

(The song "The Killing Moon" by Echo & the Bunnymen is heard in the background. While Donnie's little sister Samantha (Daveigh Chase) jumps on a trampoline, Donnie's mother Rose (Mary McDonnell) is shown reading "IT" by Stephen King in the backyard)

NC (vo; as Donnie): It ends with a spider, and they all bang the girl. Happy reading.

(Donnie silently returns home and opens a refrigerator. A small magnetic whiteboard is on its door, with "Where is Donnie?" written on it)

NC: I know over-readers are already having a field day with this, but honestly, I'm just wondering what production assistant put that...

(Zoom in to show a sticker of Cheer Bear from Care Bears on a whiteboard)

NC (vo): ...Care Bear sticker there. Yeah. Figure out the symbolism behind that one, artists!

NC: (wiggles hands) It's all secretly the origin to Swift Heart Rabbit.

(Cut to the family having dinner)

NC (vo): And, I'm not gonna lie, this might be one of my favorite most random opening lines to a movie.

Elizabeth (Maggie Gyllenhaal): I'm voting for Dukakis.

(Everybody stops eating and stares at her)

NC: (as Elizabeth) I just wanna help (photo of...) Jon Lovitz's career.

Eddie (Holmes Osborne): Maybe when you have children of your own.

Elizabeth: I'm not gonna squeeze one out till I'm, like, 30.

NC: (as Elizabeth) So, you know, in a year.

NC (vo): That's Maggie Gyllenhaal as Elizabeth and Jake Gyllenhaal as Donnie, playing the incredibly stretching roles of brother and sister. And it wouldn't be an early 2000s movie without Daveigh Chase.

Samantha: When can I squeeze one out?

Donnie: Not until eighth grade.

Rose: (to Donnie) Excuse me?

NC: (as Rose) She'll be well in a well by then! (The picture of Samara Morgan from The Ring (2002) stepping out of a well is shown)

Donnie: (to Elizabeth) Maybe you should be the one in therapy. Then Mom and Dad can pay someone $200 an hour to listen to all your thoughts.

Elizabeth: You want to tell Mom and Dad why you stopped taking your medication?

NC (vo; as Samantha): My teacher said this was called "shoddy exposition". (as Eddie) Your teacher's a Commie, honey.

(Rose visits her son in his room)

NC (vo): Donnie's mother tries to come in and make him feel better, but his awkward acting continues to rebel.

Rose: I don't recognize this person today.

Donnie: Then why don't you start taking the goddamn pills? (Rose leaves his room) Bitch.

(Rose stops midway upon hearing that)

NC: Fun fact: Tommy Wiseau actually rehearsed that line with him.

Donnie: Bitch.

(Cut to a clip from The Room)

Johnny: Bitch.

Rose: (to Eddie, in their bedroom) Our son just called me a bitch.

NC (vo; as Rose): Not well, but he did. (normal) Actually, in all fairness, most of the acting in this movie is pretty good, as Donnie goes back to taking his medication again, and... (The date "October 2 1988" is shown on the black, revealing the film's time period) Sure, I guess this is as good a time as I need for the date...

(Donnie is woken up and is lured by the mysterious gruff voice)

Voice: I've been watching you.

NC (vo): A voice seems to call to Donnie, as he walks outside and encounters DC cinematic reboot of Bugs Bunny.

(Outside in the dark, Donnie sees a figure in a monstrous rabbit costume who introduces himself as Frank)

Frank: 28 days, six hours, 42 minutes, 12 seconds.

NC: (points behind himself) You know, The Ring girl's inside. You shouldn't steal her shtick.

(Elizabeth hears strange noise at home)

NC (vo): Elizabeth comes home late, but it turns out she's right in time for shitting her pants.

(Everything in the house starts shaking and rumbling, and Elizabeth sits on the floor, scared and worried)

NC: (as Elizabeth, looking above) When will Admiral Boom announce his cannon fire?

(Cut to a clip from Mary Poppins, showing Admiral Boom preparing to scare off the chimney sweepers by fireworks)

Admiral Boom: Fire!

(Mr. Binnacle lights up the cannon. Cut back to Donnie Darko; the scene of the house shaking wildly resumes. After it stops, the movie fades to black)

NC (vo): And because we're artsy, we can just stop the scene right here.

(Smash cut to the first-person POV at the morning. It's revealed that Donnie was sleeping on the green of a local golf course. He meets two people there: Dr. Fisher, played by Arthur Taxier, and the resident motivational speaker Jim Cunningham, played by Patrick Swayze)

Fisher: Son? Son?

Mr. Braddock (audio; from The Graduate): Ben, what are you doing?

(Donnie finds the numbers Frank told him written on his wrist by the black marker)

NC (vo): Donnie wakes up on a golf course with the end of the world written on his arm. Wow, that sounds like the opening lyric to a Don McLean song.

Fisher: (to a departing Donnie) So, uh, let's stay off the links at night, okay?

NC: (as Fisher) And pay no attention to...

NC (vo; as Fisher): Patrick Swayze never got rid of his heavenly glow from Ghost.

(Donnie discovers several fire squads and police cars near his house and is told that a jet engine of an unknown origin has crashed into his bedroom)

NC (vo): Donnie goes home and finds part of an airplane crashed right into his room, but the rest of the plane is nowhere to be found. This makes the family kind of celebrities, as all the kids talk with them and even share smokes with them.

(On his way to school, Donnie approaches Samantha telling the story of the accident to her classmates)

Donnie: What happens if you tell Mom and Dad about this, Sam?

Samantha: You'll put Ariel in the garbage disposal.

NC: Well, that name's just a conflict of interest, seeing how we know...

NC (vo): ...what her pet dog did to Ariel.

(One of the teaser trailers for Lilo and Stitch is shown, with Stitch interrupting Ariel in the middle of her "Part of Your World" number by surfing and making a wave splash onto the boulder she was standing on)

NC: I have a Spirited Away and The Rats joke left. After that, I'm done.

(In high school, one of the students named Seth Devlin (Alex Greenwald) is walking in the hallway, sporting an indifferent look in his eyes)

NC (vo; chuckles): Hey, I didn't know David Blaine went to this school.

(As the song "Head Over Heels" by Tears for Fears plays, a gym teacher Kitty Farmer (Beth Grant) strictly sees Seth off)

NC: She's just angry because she got voted most likely to be thrown under a bus. (Helen from Speed is shown)

(As Kitty walks through the hallway, the pacing speeds up for a couple of seconds and then goes back to normal)

NC (vo): Wait a minute.

NC: This was an early 2000s movie!

NC (vo): Random slow-motion to fast-motion edit!

(The same editing is applied to the sequence of Principal Cole (David Moreland) walking out of the building)

NC: It was a weird time when editing (The photo of a remote control is shown with a human toe Photoshopped onto it) like your toes controlled the remote was artsy.

(The school has a big, muscular bulldog monument on the outside)

NC (vo): Ah, here I thought Happy Death Day had the weirdest goddamn mascot, (The masked killer from this movie is shown) but Pug McMahon Nipples here wins this round.

(The English class is taught by a woman named Karen Pomeroy, played by Drew Barrymore, who is reading the story "The Destructors" by Graham Greene)

Karen: "It was as though this plan had been with him all his life."

NC (vo): Drew Barrymore plays random casting choice #20 as Donnie's teacher. Though, to her credit, she did help produce this movie, so it's only fitting she plays a role mocking kids about missing the point of her story.

Karen: Why did the children break into Old Misery's house?

(A girl named Joanie James (Jazzie Mahannah) raises her hand to answer)

Joanie: They wanted to rob him.

Karen: Joanie, if you had actually read the short story, which, at a whopping 13 pages, would have kept you up all night, you would know that the children...

Ronald Fisher (Stuart Stone): (sitting behind Joanie, whispers) You suck.

Karen: ...find a great deal of money.

NC: (smiles) Yeah, I remember how many kids were made fun of by bullies when they didn't do their homework. (looks confused) Yet still raised their hand, even though they didn't do the assignment?

Karen: Donnie Darko?

NC (vo; as Karen): I have no question. I just wanted to say your name. That sounds cool.

(A newbie student Gretchen Ross (Jena Malone) shows up in the class)

Gretchen: I just registered, and they put me in the wrong English class.

Karen: You look like you belong here.

NC: (shakes head) Can't even think of a joke for that. That's just weird.

Gretchen: Where do I sit?

Karen: Sit next to the boy you think is the cutest. (The students murmur) Quiet!

NC: (as Karen, adjusts glasses) Only I may appreciate my childish remarks.

(Gretchen looks around the class, as everybody is staring at her, smirking)

NC (vo): Oh, and the teacher's not joking either; she means it, as the girl eyes the boys checking her out and... (Zoom in to Joanie) some of the girls?

(Nobody volunteers)

Karen: Joanie, get up.

(Joanie unwillingly changes her desk, and Gretchen sits next to Donnie)

NC: Aaaand immediately fired for her abuse of power. Oh, I mean, uh... (waves hands) She's edgy!

(On his way back, Donnie encounters a long-haired old woman, who is known as "Grandma Death", checking her mail)

NC (vo): On the way back, Donnie comes across an old lady who's roaming the streets and constantly checking this one mailbox. She seems to, however, whisper something in his ear.

Eddie: Well, what'd she say to you?

NC (vo; as Donnie): She kept Masters of the Universe off her resume. (Karg from this movie is shown)

(Donnie's parents send him to psychotherapist Dr. Lillian Thurman, played by Katharine Ross)

NC (vo): Donnie also apparently sees a therapist.

Donnie: I made a new friend.

Thurman: Real or imaginary?

NC: She asked that like he was choosing between sparkling water and distilled. (Two pictures of plastic water bottles are shown, one of Schweppes, another of Clover Valley)

Donnie: Imaginary.

NC: And he seemed a little too okay with that answer. (The poster for the show Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends is shown) You know, I think this show did some damage!

(The next day, Donnie and his classmates watch a video at a gym class about controlling the fear)

NC (vo): At a school, they watch a video about controlling your fear...

NC: ...You know, that class...

NC (vo): Donnie has another vision that night.

(Frank silently appears at night while Donnie is sleeping. We suddenly smash cut to Donnie stabbing somebody/something...and after a second, we're back to Donnie, who has awakened)

NC (vo; in a low voice): Well, now we know what happens when Guillermo del Toro does a Nesquik commercial.

(The next morning, it is shown that the school's water main was broken. Principal Cole and a janitor named Leroy observe this)

Leroy: My God, is this ever gonna stop?

(Outside, the school's monument of the mascot has an axe in its head)

NC (vo): The next day, it's reported the school is let out due to a busted water main and general douchebaggery. But it looks like someone's hitting on Donnie's maybe-baby.

(Outside, Donnie sees Seth and another jock Ricky Danforth (Seth Rogen) next to Gretchen)

Seth: (strokes Gretchen's hair) Has anyone ever told you that you're sexy?

Ricky: I like your boobs.

NC: I'd say that line is terribly written, but...

NC (vo): ...coming from a young Seth Rogen...

NC: ...I believe he said that.

Gretchen: (after Donnie says that school was cancelled) Do you want to walk me home?

Donnie: Sure.

(As Donnie goes past Seth and Ricky, Seth abruptly lunges towards Donnie in order to startle him, but he just scoffs)

NC: (hand on cheek) I'll admit, I was torn which bird sound effect to put there, so I'll just play them all.

(The scene is repeated eight times, with a different sound of bird crying put over it, including a chicken and a turkey)

NC (vo): So he walks her home, and they make awkward small talk.

Gretchen: "Donnie Darko". What the hell kind of name is that? It's like some sort of superhero or something.

Donnie: What makes you think I'm not?

NC: (as Gretchen) I read comics. I know Mysterio's the bad guy. (Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Gyllenhaal) from then-upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home is shown)

NC (vo): So that's enough for relationship material, as they decide to go out. Afterwards, his therapist recommends hypnosis. She asks about his imaginary rabbit friend, apparently named Frank.

(Donnie goes to Thurman again and lies on the couch)

Thurman: Uh, I'd like to hear about your friend Frank.

(Donnie doesn't pay attention, and...his hand goes inside his pants)

NC (vo; as Donnie): Oh, he looks so much like Lola Bunny... (Thurman claps her hands, which makes Donnie freeze in place) Human tits! I love human tits!

(The next day, Principal Cole and the police officers interrogate everybody at school after they saw the phrase "They made me do it" written on an asphalt)

NC (vo): The teachers ask everyone at school to show their penmanship to see if they can find out who graffitied and vandalized the school, never questioning...couldn't the vandal just fake the handwriting?

(Cole and the police enter Donnie's class)

Cole: Donald Darko.

(Donnie gets up from the desk)

NC: Okay. Tell me I'm not the only one who thought in this one, he heard that.

Cole: Donald Darko.

(Cut to the picture of Frank in the blue background that was used in Donald Duck's late 40s-early 50s classic Disney shorts, with the iconic theme music playing. Some time later, Donnie hangs out in the meadow with his two friends, Ronald and Sean Smith (Gary Lundy))

NC (vo): But, dammit, movie! Let's get to what really matters.

Sean: Smurfette fucks all the other Smurfs. Why do you think Papa Smurf made her?

Donnie: Papa Smurf didn't create Smurfette. Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel's evil spy.

NC: (acting astounded) Your Smurfology is lightyears beyond my Fraggle Studies! (The poster for Fraggle Rock is shown)

(The following night, Donnie sees Frank again and argues with him)

NC (vo): He gets another visit from Francis Bacon's Roger Rabbit, who says he's a time traveler. But his little sister interrupts.

Samantha: Who are you talking to?

(Donnie snaps out to see Samantha in the bathroom doors)

Donnie: I was just taking my pills, Sam.

NC: (as Samantha) Whatever. Can you drive me to swim class? (After a beat, a clip from the movie The Rats is shown, showing the multiple rats in a swimming pool) In a pool that's filled with rats... (normal) I'm sorry! I made a promise, and I panicked!

(Back in school, the class watches another video, and Kitty has drawn a scale on the board with fear and love as opposite extremes)

NC (vo): Donnie returns to school, where they teach everything falls into two categories, fear or love. Seriously, what class is this...? And, big shock, some of these students think this is kind of stupid.

Kitty: Just place an X on the lifeline in the appropriate place.

Donnie: You can't just lump everything into these two categories and then just deny everything else.

NC: (as Donnie) Be like this movie, which only has awkward and confusing.

(Donnie and his parents have to see the principal for his behavior. After that, we cut to Donnie talking to Dr. Kenneth Monnitoff (Noah Wyle) about time travel and even getting a copy of "The Philosophy of Time Travel")

NC (vo): He gets in trouble for talking back to his teacher, but he still returns back to school to talk to another teacher about what is known about time travel. The teacher gives him a book that it turns out was written by that crazy lady roaming the streets. Later, the therapist asks what that woman whispered to him.

(After a quick shot of an old picture of Roberta Sparrow, who is revealed as "Grandma Death", we cut to the next meeting between Donnie and Dr. Thurman)

Thurman: Donnie, what did Roberta Sparrow say to you?

Donnie: She said that every living creature on Earth dies alone.

NC: Especially those who do Fortnite dance memes. They really die alone.

(Donnie watches football on TV together with his Eddie, Sean and Ronald, as a water trail comes out of one of them, but only Donnie can see it)

NC (vo): He sits with his dad and friends, watching the world's clearest 80s TV, when James Cameron suddenly takes over directing.

(The water trail slowly moves towards the refrigerator, as the man follows it like the trail is some kind of a small glimpse into the near future. Donnie then realizes that his chest has this watery trail, too, as he starts laughing about it)

NC: (as Donnie, grinning) So this is what happens when you eat Lunchables a day after they expire.

(Donnie's water trail stars to form in front of him, and Donnie just follows it. It ends in his parents' bedroom, where he takes out a gun from the closet)

NC (vo): So the... (FUCKING BUBBLES!) ...lead him to a closet, where he finds a gun. I guess that's fitting, seeing how we're shortly followed by a character we'd all love to shoot.

(The next scene is of an event from Jim Cunningham, where he promotes his books "Attitudinal Love" and "Cunning Visions of Love" and gives a speech about his beliefs in front of Donnie's school)

Cunningham: Because entirely too many young men and women today are completely paralyzed by their fears. They surrender their bodies to the temptation and destruction of drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex.

Donnie: How much are they paying you to be here?

Cunningham: Uh, excuse me?

NC: (as Cunningham) A cynical high school student? I was so not prepared for this!

Donnie: Are you telling us this stuff so we can buy your book? Because I gotta tell you, if you are, that was some of the worst advice I've ever heard. Right?

(Gretchen looks sincerely happy about Donnie's remarks, while Joanie looks kind of shocked)

Cole: (whispers) Remove him!

Cunningham: This is an anger prisoner...

NC (vo; as Cole): Well, as principal, I clearly have no control over this.

NC: (Annoyed) Are there any movie schools that aren't run by dumbasses?!

(Cole finally steps in and removes Donnie out of the hall, where every student starts applauding him for his remarks)

NC (vo): The parents are shocked, but the students cheer...whatever this was supposed to be…as he hangs out where all media things young people hang out...on living room furniture outside.

(Donnie is back in the meadow with Gretchen, as other pictures of people sitting on couches outside are shown, clockwise: from SNICK, Friends and Juno)

Donnie: I've been seeing stuff. Like, a lot of really messed up stuff.

NC: (as Donnie) Before we have an actual conversation, let's cut away, because no scene in this movie lasts over (Holds up two fingers) two minutes.

(Cut to the school's entrance, where we see the students walking around)

Monnitoff: Each vessel travels along a vector.

NC (vo): Yeah, it's kind of like cafeteria line editing. (Scene of Donnie finding the gun) Got what you need? (Scene of Cunningham entering the stage) Next. (Scene of Donnie being taken away by Cole) Got what you need? (Scene of Gretchen and Donnie in the meadow) Next. (Scene of Gretchen listening to Donnie) Got what you need? (Back to the school entrance) Next. Because of this, the pacing always feels a little off. It's less like a movie and more like Mario just jumping from level to level. Except instead of going from the Mushroom Kingdom to Underwater, it's philosophy class to science class.

(Donnie is discussing time travel again with Dr. Monnitoff)

Donnie: Well, if God controls time, then all time is pre-decided.

NC (vo): He talks about the past being like traveling through God's channel, but the teacher says he has to stop talking about it.

Monnitoff: I'm...not going to be able to continue this conversation.

Donnie: Why?

Monnitoff: I could lose my job.

NC: (backs off in shock, holding his left hand over his chest) Oh, no, tell me this is not a setup for (The cover of the first God's Not Dead with a four edited in is shown) God's Not Dead 4! If your argument's so clear, why are there so many movies about it?!

(We cut to the commercial break. After returning, we're shown Donnie and Gretchen in their class introducing their idea for Infant Memory Generators: the glasses which put peaceful images in front of the babies to put them to sleep)

NC (vo): So Donnie, here's a surprise, mopes around for a while, until he comes up with an idea with his girlfriend for a project to sell a life-changing product. These are glasses an infant can wear while sleeping that protect peaceful images.

Monnitoff: Well, did you stop and think that maybe infants need darkness? That maybe darkness is part of their natural development?

NC: (arms crossed, as two photos of babies in front of the tablets are shown) Boy, are you gonna like the next few decades.

Seth: What if the parents, like, put in pictures of Satan?

Gretchen: Is that what you'd show your kids?

Ricky: Didn't your dad, like, stab your mom?

(Seth sneers at Gretchen by imitating the stabbing while making weird sounds)

NC: (as Seth) Might I add to my totally realistic teen dialogue, "I like your boobs?"

NC (vo): The teacher waits a kind 10 seconds before finally stopping them...

Monnitoff: Get out.

NC: (as Donnie) No, wait, I want to see where this goes. (nods)

(Trying to calm Gretchen down after the lesson, Donnie kisses her on the lips. At night, they go together at the cinema, which is completely empty)

NC (vo): it scars her so much, it gets Donnie to first base. Time to follow that up with the hottest of all date movies, Evil Dead...

(True enough, they are watching the scene of the Oldsmobile arriving to the cabin)

NC: (as Donnie) Hey, that reminds me. If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

(After Gretchen falls asleep, Donnie smiles to see Frank appearing, as always, silently and out of nowhere)

NC (vo): But we see who Donnie's really on a date with, and...damn! She fell asleep in the first five minutes of the movie?!

NC: I thought (poster of...) For the Love of the Game was the only Sam Raimi film I could do that!

Donnie: Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?

Frank: (whispers) Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?

NC: (smiling) Spoken like a true furry.

(Frank takes the bunny mask off to reveal his face (James Duval), with his right eye missing)

NC (vo): He takes off his mask to reveal he's really...some guy...and he turns the movie screen into a portal.

(The movie screen changes to show Jim Cunningham's house at night)

Frank: Burn it to the ground.

NC: (as Frank, menacingly) Toad Hall has had its last car show.

(Donnie puts on a hoodie and leaves the cinema)

NC (vo): So, like any good boyfriend, he leaves his date behind and tries to figure out a way to burn down the house of a motivational speaker. (The billboard above the cinema shows that it's also playing The Last Temptation of Christ) Ooh! You get to choose which title is more symbolic!

NC: I'm still trying to figure out the Care Bear.

(We briefly cut back to the Cheer Bear sticker on the whiteboard in the beginning. We're back at the school, where a stage play is going on, showing a student Cherita Chen (Jolene Purdy) performing her aria while Kitty instructs the girls, including Samantha, backstage)

NC (vo): Meanwhile, at the school, we see a production going on of the timeless classic...Overly Blatant Teacher Commentary.

Kitty: Failure is not an option. And, Bethany, if you feel the need to vomit up there...just swallow it.

NC: Thank God our schools aren't PC or sue happy, or else we wouldn't be able to have this (makes air quotes) totally realistic scene...

(Cherita finishes singing)

Seth: (offscreen) Get off the stage, Cherita! (The audience applauds) You suck!

NC: (waves off dismissively) Oh, those dance recitals?

(The group Samantha is in is called "Sparkle Motion", and they start dancing to "Notorious" by Duran Duran. Meanwhile, Donnie pours out gas in Cunningham's house)

NC (vo): Donnie's little sister performs with her group The Dieter Faces, (The picture of Dieter (Mike Myers) from SNL sketch series Sprockets is shown) as he starts burning down the speaker's home.

NC: Ooh! He has a painting...

(The shot zooms in to somebody's painting in the house)

NC (vo): ...of Sean Penn and Sylvester Stallone! And, somehow, it's the exact same picture!

(Donnie returns to the cinema and sits next to the sleeping Gretchen)

NC (vo): And...oh, yeah. His girlfriend slept throughout the whole movie.

NC: Damn those famously comfortable old theater seats!

(The next day, the firefighters discover a hoard of child pornography at Cunningham's burnt house, and it is shown in the news along with the footage of Cunningham being arrested)

NC (vo): The fire reveals, though, that the speaker had a kiddie porn dungeon...and yes, those are the exact words the news anchor uses...

Newscaster: (on TV) ...what has been referred to as a "kiddie porn dungeon."

NC (vo): ...and is arrested the following day.

(Donnie and Elizabeth watch the report at home)

Elizabeth: Dad played golf with that guy.

NC: (as Elizabeth, shrugging) When he said his balls weren't clean, I didn't...

(Karen is called in to Cole at school, and the latter says she is dismissed)

NC (vo): Meanwhile, Barrymore is getting fired from her job, probably because she's an awful teacher.

Cole: We don't think the methods you've undertaken here are appropriate.

Karen: What exactly about my methods do you find inappropriate?

NC: Okay, we saw (shows two fingers) two minutes of your teaching. (slaps himself in the back) It was like putting a "Fire Me" sign on your back!

Karen: And we are losing them to apathy, prescribed nonsense. They are slipping away.

NC: (as Karen) Why can't you just judge them on entry and force them to sit where their hormones desire?!

(Karen walks outside in tears)

NC (vo): She takes the news pretty well...

Karen: (screams into the sky) FUUUUUUUUUUCK...!!

NC: (nods, smirking) This is why you're fired.

(Kitty, who wishes to testify in Cunningham's defense, asks Rose to take her place as chaperone for their daughters' dance troupe on its trip to Los Angeles)

NC (vo): However, the teacher defending the pedophile can stay! Figure that one out!

Kitty: It's obviously some kind of conspiracy to destroy an innocent man.

NC (vo): She has Donnie's mother to drive the girls to the dance competition, and, as one note and cartoony this character is, I do admit I get a laugh out of this line.

Kitty: (sobbing) Sometimes, I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion.

NC: (snickers) With all the obsessing over Donnie Darko, how has this line not been turned into a bigger deal-

(Cut to the Google Images search results for this line, with multiple images and memes being shown)

NC (vo): Oh, it has. Like...a lot.

NC: (bows down) I apologize, Internet, I should not have doubted you on this.

(Karen takes her stuff from class, including the US flag, and goes out the door)

NC (vo): Meanwhile, Barrymore exits her job gracefully...

(Karen trips in the doors, trying to hold the flagpole in her arms)

NC (vo): ...nice...while Donnie, I guess, tries to do something kind.

(Donnie approaches Cherita in the hallway and grasps onto her headphones)

Donnie: I promise that one day, everything's going to be better for you.

(Cherita backs out in fear and confusion)

Cherita: Shut up! (She runs away)

NC: (as Donnie) Well, that was unexpected. Totally justified, but unexpected.

(Cut to Donnie lying on the couch at Thurman's again)

NC (vo): He undergoes hypnosis again and admits to burning down the speaker's house, and also admitting that the bunny told him to do it. (Beat) How could I say that sentence without this being a comedy?

Donnie: (standing and crying) I can see him right now!

(Frank is standing in front of Donnie. He raises his head to the sky (in a unique way), and...cut to a literal sped-up footage of the cloudy sky for a second, and then back to Frank)

NC: What, did he turn into...

NC (vo): ...a California Raisin there? What was up with that stop-motion movement?

(Donnie embraces Thurman, sobbing. Thurman claps her hands, snapping Donnie out of the hypnosis)

NC (vo; as Donnie): Uhh, human tits!

(With Rose and Samantha in Los Angeles, and Eddie away for business, Donnie and Elizabeth hold a Halloween costume party to celebrate Elizabeth's acceptance to Harvard. At the party, Gretchen arrives distraught as her mother has gone missing)

NC (vo): With their parents out of town, Donnie and Elizabeth throw a Halloween party, but Donnie's girlfriend shows up saying her mom's gone.

(Cut to Donnie and Gretchen in the bedroom)

Donnie: Did you call the cops?

Gretchen: Yeah, they said I should leave the house and that...I should go to a safe place.

NC: Don't listen to her, man.

NC (vo): She fell asleep during Evil Dead!

NC: She is not to be trusted!

Gretchen: I guess some people are just born with tragedy in their blood.

(Donnie kisses her on the lips before they have sex for the first time)

NC: Okay, the proper reaction to have being kissed on that line is the same...

NC (vo): ...Jenna Fisher had in Blades of Glory.

(The clip from this movie is shown, with Katie Van Waldenberg being kissed by Jimmy MacElroy, but looking around in confusion briefly. Back to the film, Donnie stops in his tracks to see his water trail, and he follows it again)

NC (vo): But as Donnie's sense is going wild, his Liquidator schlong leads the way once more.

(Donnie plunges his head inside the water trail, and his eyes widen...literally)

NC: (as if amazed) That's the twist!

NC (vo): He was an anime character the whole time!

NC: I bet this is a spin-off, The Boy Who Leapt Through Time! (The poster for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is shown with Donnie's big-eyed face edited in)

(Donnie realizes the end of the world Frank has told him about is hours away)

Donnie: (to Gretchen, feeling uneasy) Come with me.

Gretchen: (voice echoing) Where are we going?

NC (vo; as Donnie): I gotta get outta here before someone makes a meme out of that scene I just did- (The shot of the previous scene is shown again with the caption "Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle Motion" below) Oh, God, it's too late!

(Donnie takes Gretchen, Ronald and Sean to see Sparrow, but instead of her, they find Seth and Ricky, who were trying to rob Sparrow's home)

NC (vo): He feels like he's running out of time, but suddenly, the bullies from before show up, threatening their lives. Guess I...missed the part where they went from name-calling to multiple homicide.

(Cut to a clip from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy)

Ron Burgundy: Boy, that escalated quickly.

(Donnie, Seth, and Ricky get into a fight in the road in front of her house, and Gretchen falls onto the road. Just then, Sparrow is slowly returning home)

Ricky: (takes off a pantyhose from his head) You're dead! (He and Seth hear a car coming) Get the hell out of here, now!

NC (vo): Yeah, great.

NC: Wear pantyhose...

NC (vo): nobody can recognize you, and then take them off to tell a witness to go away.

NC: You're the kind of idiots who would rob your own house!

(A car swerves to avoid Sparrow and runs over Gretchen, killing her. The driver is Frank, who again takes off his rabbit costume...and his face isn't damaged)

NC (vo): A car steers off the road, distracted by the roaming old lady, and ends up hitting the girlfriend. Donnie feels terrible because he had to put a letter in the mailbox that the old lady was getting, and it looks like the driver is...guess who...demonic Thumper.

Frank: What were you guys doing in the middle of the road, huh?! What are you thinking?!

NC: (as Frank) You're like my dad flying over the wrong crop!

(Donnie takes out his father's gun)

NC (vo; as Frank): Wait! I have another Independence Day joke-

(Donnie shoots Frank in the eye and walks home carrying Gretchen's body. He sees a dark vortex forming over his house. He borrows one of his parents' cars, loads Gretchen's body into it, and drives to a nearby ridge that overlooks town. There, he watches as the plane carrying Rose and the dance troupe home from Los Angeles gets caught in the vortex's wake, which violently rips off one of its engines, and sends it back in time. Events of the previous 28 days unwind. Donnie wakes up in his bedroom, recognizes the date is October 2, and laughs as the jet engine falls into his bedroom, crushing him)

NC (vo): Okay, so you can kinda see where this is going...emphasis on "kinda" Donnie gets up the next morning and sees the sky is one big clogged toilet. The sky potty takes the engine of his mother and sister's flight back in time, and seemingly himself as well, placing him back in his room when the engine crashes, thus killing him. Get it? Trust me, it's okay if you don't.

(Gretchen drives past the Darkos' house, having never met Donnie in this timeline, and sees the impact of the crash)

Gretchen: (to a boy nearby) What happened?

Boy: Got smooshed by a jet engine.

Gretchen: What was his name?

Boy: Donnie Darko.

NC (vo; as Gretchen): No, really, what was his name?

(Gretchen and Rose exchange glances and wave, as if they know each other, but cannot remember from where. The movie ends)

NC (vo): The girl waves, the mother waves, the little boy waves...and everyone sighs that at least it made more sense than The Langoliers.

NC: So there you go, Donnie Darko. Hokey and awkward, or strange and insightful? (Beat) Yes.

(The clips from the movie are shown once more as NC goes to his final thoughts)

NC (vo): For me, there's two sides constantly in battle with each other. One is the actual story and characters. Most of them are either unrealistic, random, boring, over-the-top, or distractingly silly. The story is well, just jumps from scene to scene, never really feeling like an organic flowing narrative. I guess you could argue that's part of the idea, but it comes across less like planned chaos and more like clumsy filmmaking. The other side, though, are the concepts and ideas. The film gives you enough pieces of philosophy, science and surreal imagery, but still leaves it vague enough that you can put the pieces together however you want. There are certainly elements of classic science fiction and psychology, you could even argue a lot of religious martyrism. So, on the one hand, it is very thought-provoking and can open up interesting points of view on various ways people can be lost while thinking they're found. The only openly lost character seems to be the link to all these people, ideas and even signs that all seem to be very solid and believed, but compromised in practice. But you have to get through characters that don't always talk how people talk or do what people do. Were they intended to be that way? Possibly, but that can not only be hugely distracting, it can also be very unrelatable, which I think we're supposed to in some way or another relate to these characters. So it's tricky. I recommend it for the seeds of ideas it grows in one's mind and the somewhat abstract way they present them, but I do so with the understanding that you're gonna get some clumsy moments that don't always add up. So, I guess I like it when it's not supposed to make sense and dislike it when it's supposed to make sense. A weird conclusion, but would you expect anything else from a weird movie?

NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.

(He gets up and leaves, ending the episode)

Channel Awesome tagline - Ricky: I like your boobs.

(The credits roll)

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