Reviews: Donnie Darko, Bubba Ho-tep

Reviews of two movies I’ve heard good things about that I finally got around to watching this weekend.

Donnie Darko wasn’t too bad. The title character is a high schooler who sees visions of an evil-looking rabbit who orders him to do things and predicts the end of the world. Naturally, much of the plot deals with the “is he crazy or isn’t he?” question. I enjoyed most of it, but I was sorely disappointed by the ending. In order to actually understand what happens at the end (along with several other plot points), you need to know the contents of the book that the main character receives. The problem is, the movie never says what the contents of the book are! A few things are hinted at, but not nearly enough to understand what’s been happening, and the idea behind the plot is unusual enough that there’s no way you’d be able to figure it out from the movie alone. Sure, one of the special features on the DVD is a (difficult to read) copy of the book’s contents, and apparently there’s also one on the movie’s website, but in my mind requiring outside sources to be able to figure out what the smeg is going on in the last ten minutes is inexcusable.

Bubba Ho-tep was surprisingly good. The premise is certainly off the wall: two old men in a Texas nursing home — a former Elvis impersonator who thinks he’s Elvis (or is he really Elvis, impersonating an Elvis impersonator?) and a black man who thinks he’s JFK — fight a mummy who’s consuming the souls of the home’s residents. It sounds like an awful B-movie plot, but it works. The performances of the two main characters are excellent, and the movie does a great job of walking the line between taking itself too seriously and making itself too zany. It’s definitely worth checking out.

3 Responses

  1. Yea, I saw Donnie Darko a few months ago. Everyone was all “YOU HAVEN’T SEEN DONNIE DARKO?!” I thought it was good, but really really confusing. I didn’t even know there was a book out there. I’ll have to read it and THEN maybe the movie will make more sense. *sigh*. SMEG? What the… Did you go off and invent a new word?

    Never heard of the second one


  2. I’ve also seen a lot of people rave about how great Donnie Darko is; having watched it, I don’t really see the fascination with it. The book I mentioned is the book that the physics teacher gives Donnie, The Philosophy of Time Travel. It’s mentioned in the movie that the book describes what’s happening to Donnie, but since the audience never really finds out what the book says, they’re left confused at the end.

    Bubba Ho-tep strikes me as a movie that would’ve been released without a whole lot of publicity and only playing in a handful of theatres. Luckily the video store around here tends to pick up a lot of more obscure titles like that too. If you don’t mind movies with a goofy premise, you should definitely watch it if you get a chance.

    And I find it appalling that you claim to have seen Red Dwarf yet have no idea what “smeg” is. For shame.

  3. I’ve SEEN Red Dwarf but it hasn’t been on for about a year now in St. Louis. How am I supposed to remember such silly things?

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