It’s that time of year – sweater weather, colorful leaves, and warm drinks – and I have a great list of movies to go along with the arrival of autumn.
tangled and squeezed
full of colored leaves
and leaves falling down
to the ground by the pound
i walk brisk in the yard
to their crunchy, crisp sound
and i’m astounded by the whole world
the blue sky beyond pines
the blue sky beyond orange oaks
and red maples wound in great vines
i’m astounded by the scent that is not just a scent
it’s a lingering sense in the air
a spirit’s descent
smoke from a chimney
i’m absorbed in the present
apple crisp baking
harvest moon glowing
i spent my saturday raking
fog from my breath
yet i’m warm and content
in my long johns and flannel and jeans
…until i heard that sound in the trees
it was short like breath
but deep like the sea
i started to run away, but thought,
“maybe someone needs me
maybe they need my help”
so in i ran to the forest canopy
the woods were cold and damp
like an unfinished basement
it gave me chills as i ran
then the sound came again
louder, uglier and unintelligible
though, it sounded human
my heart beat hard
my hands couldn’t steady
as i approached a meadow
my soul wasn’t ready
for what i was about to see…
…to be continued
on the next All Hallow’s Eve
Looking, as I walk, from the street
Looking at people watching glowing TVs
Looking at a lonely man, with a nice car, eat
Looking at porches decked for Halloween
Looking for the wind that is shaking the leaves
Wondering who might be looking at me
Donnie Darko is my favorite film to watch during the Halloween season. It is creepy and takes place in October. Also, the soundtrack kicks butt.
My affection for the movie goes beyond the great setting though. What really draws me are the theories and discussions surrounding the movie.
At first glance, the plot is confusing and nonsensical. Even then, the movie is great. The characters are interesting, the romance is bold, and the humor is just right.
After reading up on the movie, one starts to realize it is not just a movie. It is a poem.
I have watched Donnie Darko many times, and each time I have noticed new details. When I notice something new, I consider how it plays into the plot.
If you haven’t read up on Donnie Darko theory, click this link for a good overview.
I could discuss my own theories and observations about the movie for weeks. I won’t do that, but when I watched the movie today, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before.
Donnie goes to the movie theater with his girlfriend, Gretchen Ross. While watching The Evil Dead, Gretchen falls asleep, and Donnie sees Frank. Frank tells Donnie to go burn down Jim Cunningham’s house. Donnie does what Frank tells him. As he exits the movie theater, the theater marquee in the background shot says, “The Evil Dead,” and below that, “The Last Temptation of Christ.”
Those words, “The Last Temptation of Christ” are the hinge of my theory. I’ve noticed the placement of the words before, but hadn’t thought much about their role in the plot.
At first, it appears that “The Last Temptation of Christ” means Frank has tempted Donnie (the savior figure of the story, the “Christ”) to burn down Jim Cunningham’s house. I believe the temptation is the opposite of that.
Jesus Christ actually overcame His last temptation. He did not succumb to it.
If burning down Jim’s house is the temptation, then the “Last Temptation of Christ” sign doesn’t make sense because Donnie did burn Jim’s house down. If burning Jim’s house down is the temptation, Donnie succumbed to temptation, unlike Jesus Christ.
Further evidence supporting my theory is the fact that Donnie is always thinking about girls. This is made evident in one of his hypnotherapy sessions.
At the theater, Donnie was sitting right next to his girlfriend. That is paradise for a teenage boy. That is what Donnie really wants. He wants to stay right there with Gretchen. However, if he stays, the world will not be saved.
The world will not be saved because Donnie will not have a strong enough reason to save it. Donnie will not have a strong enough reason to save it because he will not have to save Gretchen. He will not have to save Gretchen because Gretchen will not get hit by Frank’s car. Gretchen will not get hit by Frank’s car because there will never be a party. There will never be a party because Donnie’s mom will not be out of town. Donnie’s mom will not be out of town because the mean dance coach lady will be able to chaperone. The mean dance coach lady will be able to chaperone because Jim Cunningham will not be on trial. Jim Cunningham will not be on trial because he will not be busted with child porn. He will not be busted with child porn because the firemen will not find his secret porn stash. The firemen will not find his secret porn stash because Donnie will not set his house on fire. Donnie will not set his house on fire because he succumbed to his temptation to stay with Gretchen.
Donnie is tempted to stay right there with Gretchen because he knows, as Frank states in the theater scene, what is going to happen. Donnie knows he will die if he does not burn Jim Cunningham’s house down.
Donnie is tempted to not burn Jim Cunningham’s house down. Like Jesus Christ, Donnie overcomes the temptation in order to save the world.
That is my theory about the meaning of the sign behind Donnie when he exits the movie theater. Any Donnie Darko fans/theorists out there, what do you think?