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September 03, 2002 - Image 52

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-03

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8D - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Tuesday, September 3, 2002

'Donnie Darko' finds second life on DVD

By JeffrDickerson
Daily Arts Editor
"Donnie Darko" was released in October of last
year without an ounce of publicity promoting the
film. It debuted in a truly limited release on only 58
screens around the country. While the film was well

Courtesy of Warner Bros.
The adventure continues 17 years later on DVD.
'The Goonies' are
still good enough

received by critics, it was not enough
to bring people into theaters and the
film earned a meager $500,000 at the
box office. Maybe it was the lack of a
major star that prevented "Donnie
Darko" from succeeding. Maybe it
was the deficiency of the advertising.
Or perhaps it was that people are sim-
ply not interested in the story of a
teenage boy troubled by visions of a
giant bunny rabbit named Frank.

Movie: ***
Features: **

By Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Writer
"The Goonies" may just be the last
great children's movie that adults liked
as much as the kids. It has adventure,
romance, terror and the patented
"Truffle Shuffle."
The 1985 film centers
on a group of outcast
kids looking for a little THE G
fun on the eve of the D
demolition of their pic-P
turesque New England Picture/Sou
town. When they follow Movie: **i
a family of convicts into Features: *
an abandoned restaurant,
they begin an adventure Warn
that leads them into hid-
den caves, pirates and a freaky piano
made of bones.
The commentary track is done by
Director Richard Donner ("Super-
man," "Lethal Weapon") and the entire
gaggle of Goonies, from Jeff Cohen
(Chunk) to the self depricating Corey
Feldman (Mouth). When the commen-
tary feature is enabled, the viewer is
treated to a wide-screen view of the
cast as they look now. This is a special

treat for fans who grew up on the film,
though it is slightly depressing to learn
that Chunk has slimmed down signifi-
Other features include a short docu-
mentary of behind the scenes footage,
showing a tired Donner sarcastically

The year is 1988. The town is Middlesex, Va.
Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal, "October Sky") is
a high school kid with emotional problems, uncer-
tain of his purpose in life. One night, Donnie is led
to a golf course for an unexpected meeting with
Frank, a giant bunny rabbit who instructs him the
world will end in 28 days. While Donnie is on the
links chatting away with the six-foot-tall hare, a jet
engine crashes into his bedroom, destroying a large
portion of his family's upscale suburban home.
Richard Kelly's "Donnie Darko" is not your typical
matinee fare.
Writer/Director Kelly is one of the most promis-
ing young directors in years. For a feature film
debut, "Donnie Darko" exhibits the polish of a sea-
soned veteran. The film has a distinct visual appear-
ance due to the use of a special kind of film used for
low lighting situations. The visual composition of
the film captures the essence of the late '80s, as
does the soundtrack of Tears for Fears and Duran

Duran retro classics. The cast is strong throughout,,
including Mary McDonnell ("Dances with Wolves")
as Mrs. Darko, Drew Barrymore ("E.T.") and Noah
Wyle ("E.R.") as Donnie's teachers, Patrick Swayze
("Dirty Dancing") as a self-help guru and Oscar
nominee Katharine Ross ("The Graduate") as Don-
nie's psychiatrist.
For those who missed the low budg-
et film in theaters, "Donnie Darko" is
DARKO now available on DVD in an impres-
sive release from 20th Century Fox.
The presentation of the film is excel-
lent, with sharp visuals and a promi-
: *** nent 5.1 surround sound audio track.
** Menus are well designed, keeping with
* ** the visual theme of the film. While the
standard features of the DVD are near
perfection, the bread and butter of the
disc are the abundant extra features.
"Donnie Darko" includes two commentary tracks,
one with director Kelly and star Jake Gyllenhaal, the
other with supporting cast members, including
McDonnell, Barrymore and Ross. The commen-
taries provide a wealth of information on narrative
questions and the making of the film. There are over
20 deleted scenes with director's commentary, most
of which are extraneous additions to previous
scenes. Other features include a music video, pro-
duction stills, filmographies, TV spots and a theatri-
cal trailer. Far and away the most entertaining
feature is the full version of Jim Cunningham's
(Patrick Swayze) "Cunning Visions" videos. The
intentionally cheesy infomercials include a spoof
audio commentary, mocking the traditional DVD
"Donnie Darko" suffered from ill timing. The scene
where the engine of a 747 comes plummenting onto
Donnie's queen bed was too reminiscent of the acci-

dent in Queens that took place shortly after Sept. 11.
If originality meant anything in film, "Donnie
Darko" would be stamped with an array of awards
and lucrative box office receipts. Sadly, originality
is looked over in favor of formulaic plots and
sequels in Hollywood today while films like "Don-
nie Darko" go in and out of theaters relatively unno-
ticed. The film is hard to classify and ascribe a
genre to, part of the reason why "Donnie Darko"
failed financially. Thanks in part to a comprehensive
DVD, Richard Kelly's time-traveling-sci-fi-bunny-
rabbit-opus might end up becoming a cult classic.



ind: ****
er Bros.

contemplating suicide,
as well as writer/produc-
er Steven Spielberg
looking suspiciously
like Howard Stern.
The disc also includes
a ridiculously long ver-
sion of Cyndi Lauper's
"Goonies R Good
Enough" video featuring
wrestling luminaries
"Captain" Lou Albano,


Remembering 'Saved by the Bell' and
the 10 greatest episodes of all time

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Andre the
Along with a standard preview, the
deleted scenes sadly add little to the
disc. Most of the scenes are banal, and
the much touted "octopus" scene looks
cheesy and was clearly deleted from
the movie for a reason. All in all, this
disc is a must-have for fans, but those
that buy it will probably wish it had a
little more.


By Luke Smith
Daily Arts Editor





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10% discount with this ac

Undoubtedly one of NBC's smartest
moves was purchasing the rights to
"Good Morning Miss Bliss" from Dis-
ney. The major network proceeded to
reform the show and enigmatically move
the majority of the cast to sunny Bayside
High School in California. From here,
viewers followed the cast of "Saved by
the Bell" through some tumultuous and
rocky times at Bayside High..Viewers
smiled together when Zack Morris called
his first "time out" in the "Aloha Slater"
episode. They cried when Zack and
Kelly crumbled because of an older man.
Audiences let out a collective groan
when Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber
Thiesen) was zipped away for a series of
episodes known simply as "The Tori
10. Stevie : 8th Grade - Original
air date: 03/11/89
This episode was part of the Indiana
fiasco. We saw a young debonair Zack
Morris pursuing a fictitious starlet
named Stevie. Stevie (a former student
of Miss Bliss) is in town for a concert
she's performing. She stayed at Miss
Bliss' house incognito to avoid being
found and forced to sign what had to
be legions upon legions of scream-
ing middle-school children's lock-
ers. Zack ends up kissing the
Stevie-in-disguise and does-
n't realize it till she's long
gone, perhaps in a town we
can only assume is some-
where in Iowa, making
nice with another boy with
sandy blonde hair.
9. The Friendship
Business: 9th Grade - '
Original air date:
When Mr. Tuttle pro-
poses a business project, v
the gang launch itself.
into it full force. Zack's
capitalistic urges take 3
over on this episode, F
where we get our
first glimpse of the
shrewd economist

beneath the surfer fagade. His over-
whelmingly powerful leadership eventu-
ally polarizes the gang into two factions:
Friendship Bracelets and Buddy Bands.
The game goes sour when some feelings
get hurt, but at the end, the gang reunites
peacefully, launching
a product that com-
bined both projects
with Love Cuffs.
8. Screech's
Spaghetti Sauce:
12th Grade - ;
Original air date:
When the gang
discovers that
Screech's grandma
makes a mean
spaghetti sauce, Zack's capitalist urges
resurface. While working on a television
show in their communications class, the
gang decides to market "Screech's Secret
Sauce." Putting the Prego on the pasta,
however, is the appearance of one time
lolita Punky Brewster (Solei Moon Frye)
as Screech's materialistic girlfriend.
Robin is no sweetheart, and she proceeds
to jerk around the brillo-haired Samuel
Powers (Screech, to the fair-weather
fans). Eventually, Robin gets hers, and
the gang discovers that Screech's
"secret" sauce was simply
ripped from a cookbook, but
the gang again slides by,
just like the bus in the
morning, when the
'larm let's out a
"The sauce-a
you can have, but
the secret, she's-a
7. The Fabulous
Belding Brothers:
10th Grade -
Original air date:
When principal
Richard Belding
allows his rogue
younger brother Rod
to step in as a substi-
tute for the class, the
gang takes an

immediate liking to the free-wheeling
Belding. Rod's aspirations for the group
entail him taking the crew on a class trip.
Rod's youthful desires take precedent
over his concern for the kids, leading
him away from the "Saved by the Bell"
universe and off skirt-
chasing after a flight
attendant. The elder
Belding steps in, cov-
ers for his kid brother
and promises to take
the gang on the trip.
Only then do Zack and
company realize they,
have the "better Beld-
6. Check Your
Mate: 11th Grade -
Original air date: 10/05/91
This episode puts Screech and his
beret on the cover of Chessboy maga-
zine. The beret was the gift of Screech's
heartthrob Violet (yes, that's Tori
Spelling). When the beret is stolen by the
Master twins, Screech loses his ability to
play chess. Russian exchange student
Peter Breznev poses a formidable oppo-
nent for the feathery Screech, but he
overcomes the Breznev block and
regains his beret.
5. The Wicked Step-.
brother: 11th Grade -.
Original air date: 11/02/91
When Jessie's mother
gets married, the hell really
begins in the form of Eric,q
her East Coast step-sib- k k
ling. Eric terrorizes the
gang, and it appeared r
that Zack had met his
match. However, eventual-
ly the gang usurps Eric's
felonious attempt at
blackmail, and Eric
returns to New .
York with his tail
between his legs.
4. No Hope WithA
Dope: 11th Grade -
Original air date:
Bayside gets cho-
sen to shoot a real
life anti-drug spot with

superstar Johnny Dakota, who claims
that the stick girl is Kelly, but with "more
curves." It is uncovered through the
sleuthing of the gang that Dakota him-
self uses drugs. In the episode's climactic
,former NBC CEO Brandon Tarticoff
makes a guest spot.
3. Jessie's Song: 10th Grade -
Original air date: 11/03/90
"I'm so excited, I'm so excited. I'm so
... scared."
2. Rockumentary: 11th Grade -
Original air date: 11/30/91
Part two of the special hour of all-new
"Saved By the Bell" episodes features a
very special guest star in Casey Kasem.
Kasem gives us a pre-VH 1's "Behind the
Music" look at Zack's band the Zack
Attack. When Zack nods off, he and the
gang are transported into a fantasyland
where the Zack Attack have the biggest
song in the land in "Friends Forever."
Like all great bands, they break up and
go their separate ways, only to reunite at
the show's conclusion. A major highlight
of this episode is Screech's marriage to a
cheerleader, which is unveiled as one of
the secrets to happiness by the high dork.
1. The Last Dance: 11th Grade -
Original air date 9114/91
When Zack and Kelly go to the
prom, it isn't for love. Instead, it is
for the show's loyalists to watch one
of the saddest moments in televi-
sion history. Zack and Kelly slow
dance to a painfully somber ren-
dition of "How am I sup-
> < posed to live without you,"
~lip-synched by Slater and
Jessie. The episode was
followed by a series of
post-breakup episodes in
which we watched a defeat-
ed Zack mope and whim-
per in solitude. We
remember seeing the
cutout of Kelly drop down
in Zack's room, and we
remember their first kiss.
From the show's jump to
NBC, we watched Zack
fall head over heels for
Kelly and eventually make
the perfect couple, for the
perfect show.

..... . . . . . . . -

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