October 2004 Archives

More Than a Game?

Sports, of course, don’t matter. They never have. Whether your team wins or loses doesn’t change the realities of your life — your job, your relationships, your health.

Well, it shouldn’t. We all know this.

But there are contexts in which sports is truly, deeply meaningful: the way they can bond people, strangers and family alike; the shared history of a geography, an event, or an emotion (“the thrill of victory,” “the agony of defeat,” etc.); the diversion they provide from all the things that are supposed to be important to us. And nobody derives meaning from sports better or more than Red Sox die-hards.

All my pompous talk is meant to lead to this.

Jim Emerson, the editor of Roger Ebert’s new Web site, here offers an intriguing psychosexual reading of Donnie Darko. You see, Donnie has feelings for his sister. Ahhhh, that explains everything!

The best part of Metallica: Some Kind of Monster is its reputed backstory. Commissioned by Metallica’s record label as a promotional film about the making of the metal band’s new album, it instead documented the group’s near-implosion. Yet as engaging as the film is, it’s still strangely amiss. It’s lean but feels too long; it’s probing through the camera’s omnipresence but too gentle and polite; and it’s revealing without ever getting to the heart of the band or its leaders.

It’s a chilly autumn night in Boston. Halloween. Game seven of the World Series. And out of the Red Sox bullpen comes ... Mike Myers. A nice confluence, eh?

I anticipated finding Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut a lesser film than its forebear; I thought writer/director Richard Kelly would use it mostly as an opportunity to try to explicate his impenetrable plot, and to impose his reading on a text that had been ambiguous to the point of beautiful inscrutability. And that’s exactly what he does. Here’s the funny thing: I liked this version nearly as much as the theatrical cut, but for very different reasons.

Deleting History

The (mostly rhetorical) question raised by George Lucas’ changes to the original Star Wars trilogy is at what point a movie is “finished.” Put another way: Is there a version of a movie that should be considered the definitive version? If so, who gets to decide?

On her way to join me at a screening of Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut, my wife ran over a bunny with her car.

Oh, the irony.