Matt's Blog

Remembering Patrick Swayze In Donnie Darko


F
ilm Pie On Vacation

 

Gasp.  Shock.  Horror.  I’m a day late with this week’s blog.  It’s been a crazily busy week so far and I’m struggling to stay on top of things.  The bottom line is that I’m off to Melbourne on Friday and won’t return to sunny Brisbane for a week.  It’ll be a movie-free week also – as the purpose of my trip is to manage the Queensland Colts golf team as they take on the other states in the 2009 Inter-State series.  It should be blast with Melbourne buzzing in the lead up to the AFL grand final.

 

As a result, there will be no newsletter/blog next week and there will be no website updates.  You’re on your own folks.  Don’t let that put you off – there are plenty of good movies out there to see and the pick of the bunch is 500 Days Of Summer which is released this Thursday.  Make sure you don’t miss it.

 

Patrick Swayze

 

Those who have seen the news today will have learned of the death of Patrick Swayze.  I admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Swayze but it sad to see him leave this place at the relatively young age of 57.

 

He will be most fondly remembered for his roles in Dirty Dancing (1987) and Ghost (1990).  He never earned an Academy Award nomination but he was a favourite actor of many people.  Other notable Swayze films included Point Break and To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar.

 

Perhaps my favourite performance from Swayze was his role as Jim Cunningham in the cult hit Donnie Darko.  If you haven’t seen the film, make sure you do.  Swayze plays a hypocritical self-help guru who is struggling to believe his own material.  My favourite single scene in the film is where he speaks with Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in front of his class at school.  Here’s a quick extract:

 

Donnie Darko: Good morning.

Jim Cunningham: Good morning.

Donnie Darko: Um… how much are they paying you to be here?

Jim Cunningham: Uh… excuse me? What is your name, son?

Donnie Darko: Gerald.

Jim Cunningham: Well, Gerald, I think you’re afraid.

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

Jim Cunningham: Do you see how said this is?

Donnie Darko: Do you want your sister to lose weight? Tell her to get off the couch, stop eating Twinkies, and maybe go out for field hockey. You know what? No one ever knows what they want to be when they grow up. It takes a little while to find that out. Right, Jim? And you… yeah, you. Sick of some jerk shoving your head down the toilet? Well you know what, maybe you should lift some weights or take a karate lesson . And the next time he tries to do it, you kick him in the balls.

<Adults gasp, students laugh>

Jim Cunningham: <chuckles> Son. Do you see this?

Donnie Darko: Right?

Jim Cunningham: This is an anger prisoner…

Man: Remove him.

Jim Cunningham: A textbook example. Do you see the fear, people? This boy is scared to death of the truth. Son, it breaks my heart to say this, but I believe you are a very troubled and confused young man. I believe you are searching for the answers in all the wrong places.

Donnie Darko: You’re right, actually. I am pretty… I am pretty troubled and I’m pretty confused but I… and I’m afraid really really afraid. Really afraid. But I… I think you’re the f***ing antichrist.

 

I was also saddened to learn of the death of Jim Carroll during the week at the age of 59.  Carroll was the author and poet whom Leonardo DiCaprio’s character was based in The Basketball Diaries.  I remember the film fondly as it was the first film I ever saw at a film festival (in 1995) and it made me stand up and realise that DiCaprio could act.

 

Toronto Film Festival

 

The Toronto Film Festival is now in full swing and the film generating the biggest buzz is Up In The Air.  It’s the new film from Jason Reitman, the director of Juno (my favourite film of 2008) and Thank You For Smoking (a great black comedy).  Here’s the quick plot overview from the IMDB – “Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and just after he's met the frequent-traveller woman of his dreams.”

 

I can’t wait to see it – the release date is currently January 2010 here in Australia.  It’s certainly emerging as an Oscar front runner and every critic I’ve seen so far has given it the thumbs up.

 

Other films playing well at Toronto include the new one from Ethan and Joel Coen called A Simple Man and the new Michael Moore documentary called Capitalism: A Love Story.  I’d love to be in Toronto right now but the exciting news is we’ll get to see most of these movies here in Australia.  We just need to wait a little longer.

 

You can view the trailers for these three films by clicking on the following links.  I think the trailer for Up In The Air is particularly good – grabs your attention but doesn’t give too much away.

 

Up In The Air - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_m-Da8Tz4_E

A Simple Man - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL1I21zy3pw

Capitalism: A Love Story - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERc-AVnl8yw

 

See you in two weeks!