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Donnie Darko (2001)
One of my all time favorite movies. And that's nothing to be ashamed of.
Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko is a triumph. A film that is a simple character study at the start but evolves into a complex and thrilling story that seamlessly mixes a coming-of-age story and a science fiction based thriller all in one.
On paper this film is far to advantageous to even consider being made. All of the characters are filled with turmoil and spend the majority of the film brooding over what will happen next.
But to simply write this movie off as simple angst or the typical high school movie wouldn't do it justice. These characters wouldn't work if there wasn't a strong performance behind them. Every actor in this film gives a stunning performance. In particular Jake Gylenhaal, Jena Malone, and Drew Barrymore. If any woman was able to pull off a scene where she screams the f-bomb for 20 seconds it is Drew.
The story here is completely unoriginal in base (angsty teenage boy meets new girl at school etc.) but becomes original through concept and through the science aspect that is quite skillfully weaved throughout. From the opening shot to the ending credits you will find yourself completely immersed in these characters, their individual stories, and the overall tragic conclusion they are all absent-mindedly going towards.
If anything can be said in defense for this film it should be it's ending. Heart-breaking, somewhat confusing, but overall moving. The song "Mad World" is used quite effectively in, what I consider to be, one of the greatest and most human montages ever filmed. The movie is great. Nothing I say in this review is going to guarantee that you see it but I would highly recommend that if you have the slightest desire to watch this you should give it a shot.
It is one of my all time favorite films and I believe that it deserves repeated viewings. 10/10
Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005)
My favorite television show of all time...
When anyone asks me what my favorite movie is I always say either Pan's Labyrinth, 2001, or Donnie Darko. If I am asked what my favorite book is I say The Fountainhead, or The Great Gatsby. But, if someone ever asks me what my favorite television show is the answer is always the same: Avatar: The Last Airbender.
The show excels in many areas but it's true success lies in the fact that it's characters age/ mature with the show. If you watch the The Boy in the Iceberg/ The Avatar Returns, and then watch Sozen's comet you will barely even recognize the protagonists. Katara starts out as a young, naive girl who can barely even make a wave, she becomes a strong, motherly, courageous woman who is able to actually freeze opponents in mid-air. Aang is an innocent, and fun-loving child who doesn't want to face his destiny, he becomes the Avatar master of all four elements and the leader of the free world. These developments are well thought out and developed, making the characters seem so natural that they could be real.
Another great aspect of this show is it's antagonists. These are not shallow, heartless characters. All of them are motivated by something, whether it be greed, power, honor, or money. The inner conflict that these villains face increases interest and desire to know more about their pasts and futures.
The show has one main story but it is the sub-plots that truly drive it. From discovering fake airbenders, to the brainwashing facilities of Ba Sing Se, to the Day of the Black Sun this show will be forever loved and adored by its fans all over the world.
It knew how to begin, and it knew when to end, a great show and a triumph on all levels. 10/10