Donnie Darko And Tim Burton Are No Longer Lovable

Illustration for article titled Donnie Darko And Tim Burton Are No Longer Lovable

Two gothic treasures have lost their dark lustre, according to the Onion AV Club. When asked which pop-culture artifacts they'd fallen out of love with, the Onion AV Club editors fingered Donnie Darko and Tim Burton.


The Onion's Claire Zulkey has bad news about the one Richard Kelly film that most people still seem to think is good:

Boy did I feel differently about Donnie Darko the last time I watched it, compared to the first time I saw it. Upon first viewing, I was captivated by the mix of themes of suburban darkness, mental illness, teen angst, and science fiction. I loved how unpredictable the plot was, and the second time through, I enjoyed looking for hidden meanings I had missed. I also thought it was incredibly witty casting to have Patrick Swayze as the self-righteous pedophile. And I was partially hypnotized by Jake Gyllenhaal and James Duval's cuteness, and the soporific splendor of Gary Jules' cover of "Mad World." It only took a few more viewings to completely change my mind. The novelty of the genre-mixing wore off, and suddenly what seemed so meaningful reminded me of my attempts to be "deep" in high school. Plus, once I knew what was coming plotwise, I realized that the plot itself wasn't really that strong a story on its own (just try summarizing it to someone who hasn't seen it), which also left me free to realize that some of the acting in the movie, specifically Drew Barrymore's, is kind of crappy. And while I'm at it, I'll argue that the Tears For Fears version of "Mad World" is better in the end anyway.


Meanwhile, Sam Adams pretty much eviscerates Tim Burton

who has managed to rid his work of anything vaguely inventive or personal while still keeping up the facade of being the goth kid who sits alone at lunch. Sleepy Hollow did it for me, a lifeless piece of hackwork so uninspired that it led me to question not only whether Burton had any good films left in him, but whether I'd been wrong to like the ones I did in the first place. I'm genuinely afraid that if I rewatched Ed Wood, I'd see it not as an affectionate paean to an eccentric visionary, but as a condescending portrait of a Hollywood failure who lacked Burton's skill at mainstreaming his fantasies. Even leaving aside the stillborn Planet Of The Apes and Mars Attacks!, Burton's last two decades mark an almost unbroken progression toward self-parody, a collection of spiky-haired heroes with Daddy issues and kohl-rimmed eyes. If I were a stronger man, I'd skip over Burton's imminent desecration of Alice In Wonderland altogether, but a combination of stubborn hope and morbid curiosity compels me in spite of myself.

[The Onion AV Club]

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Nora Sawyer

I've never loved Tim Burton, and it frustrates me. I was in high school when Nightmare Before Christmas came out, and as misfit a goth as anyone could want. You'd have thought Tim Burton's movies would have spoken to me, but they always left me frustrated. And I really could have done without the Chris Columbus soundtrack.