I really should be studying. Yes I know, I have time to write a blog entry, but not enough time to fix the right sidebar.
So yesterday, I finally watched “Donnie Darko” (under some rather interesting circumstances, both technically and interpersonally, which I am going to be definitively vague about—don’t you love oxymorons—and phrases that end in prepositions?)
Imagine my surprise when I find out that much of it was filmed at my high school.
But I definitely found the movie intriguing. Amidst the creepiness and downright insanity (the main character is apparently schizophrenic), there was a lot philosophy covered. Thoughts of time travel (and the resultant paradoxes) leading into the debate over free will versus destiny leading to the existence of God (laced with not-so-subtle messianic overtones). (Oh, by the way: SPOILER WARNING! )
My take on the whole movie: well, there is this very brief allusion to “The Last Temptation of Christ”. Now I have never watched the movie, but I hear that what made it controversial was the fact that the aforementioned last temptation was a vision of Jesus’ life if he had chosen not to be crucified, and which apparently involved having sex with Mary Magdalene. In any case, one interpretation of the movie is exactly this: Frank the Evil Bunny gives Donnie Darko a vision of his future should he choose not to be killed by mysterious, unaccountable falling jet engine.
Then again, maybe the mysterious, unaccountable falling jet engine was an immutable part of life, and all Frank the Evil Bunny did was somehow warp time and give Donnie an extra 28 days to live. (I think of the line: “I’m glad that the school was flooded today…. Because otherwise we wouldn’t have had this conversation.” Unfortunately, I can’t connect it in any sort of articulate manner.)
But the whole movie runs fast and loose with the whole principle of causality anyway, and any insight I had is quickly running out. If I feel like it (which, as usual, I probably won’t) I’ll try to be more explicit about the themes I latched onto in this movie.
Go see it. It’s fucking weird! I love it.
Oh, and yes, I found myself relating quite a bit to the protagonist. (As they say, there’s a fine line between genius and insanity.) In another episode of apophenia, I find it interesting that not only did they use my high school as a backdrop for the movie, they also talk about using wormholes for time travel. The physics lab in which Noah Wyle’s character teaches is in fact the physics lab where I sat, in which I once gave a presentation about stars, black holes, and wormholes, based on Kip Thorne’s book Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy. (As an aside, all I really remember about that book was the fact that the author often used cars speeding down Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena as examples, that he and Stephen Hawking made a bet about some theory in which the payoff was pornography, and that after reading it, I had a dream that I was observing a conversation between Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, famous for the Chandrasekhar Limit. Oh, and that iron is the endpoint of both nuclear fission and nuclear fusion, and it makes me think that there might just be something to the stories about the Sidhe and their fear of cold iron. Anyway.)
But the really bizarre part is a dream I had once in high school: I dreamt that the Main Building of my school had to be closed because it had become overrun by evil creatures, and only the holy powers of the Jesuit priests were able to keep it contained. Apparently, the evil creatures were coming through some sort of transdimensional portal that had opened up in the basement of the Main Building, and that this portal lead out to an alternate universe in which Latin was still the lingua franca of the world, and magic really worked (and magic was dependent on music—there was a scene in my dream where a couple of students and a couple of priests had to try to cast a spell by employing a couple of six string guitars and an electronic keyboard) But the landscape was nonetheless still roughly that of Southern California. (Just to make sure I don’t sound completely insane, I must tell you that I am an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy—these ideas didn’t just form de novo.)
Well. Now. Where was I? Ah yes. I believe I need to be studying.