confronting the CGI enhanced blockbuster beast
in the twilit and allegorical film art
of Richard Kelly
by Gary W. Wright
While still quite young when a fatal helicopter crash killed Vic Morrow and child extras Renee Chen and My-ca Le around 2:20 am in the early morning of July 23, 1982 on the George Folsey jr. produced John Landis set of the allegorical, Frank Marshall executive produced and Kathleen Kennedy associate produced Landis, Joe Dante, George Miller, Steven Spielberg film TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983), James Richard Kelly was implicitly quite shaken by the TZ disaster. For the TZ disaster was the central implicit theme of his three surprisingly mature, confident and allegorical docufeature films. Indeed, Kelly implicitly and earnestly tried to break audiences, film art, film artists and the Temple Theatre free from the disaster and kick off a daylit new millennium of film art with the help of computer graphic imagery (CGI) in his first twilit, allegorical, Ozian themed and CGI enhanced docufeature film DONNIE DARKO (2001), which was first screened on January 19, 2001.
“And what if you could go back in time
and take those hours of pain and darkness
and replace them with something better?”
Not that one would get the impression that DONNIE DARKO had any implicitly twilit intent from the beginning of the film, which saw troubled, medicated and implicitly Scarecrow linked sadolescent Donald ‘Donnie’ Darko-played by Jake Gyllenhaal-waking up to his surprise one morning by the dawn’s early light on a road in the stunningly beautiful and visionary hills outside Middlesex, Virginia and riding his ten speed back into town to his parent’s house to the sound of the allegorical and Pete DeFreitas, Ian McCulloch, Les Pattinson and Will Sergeant penned Echo & The Bunnymen tune “The Killing Moon” (1983). Twilit forebodings began, however, when Darko walked past his mother when he entered the back door of the house. For Rose Darko-played by Mary McDonnell-was sitting on a lawn chair reading the twilit and allegorical Screamin’ Stephen King novel It (1986), openly linking the film to the twilit fiction and film art of the dread allegorical Zone Wars. The storied presence of King also openly linked the film to the twilit and disastrous year of 1982 via King’s allegorical novella collection Different Seasons (1982) and via his screenplay for and role as the implicitly George Lucas linked Jordy Verrill in “The Lonesome Death Of Jordy Verrill”, the second and implicitly Scarecrow themed episode of the twilit, allegorical and implicitly Ozian themed film roasting George A. Romero film CREEPSHOW (1982).
Meeting the rest of the Darko family-father Eddie, older sister Elizabeth and younger sister Samantha, played by Holmes Osborne, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Daveigh Chase, respectively-after Donnie’s return increased the film’s implicit link to and interest in the twilit and disastrous year of 1982, for the two adults and three children evoked the two adults and three children of the Freeling family in the twilit, allegorical and implicitly Terry Gilliam addressing Tobe Hooper animaction film POLTERGEIST (1982), a film co-written and co-produced by Spielberg. How eerily fitting that POLTERGEIST was inspired by the allegorical and Richard Matheson scripted Paul Stewart telefilm “Little Girl Lost” (1962), a season three episode of the original TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series, given the release of POLTERGEIST several months after the TZ disaster in the fall of ’82.
Thus, with all sorts of twilit allusions appearing at the beginning of DONNIE DARKO, it was not too surprising that the famous door to the Twilight Zone opened soon after on October 2, 1988 when Darko was awakened by a telepathic voice that persuaded him to get out of bed, leave his room and sleepwalk downstairs and out of the house by the front door. Eerily, in the darkness outside, Darko met the owner of the telepathic voice, a nightmarish and implicitly Great Oz and Spielberg linked bunnyman named Frank-played by James Duval-whose name evoked Marshall and whose appearance recalled that of a nightmare rabbit in the twilit and allegorical Dante short film “It’s A Good Life”, the third episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. Significantly, Frank warned Darko that the world would end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds, a prophecy that almost come true for the Darko family far earlier as a mysterious jet engine fell on the Darko house soon after Donnie left to join Frank, crushing Donnie’s second floor bedroom, a falling jet engine that reaffirmed the film’s implicitly twilit intent, for it evoked the falling helicopter in the TZ disaster.
Darko’s nervous return to the Middlesex Ridge School (MRS), a private Christian high school for mischievous munchkin boys and girls, soon after the accident reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in the TZ disaster. For waiting for the school bus to pick him up, we discovered that one of Darko’s fellow students was Cherita Chen-played by Jolene Purdy-whose surname evoked that of Renee Chen, the girl extra who was the first to die in the TZ disaster. Meeting the malevolent and implicitly Folsey jr. and Landis linked pair of Ricky Danforth and Seth Devlin-played by Seth Rogen and Alex Greenwald, respectively-in the hallways of MRS upon arrival at the school reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in the TZ disaster. Meeting the implicitly Wicked Witch of the West linked gym teacher, Miss Kitty Farmer-played by Beth Grant-and the implicitly Dorothy linked Gretchen Ross-whose surname reminded us that in 1982 Steve Ross was head of Warner Brothers, the studio that produced and released TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, and played by Jena Malone-in the high school halls as well also reaffirmed the implicit Ozian theme of DONNIE DARKO. Indeed, the appearance of Darko’s archetypical frustrated and heartbroken English teacher, Ms. Karen Pomeroy-played by Drew Barrymore, also the head executive producer of the piece-openly linked the film to Spielberg and the twilit and disastrous year of 1982, for Barrymore played Gertie Thomas in the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Gilliam addressing Spielberg animaction film E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL (1982).
Significantly, shortly before the arrival of Miss Pomeroy, we also met MRS Principal Cole-played by David Moreland-and motivational speaker and supposed fear liberator, Jim Cunningham-played by Patrick Swayze-author of Attitudinal Beliefs (200?). Intriguingly, the names of Principal Cole and James “Jim” Cunningham evoked that of the quixotic and implicitly James Cameron linked future time traveler, James “Jim” Cole-played by Bruce Willis-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Gilliam film 12 MONKEYS (1995), a character as equally troubled and confused as Darko. This implicit interest in 12 MONKEYS was reaffirmed when over the course of the rest of October of 1988 to the fateful date prophesied by Frank, Darko underwent sessions with a psychiatrist named Doctor Lilian Thurman-played by the fittingly named Katharine Ross-shortly after he used an axe to break open a water main and flood MRS, for the sessions evoked Cole’s run ins with the implicitly Kathryn Bigelow linked psychiatrist, Doctor Kathryn Railly-played by Madeleine Stowe-in 12 MONKEYS.
Thus, Kelly implied that he was addressing Gilliam in DONNIE DARKO. Indeed, the presence of a girl in Ms. Pomeroy’s English class who resembled Alfred E. Neuman evoked the boy who resembled the infamous symbol of MAD Magazine in 12 MONKEYS, reminding us that MAD was a seminal influence on young Gilliam. The resemblance to Gilliam mentor and MAD co-founder Harvey Kurtzman of Principal Cole and of a father amongst the parents in the MRS auditorium audience listening to Cunningham give a fear conquering seminar to the students of MRS reaffirmed the film’s implicit Gilliam addressing intent. The fact that the soundtrack of the film oscillated between an original surreal and wistful electronic soundtrack composed and performed by Michael Andrews and a pop soundtrack comprised of numerous English pop bands from the Eighties like Duran Duran, Echo & The Bunnymen, Joy Division and Tears For Fears reaffirmed the implicit Gilliam addressing intent of the film. For the English pop songs reminded us that while born and raised in the U.S., Gilliam became so disillusioned by his home country by the late Sixties that he moved to England and had based his film art life there ever since.
Significantly, the implicit Gilliam addressing intent also prepared us for Darko travelling back in time at the end of the film like Cole throughout 12 MONKEYS with the help of the insight and inspiration of the implicitly Glinda the Good Witch of the North linked, Dr. Roberta Sparrow-played by Patience Cleveland-and her helpful tome, The Philosophy Of Time Travel (????). For a CGI tornado arrived that was straight out of the black and white Kansas prologue of the allegorical and implicitly Prime Minister William King and Nazi Germany roasting Victor Fleming film THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939), in the end, to implicitly affirm the Ozian theme of the film and rip off a jet engine from the passenger plane taking Rose and Samantha back to Middlesex after competing in a dance competition in California, evoking the plane wrecking gremlin played by Larry Cedar in the twilit and allegorical Miller short film “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet”, the fourth episode of TWLIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. As the engine fell out of the sky, an equally CGI and perhaps divine fourth dimensional space-time wormhole suddenly appeared like the time travelling portals in the presciently twilit, allegorical and implicitly New Hollywood roasting Gilliam film TIME BANDITS (1981) and took the errant engine and, implicitly, Darko, head over heels back through time from the morning of October 31, 1988 to the night of October 2, 1988 when the mysterious engine first fell on the roof of the Darko family home over the bedroom of Darko, bringing DONNIE DARKO full circle back to the ending beginning of the film.
But not entirely back to the beginning ending of the film, for this time Darko was not saved by being woken up by Frank and persuaded to sleepwalk out of the Darko home. As a result, Darko was killed when the falling jet engine smashed through the roof of the Darko home and destroyed his room. Curiously, despite being cruelly kissed by fateful free will, Darko’s death was not in vain. For his death prevented him from meeting and developing a relationship with Ross, only to see her die to his furious horror on the night of October 30, 1988 when she was run over by a red Trans Am with the twilit license of JD6 4892 that driven by a horrified Frank. A Frank wearing the nightmare bunnyman suit that turned out to just be a homemade Hallowe’en costume, as the visions of Frank that Darko experienced throughout the film also turned out to be haunting memories of the future, a future that led to Frank being shot dead in fury by Darko for inadvertently killing Gretchen.
Thus, by dying before he met her, Darko saved Frank and Gretchen, giving them the gift of life, in the end. In addition, given the film’s allusions to 1982 and the TZ disaster, allowing a jet engine that was implicitly linked to the falling TZ helicopter to kill him also symbolically freed Chen, Le, Morrow, audiences, film art, film artists and the Temple Theatre from the TZ disaster and the Twilight Zone at last, allowing a brave neo eon of CGI enhanced film art to finally begin in the first decade of the first century of the new millenium. Indeed, the sight and sound of Darko, Frank and Ross experiencing the allegorical Sam Raimi film EVIL DEAD (1981) at the Aero Theatre halfway through the film affirmed the film’s wistful longing to return to the Skyrocking days before the TZ disaster in the Last Good Year of film.
Significantly, the sight and sound of brave and resolute Sir Darko dying in the past to save the future evoked the sight and sound of the equally determined, resolute and implicitly David Lynch linked time traveller, Kyle Reese-played by Michael Biehn-dying in the past to save the future at the end of the twilit, allegorical, Ozian themed and CGI enhanced Cameron Zonebuster THE TERMINATOR (1984), reaffirming that on one level the film was implicitly addressing Cameron. Indeed, the film’s allusions to the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Cameron Zonebuster THE ABYSS (1989), the twilit, allegorical, Ozian themed, CGI enhanced and implicitly Lynch addressing Cameron Zonebuster TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991), and the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Cameron Zonebuster TITANIC (1997) reaffirmed the implicit interest in Cameron in DONNIE DARKO.
In addition, the sight of the implicitly Gilliam linked Darko dying at the end of the film and the implicitly Spielberg linked Frank surviving also implied the hope of Kelly that the film art career of the mostly CGI enhanced film art eschewing Gilliam would also soon die in the new millennium, and that the film art career of the CGI enhanced film art embracing Spielberg would continue to prosper. Indeed, the survival of Ross implicitly supported this interpretation of the end of DONNIE DARKO, reminding us that Warner Brothers CEO Ross had openly reached out to and supported Spielberg after the TZ disaster, allowing the embattled director to complete the three film deal he had made with Warners and which had begun with TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE to be completed with the twilit and allegorical films THE COLOR PURPLE (1985) and EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987). With Darko’s arson attack on Cunningham’s house also leading to his arrest after firefighters discovered the fear conqueror’s “…kiddie porn dungeon”, Kelly also implicitly hoped that Spielberg would top Cameron with another box office smash hit like E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL in the new millennium.
Curiously, however, given that Darko had been linked to the four Ozian elements by waking up in the Earthy Scarecrow hills outside Middlesex at the beginning of the film, by the Tin Man rusting and freezing Water he had unleashed in his axe attack on the Middlesex Ridge School’s basement water main, by the Cowardly Lion linked Fire that burned in his arson attack on Cunningham’s house and by the Great and powerful Oz windbag Air of the tornado which ripped off the jet engine and caused it to, fittingly, fall through the air before it crashed above his bedroom on the roof of his parent’s house, and given that Darko had conquered his fear of dying alone and had become certain that the arrival of Frank and his lessons in how to manipulate fourth dimensional space-time was confirmation of the existence of God and that he was fulfilling the will of God by allowing himself to be pulled back in time by the fourth dimensional space-time tunnel and let the jet engine kill him at the end of the film, Kelly also implicitly hinted that Gilliam had achieved some sort of harmonizing absolution and liberation from the karmic cycle of endless reincarnation and finally succeeded in his cinematic Grail Quest by the end of DONNIE DARKO.
For his part, Spielberg implicitly roasted Kelly in the implicit form of smooth talking and lady killing teen con man, Frank Abagnale jr.-played by Leonardo DiCaprio-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced film CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002), released on December 16, 2002. Then, fittingly, given that conquering fear-particularly the fear of death-was a major theme of DONNIE DARKO, two years after the film’s release Kelly was implicitly linked to Matt “Daredevil” Murdock-played by Scott Terra as a lad, and Ben Affleck as a laddish man, respectively-in the twilit, elektrafying, CGI enhanced and allegorical Mark S. Johnson super satirical film DAREDEVIL (2003), a film released on February 9, 2003 and inspired by a character implicitly linked to John F. Kennedy jr. that was created by Stan “the Man” Lee, Bill Everett and Jolly Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics about a man with no fear in a film that also anticipated the arrival of a fan with no fear that some mockingly called Gardevil in one of the most eerily prescient memories of the future of the entire dread allegorical Zone Wars.
“Because I can.
Because I’m not afraid.”
Indeed, the indie Daredevil-whose alliterative name and ‘DD’ initials evoked the equally alliterative name and D.D. initials of Donnie Darko-and his battle to rid New York City of the blockbuster loot lusting and implicitly George Lucas linked gang boss, Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk-perhaps originally linked to DC Comics editor Mort Weisinger and played by Michael C. Duncan-and the gleefully psychopathic and implicitly Lynch linked Bullseye-played by Colin Farrell-was linked to Kelly and his battle to ensure that indie film art always had a home in the Temple Theatre throughout the film, an implicit intent affirmed by the film’s allusions to DONNIE DARKO. Murdock’s implicitly Spielberg linked father, Jack “the Devil” Murdock-played by David Keith-affirmed the implicit Kelly addressing intent of the film, reminding us of all of the allusions to E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL and POLTERGEIST in DONNIE DARKO. Curiously, Bigelow was also implicitly linked to martial arts warrioress, Elektra Natchios-played by Jennifer Garner-in DAREDEVIL.
Alas for Kelly, despite his best efforts in DONNIE DARKO, 911 made it clear that a new disaster free era of film was not in the works in 2001, an unexpected and uncertain new terrorist threatening reality that Kelly explored on one level while he again also implicitly explored and satirized the battle that had erupted between CGI embracing film artists and CGI eschewing film artists when he returned with Grant, Osborne and Lisa K. Wyatt-who played indomitable fear conqueror, Linda Connie, in a Cunningham motivational video in DONNIE DARKO-and co-producer Sean McKittrick, costume designer April Ferry, director of photography Steven Poster, editor Sam Bauer and production designer Alexander Hammond-also from DONNIE DARKO-in his next confident, mature, brilliant, twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and Ozian themed docufeature film SOUTHLAND TALES (2006), which was first screened on May 21, 2006.
“Pandora’s box had been left exposed
to prying eyes.”
Indeed, on one level, the CGI realized nuclear attack on Abilene, Texas on July 4, 2005 that sent the United States into World War Three at the beginning of the film allowed Kelly to explore his fear that the repercussions of 911 would drag the U.S. into another world war. However, the war set off by a CGI realized nuclear explosion that polarized the country and led to Los Angeles based members of the Republican Party and its USident cyberspace monitoring department battling radical L.A. members of the far left known as the Neo-Marxists and pragmatically crass indie lone wolves who exploited or jeered at both sides also implicitly evoked the war in the world of film art that erupted after the arrival of high quality CGI and that led to battles between those film artists who eagerly embraced CGI enhancement and digital film and those film artists who disdained CGI enhancement and preferred celluloid film. This additional embattled allegorical implication was affirmed by the fact that the characters in the film were implicitly linked to film artists who embraced, and those who did not embrace, the new CGI enhanced digital age.
Indeed, implicitly leading the CGI embracing Republican ranks were characters like the implicitly Bigelow linked Madeline Frost-Santaros-played by Mandy Moore-the implicitly Cameron linked Republican aide, Vaughan Smallhouse-played by John Larroquette-the implicitly Kennedy and Wicked Witch of the West linked L.A. USiDent head, Nana Mae Frost-played by Miranda Richardson-the eccentric and implicitly Great Oz and Lucas linked Wizard, Baron Von Westphalen-played by Wallace Shawn-the implicitly Marshall linked U.S. 2008 Presidential hopeful and Texas Senator, Robert “Bobby” Frost-played by Osborne-the implicitly Glinda the Good and Spielberg linked Doctor Katarina Kuntzler-played by Zelda Rubinstein-and the mysterious, sensual and implicitly Sofia (SCC) Coppola linked companion of the Baron, Serpentine-played by Bai Ling. For their part, leading the CGI rejecting and Republican battling Neo-Marxist ranks were the implicitly Alfred Hitchcock linked UPU2 Officer Barton ‘Bart’ Bookman-played by Jon Lovitz-the implicitly Sarah Polley linked Veronica Mung aka Dream-played by Amy Poehler-the implicitly Sir Ridley Scott linked Bing Zinneman-played by Todd Berger-the implicitly Susan Siedelman linked adult film director, Cyndi Pinzicki-played by Nora Dunn-and the implicitly Clement Virgo linked Dion Element-played by Wood Harris. Last but not least, leading the ranks of pragmatically crass indie lone wolves who exploited or jeered at both sides were the implicitly Gilliam and Tin Man linked and fourth dimensional rift time travelling UPU2 Officers Roland and Ronald Taverner-played by Seann W. Scott-the implicitly Landis linked Martin Kefauver-played by Lou T. Pucci-the implicitly Cowardly Lion and Lynch linked Hollywood action star, aspiring film artist and fellow fourth dimensional rift time traveller, Boxer Santaros-played by Dwayne Johnson-Veronica’s father, the illicit, ice cream truck driving and implicitly David Cronenberg linked weapons dealer, Walter Mung-played by Christophe Lambert-and the implicitly Madonna linked Starla Von Luft-played by Michelle Durrett.
Curiously, all of the main characters were introduced by the implicitly Scarecrow and Quentin Tarantino linked ex-actor and Marine and Book Of Revelations loving and quoting Santa Monica beach security man and narrator of the film, Pilot Abilene-played by Justin Timberlake-narrated the future L.A. set film, a film long narration that evoked the film long narration of Harrison Ford's cynical and implicitly Lucas linked Rick Deckard in the original theatrical release of the eerily and presciently twilit and allegorical Sir Scott film BLADE RUNNER (1982), linking another Kelly film to the twilit and disastrous year of 1982. Indeed, the presence of the fearless and pugnacious Neo-Marxist rebel, Zora Charmichaels-played by Cheri Oteri-openly affirmed the link of the film to BLADE RUNNER, for Zora evoked Joanna Cassidy's equally pugnacious renegade Replicant, Zhora, in BLADE RUNNER, also set in a future L.A. area.
In addition, the presence on the production of conceptual artist Ron Cobb also openly linked SOUTHLAND TALES to BLADE RUNNER and the twilit and disastrous summer of ‘82, for Cobb also worked on BLADE RUNNER. The surname of Taverner also openly affirmed the film’s link to BLADE RUNNER and the twilit and disastrous summer of 1982. For Taverner shared the surname of Jason Taverner, a tv star in the allegorical Philip K. Dick novel Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (1974), reminding us that the allegorical and implicitly Disney animatronic “people” roasting Dick novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (1968), inspired the creation of BLADE RUNNER. Thus, it was appropriate that the mysterious Simon Theory-played by Kevin Smith-hidden away in the secret control room in the Treer Megazeppelin, resembled Dick as much as Karl Marx.
Fittingly, and to affirm the implicit film artist roasting intent of SOUTHLAND TALES, the film’s many zany characters and narratives and its post-nuclear sneak attack agitated, soldier filled, terrorism obsessed and edgy L.A. bristling with mounted machine gunners evoked the many tragicomic characters and zany narratives of the post-Pearl Harbour sneak attack agitated, soldier and sailor filled, Japanese invasion obsessed and edgy L.A. bristling with anti-aircraft gunners of the presciently twilit, allegorical, Ozian themed and implicitly New Hollywood roasting Spielberg film 1941 (1979), a grimly fitting allusion given Spielberg’s link to the TZ disaster and the role he played in setting off the dread allegorical Zone Wars and its tragicomic obsession with CGI. Indeed, the Santa Monica amusement park, beach and pier figured as prominently in SOUTHLAND TALES as in 1941, while Sarah M. Gellar’s exuberantly clueless, implicitly Dorothy and Pamela Anderson Lee linked porn star and aspiring film actor and screenwriter, Krysta Kapowski, resembled Dianne Kay’s implicitly Dorothy linked Betty Douglas of 1941, affirming the implicit link of the two films. In addition, Treer Products, the company owned by Baron von Westphalen, which produced, via tidal movement and ‘quantum entanglement’, the renewable, CGI realized and linked wireless electricity network known as Fluid Karma-reminding us that Lucas was the film art world’s foremost eccentric apostle of CGI-also affirmed the film’s link to 1941. For Treer Products evoked Dan Akroyd's character Motor Sergeant Frank Tree, a surname that was not only German for “tree”, but also reminded us of the “Baum” of L. Frank Baum, the author of the allegorical and implicitly Queen Victoria and United Kingdom roasting children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).
In addition, the film also alluded to the many zany characters, creative chaos and L.A. settings of the twilit and allegorical Alex Cox film REPO MAN (1984), the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Bigelow docufeature artbuster STRANGE DAYS (1995) and the twilit, allegorical and L.A. set Lynch moving paintings LOST HIGHWAY (1997) and MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001)-as well as to the twilit and allegorical Lynch moving painting DUNE (1984)-to reaffirm the implicit link of Santaros to Lynch. Indeed, singer Rebekah Del Rio returned from MULHOLLAND DRIVE as herself again in an open link of SOUTHLAND TALES to that dream-like and mysterious moving painting. Thus, it was fitting that the film ended by merging the endings of 1941, REPO MAN and STRANGE DAYS, as most of the quixotic and caterwauling characters were killed when the Wizard Baron’s Fluid Karma powered and blockbuster CGI Treer MegaZeppelin beast, the Jenny Von Westphalen, was ironically taken out on its maiden voyage by Kefauver with a missile blasted from a shoulder fired and heat seeking Syrian ground to air rocket launcher while standing on the roof of Mung’s floating ice cream truck, a sight which evoked the floating Chevy Malibu at the end of REPO MAN, near the end of the film in the ultimate exultant CGI explosion while multi-coloured explosions of regular fireworks filled the nighttime sky as some L.A. streets celebrated Independence Day on July 4, 2008 in a way that evoked the exuberant crowd of partygoers that filled the downtown L.A. core and rang in New Year’s Eve 1999 at the end of STRANGE DAYS while fighting raged in other streets of L.A, fighting which evoked the fighting between sailors and soldiers in the streets of L.A. in 1941.
Curiously, the deaths of the gleefully duplicitous Wizard, Baron von Westphalen and his Munchkin colleague, Dr. Katarina Kuntzler, in the MegaZeppelin explosion not only implied that Kelly felt that Lucas had failed to kick off a neo eon of CGI film art with his STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy, but also affirmed the concluding implication that Kelly wanted to leave behind the twilit and disastrous year of 1982. For Von Westphalen and Kuntzler were played by Shawn and Rubinstein, respectively, who were openly linked forever to 1982 by his role as himself in the allegorical Louis Malle film MY DINNER WITH ANDRE (1982), and by her role as the fearless and intrepid ghostbuster Tangina in POLTERGEIST. The presence of Larroquette as Smallhouse, the Southern aide de camp of Republican Sen. Frost, who also died in the same explosion that destroyed the Jenny von Westphalen, reaffirmed the implicit intent of the end of SOUTHLAND TALES, as Larroquette openly linked the film to 1982-83, Landis, Spielberg and the TZ disaster through his role as an unmasked Southern KKK member menacing Morrow's character Bill Connor in the Landis episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE.
Significantly, one of the few characters who was not killed in the explosion or the fighting in the street was Taverner, who had been split into a past and a future self like Santaros after driving Santaros through a fourth dimensional rift in the fabric of space/time in the Nevada desert that evoked the fourth dimensional rift that opened up and transported Darko back to the end of the beginning in DONNIE DARKO. However, with a healing and harmonizing handshake reconciling these two selves while floating inside Mung’s ice cream truck at the end of the film, Kelly implicitly hoped that Gilliam would reconcile his madcap animaction film art with the CGI age and continue to succeed as a CGI enhanced film artist. Curiously, Abilene also survived, partying in the streets, implying that Kelly hoped that Tarantino would also continue to succeed as a film artist.
Curiously, Lynch implicitly roasted Kelly in the implicit form of actor Devon Berk-played by Justin Theroux-in the twilit and allegorical moving painting INLAND EMPIRE (2006), a film released on September 6, 2006 and whose implicit allegorical intent was affirmed by the moving painting’s allusions to DONNIE DARKO. For his part, Virgo implied that the madcap saga of SOUTHLAND TALES left him wondering if Kelly was more than just a film artist who featured racist characters in his film art but a racist himself and symbolically forced Kelly to prove himself by having the Kelly resembling and implicitly linked pugilist ex-con Donnie Rose-played by Rossif Sutherland-free himself from a racist cloud that hung over him by agreeing to a boxing match with a black boxer named Ossie Paris-played by Flex Alexander-in the twilit and allegorical docufeature film POOR BOY’S GAME (2007), a film released on February 11, 2007 and an implicit allegorical intent affirmed by the film’s allusions to DAREDEVIL, DONNIE DARKO and SOUTHLAND TALES. Just as curiously, on October 20, 2007 Francis Coppola implicitly came to the support of Kelly and roasted Lynch in the implicit form of the Romanian linguist and lightning strike survivor, Dominic Matei-played by Tim Roth-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced docufeature indie film YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH (2007), a film inspired by the allegorical Mircea Eliade novella Youth Without Youth (1976) and whose implicit allegorical intent was affirmed by the film’s allusions to DONNIE DARKO, INLAND EMPIRE and SOUTHLAND TALES.
In addition, Rawson M. Thurber implied his hope that Kelly would leave behind his implicit obsessions with Gilliam, Lucas and Lynch and head off into bold new time travelling cinematic territory like the implicitly Kelly linked economics student, Arthur “Art” Bechstein-played by Jon Foster-left behind the implicitly Gilliam linked Cleveland Arning-played by Peter Sarsgaard-the implicitly Lucas linked Mohammed-played by Omid Abtahi-and his father, the implicitly Lynch linked Joseph “Joe” Bechstein-played by Nick Nolte-after a memorable summer of ’83 in Pittsburgh at the end of the twilit and allegorical film THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH (2008), a film released on January 20, 2008 that was inspired by the allegorical Michael Chabon novel The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh (1988) and whose implicit allegorical intent was affirmed by the importance of books and reading in the film and by the film’s allusions to DONNIE DARKO, LOST HIGHWAY, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, SOUTHLAND TALES, 12 MONKEYS, the allegorical and implicitly New Hollywood roasting Gilliam and Terry Jones co-directed film MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1975) and the twilit and allegorical Lynch telemoving painting series, TWIN PEAKS (1990-91). For his part, in the sight and sound of the young and implicitly Kelly linked CIA Agent Roger Ferris-played by DiCaprio-being beaten, bitten, tortured, humbled and humiliated in his desperate and determined quest to hunt down and arrest the implicitly Spielberg linked terrorist leader, Al Saleem-played by Alon Aboutboul-Sir Scott implicitly urged Kelly to stay grounded and not get too cocky, kid, in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced film BODY OF LIES (2008), a film released on October 5, 2008 and whose implicit Kelly roasting intent was affirmed by the film’s allusions to SOUTHLAND TALES.
As for Kelly, he implicitly affirmed that he had indeed been brooding over the TZ disaster in his film art and also openly reaffirmed his fondness for the art of literature, a fondness seen and heard in Abilene’s numerous quotes from the Book Of Revelations, Frost’s fitting quote of the last three lines from the allegorical Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken” (1916) in SOUTHLAND TALES, and the allusions to It, The Philosophy Of Time Travel and the allegorical and implicitly British Commonwealth roasting Graham Greene short story “The Destructors” (1954) in DONNIE DARKO. For he returned to Virginia and teamed up again with Bauer, Durrett, Ferry, Hammond, McKittrick, Osborne, Poster, Wyatt and SOUTHLAND TALES co-executive producer Edward H. Hamm jr. to implicitly reply to Coppola and Lucas in his next confident, brilliant, twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced docufeature film THE BOX (2009), a film released on September 17, 2009 and inspired by the allegorical Richard Matheson short story “Button, Button” (1970), a story written not only by one of the most prolific writers for the original TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series but one who also revised his original teleplay for the allegorical Richard Donner telefilm “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet” (1963), a season five episode of the original TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series, for the fourth and final Miller episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, a story that also inspired the twilit and allegorical Peter Medak telefilm “Button, Button’ (1986), which was one half of episode twenty of season one of the Eighties revamp of the TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series.
“Listen to your conscience.
Do what it tells you.”
Intriguingly, the film saw a mysterious, perhaps extraterrestrial intelligence controlled and implicitly Coppola linked lightning strike survivor named Arlington James Steward-played by Frank Langella-make an offer a physically handicapped Richmond, Virginia housewife and English teacher named Norma Lewis-played by Cameron Diaz-couldn’t refuse to make a million dollars in cash neatly contained in a briefcase if she would kill a stranger by pushing the button on top of a box. Significantly, her decision to give up on her financially struggling and physically imperfect but vital humanity and push the murderous button for the million dollar award dragged her, her Lucas resembling and implicitly linked NASA camera expert and aspiring astronaut husband, Arthur “Art” Lewis-played by James Marsden-and their son, Walter-played by Sam Oz Stone-into a twilit nightmare that led to Walter going as blind as Murdock and deaf as well and Arthur murdering Norma to end the nightmare and return sight and hearing to Walter, in the end, openly linking a lust for money to the end of Art in an implicitly reproving message to Lucas for abandoning film art for film art’s sake for film art for blockbuster loot’s sake with the STAR WARS Classic and Tragic Trilogies.
Thus, it was fitting that Steward and his wife Clymene-played by Deborah Rush-were implicitly linked to Coppola and his wife Eleanor, an implicit link affirmed by the film’s allusions to YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH, the allegorical Coppola docufeature indie film YOU’RE A BIG BOY NOW (1966), and the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Cameron roasting Coppola docufeature film BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992), for it reminded us that Coppola was not just the longtime friend of Lucas, but also an uncompromising film artist who had always been committed to film art for film art’s sake rather than for blockbuster loot’s sake. It was also fitting that the name of Art Lewis evoked that of Art Lewis, an actor who played a drunk in the allegorical Robert Florey telefilm “The Fever” (1960), episode seventeen of the original TWILIGHT ZONE television series. For “The Fever” was about a man named Franklin Gibbs-played by Everett Sloane-who succumbed to a fatal lust for slot machine loot while on a trip to Las Vegas with his wife, a lust that evoked the lust for fortune and glory that overwhelmed New Hollywood artists and led to the TZ disaster. This twilit dimension to the tale was reiterated by the fact that Arthur, Norma and Walter created another twilit trio composed of one female and two males that evoked the twilit trio of Vic, Renee and My-ca. Twilit, indeed, given that the Lewis family lived at 7321 Park in Richmond, and that the day that Norma pushed the button Arthur and herself woke up at 7:23 am.
Perhaps not surprisingly, given the implicit fear and loathing with which blockbuster CGI enhanced super satirical film art was treated in DONNIE DARKO, SOUTHLAND TALES and THE BOX, Kelly disappeared from the CGI enhanced Temple Theatre like Lynch after 2009. However, while the allegorical film art of Kelly disappeared, Kelly did not entirely disappear. For Jason Reitman implicitly roasted Kelly and Sir Scott in the implicit form of termination facilitator, Ryan Bingham and his boss, Craig Gregory-played by George Clooney and Jason Bateman, respectively-and urged both film artists not to get so caught up with the new digital film technology that they would lose track of the vital humanity of their film art in his twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced film UP IN THE AIR (2009), a film released on September 5, 2009 and whose implicit allegorical intent was affirmed by its allusions to BODY OF LIES, DONNIE DARKO and SOUTHLAND TALES. Cameron also implicitly linked Richard “Rich” Kelly to Jacob “Jake” Sully-played by Sam Worthington-during his adventures on the brave new CGI lunar world of Pandora in his twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Zonebuster AVATAR (2009), a film released on December 10, 2009 and whose implicit allegorical intent was affirmed by the film’s allusions to DAREDEVIL and SOUTHLAND TALES and by the fact that Pandora was the name of one of the film production companies that produced DONNIE DARKO. By having Sully undergo difficult trials and tribulations before he became a Nav’i and the only one on Pandora to ever ride a CGI enhanced blockbuster beast of a leonopteryx, Cameron also implicitly warned Kelly that despite his talent and confidence, he still had a ways to go before he came a successful film artist.
Joseph Kosinski and company also sympathetically addressed Kelly’s sojourn in film limbo in the form of the Kelly resembling and implicitly linked Earth straggler, Jack Harper-played by Tom Cruise-but wondered if the high price to rejoin the Titans of the film industry would be worth it if the price would involve becoming a powerless puppet of the pitiless CGI enhanced blockbuster machine in their twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced film OBLIVION (2013), a film released on March 26, 2013 and whose implicit Kelly addressing intent was affirmed by the importance of books and reading in the film and the film’s allusions to DONNIE DARKO, SOUTHLAND TALES, THE BOX and THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH. In time, Kelly was also implicitly roasted in the form of another marvelous superhero in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Peyton Reed super satirical film ANT-MAN (2015), released on June 29, 2015.
“This is not some cute technology
like the Iron Man suit.”
Indeed, Kelly’s diminished presence was implicitly and mockingly linked to that of Scott “Ant-Man” Lang-based on a character created by Kirby, Lee and Larry Lieber for Marvel Comics, and played by Paul Rudd-throughout the film, an implicit Kelly roasting intent affirmed by the film’s allusions to DONNIE DARKO, OBLIVION, POOR BOY’S GAME, SOUTHLAND TALES, THE BOX and THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH. Lang’s descent into the CGI enhanced quantum zone at the end of the film reaffirmed the film’s implicit Kelly addressing intent, as the quantum zone evoked the CGI enhanced trips through the fourth dimension in the film art of Kelly. Significantly, the sight of Ant-Man learning to ride a flying ant he named Ant-thony also evoked the sight of Sully learning to ride a flying banshee and the dread blockbuster leonopteryx in AVATAR, affirming the implicit link of Sully to Kelly. Indeed, the presence of Bobby Cannavale as Paxton affirmed the film’s allusions to Cameron and AVATAR, reminding us that that Bill Paxton was Cameron’s lucky charm who appeared in his most successful films. Of course, the presence of Harris as Gale not only affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Cameron as his surname reminded us that Cameron was once married to film producer Gale A. Hurd, but also openly affirmed the film’s implicit Kelly addressing intent, as Harris played the implicitly Virgo linked Dion Element in SOUTHLAND TALES.
The presence of the implicitly Landis linked Doctor Henry “Hank” Pym aka the original Ant-Man and the implicitly Kate Capshaw linked Hope Van Dyne-played by Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly, respectively-also affirmed Kelly’s implicit link to Sully in AVATAR, for their frustrating struggle to get Lang’s Ant-Man mojo working so that he could defeat the implicitly Jeff Bezos linked Doctor Darren Cross-played by Corey Stoll-evoked the equally frustrating struggle of Doctor Grace Augustine-played by Sigourney Weaver-and her team of scientists to get Sully’s avatar mojo working in AVATAR. The link of Henry and Hope to Landis-an implicit link affirmed by the film’s allusions to the allegorical and equally mayhem filled Landis film THE BLUES BROTHERS (1980)-and Capshaw also supported the “diminished presence” theme of the satirical piece, reminding us that Landis faded from view after the TZ disaster and that Capshaw faded from view after marrying Spielberg.
Ant-Man’s small but memorable dustup with the keen eyed, vigilant and implicitly Will Smith linked Sam “Falcon” Wilson-played by Anthony Mackie-also introduced Lang to the dissembling Avengers, an introduction expanded when Scott “Ant-Man” Lang-played again by Rudd-had another combative encounter with most of the rest of the Avengers in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Anthony and Joseph Russo super satirical film CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016), released on April 12, 2016.
“I got something kinda big.
But I can’t hold it very long.”
Curiously, as the film saw Lang-played again by Rudd-show off his ability to transform from Ant-Man to Giant Man when he fought at the end of the film on the side of the implicitly American film artist linked superheroes who were inspired by the implicitly Clint Eastwood linked Steve “Captain America” Rogers-played by Chris Evans-against the implicitly Canadian film artist linked superheroes who were inspired by the implicitly Jason Reitman linked Tony “Iron Man” Stark-played by Robert Downey, jr.-the Russo Brothers implicitly held out their hope that Kelly would return to prominence with another hit film. As long as Kelly was not cut down by an insightful review of that film by the poor ol’ Gardevil, as the creative quick thinking of the allusive and implicitly Gardevil linked Peter “Spider-Man” Parker-played by Tom Holland-brought Giant Man down to size in that memorable super rumble at the Berlin airport.
Curiously, Tim Burton implicitly joined the implicit chorus of voices calling for Kelly to come out and play again when he implicitly linked Kelly to Jacob “Jake” Portman-played by Asa Butterfield-and had him help the eccentric and implicitly Milla Jovovich linked time manipulator, Miss Alma Peregrine-played by Eva Green-and a group of truly peculiar children fight off the implicitly Cronenberg linked Barron-played by Samuel L. Jackson-and Evil Hollows in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced film MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (2016), a film released on September 25, 2016 whose implicit Kelly addressing intent was affirmed by allusions to DONNIE DARKO and THE BOX. As for Lang, he survived being brought down to size by Spidevil in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR and returned along with Dr. Pym and Van Dyne-played again by Douglas and Lilly, respectively-for more superheroic battles and trips in the CGI enhanced quantum zone in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Reed super satirical film ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018), released on June 25, 2018 and whose implicit allegorical intent was affirmed by more allusions to DONNIE DARKO, SOUTHLAND TALES, THE BLUES BROTHERS and THE BOX.
“Quantum entanglement, Scott.”
Curiously, the film saw Ant-Man team up with Dr. Pym and Van Dyne’s winged will o’ the Wasp to battle the implicitly Meghan Markle linked Ava “Ghost” Starr-played by Hannah John-Kamen-a supervillain whose molecular disequilibrium problem caused her to constantly flicker uncertainly in and out of existence was an implicitly wry comment on how Markle was now uncertain whether she was an American “commoner” or British “nobility” in her new role as wife of Prince Harry. Just as curiously, while they were frantically trying to come to grips with the elusive and allusive Ghost, Ant-Man also teamed up with Dr. Pym and the Wasp to free Henry’s implicitly Deborah Landis linked wife, Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp-played by Michelle Pfeiffer-from the Twilight Zone evoking quantum realm in a “Little Girl Lost” and POLTERGEIST evoking quest.
Given that Lang, Pym and Van Dyne did in fact succeed in freeing Janet from the twilit quantum realm, with Ant-Man allowed to cut loose as Giant Man/Goliath again as in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR to bring both threads of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP to a successful conclusion, Reed implied his hope that CGI had become so advanced that film artists would never again have to worry about fatal film set disasters, thus freeing Landis and his film art from the Twilight Zone and ending the dread allegorical Zone Wars at last. Significantly, however, whether a daylit and brave neo eon of CGI enhanced film art would truly begin was suddenly left uncertain at the end of the film, for Lang was left trapped in the quantum realm after Hank, Hope and Janet vanished into thin air like many of the other marvelous superheroes at the end of the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Russo Brothers super satirical film AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018), released on April 23, 2018.
“In order to take the stone,
you must lose that which you love.
A soul for a soul.”
Curiously, while Lang did not appear in the film due to being under house arrest for breaking his parole by leaving the U.S. to fight in the super brawl in Germany at the end of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, there were enough nods to the films of Kelly to keep Ant-Man in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR in spirit if not in body. Indeed, the sight and sound of the Asgardian refugee spaceship, Statesman, being blown up by the huge spaceship of the implicitly Michael Eisner linked, CGI enhanced and power mad Titan, Thanos-played by Josh Brolin-evoked the sight and sound of the Treer Megazeppelin, Jenny Von Westphalen, being blown up Kefauver at the end of SOUTHLAND TALES. The anguished sight and sound of the implicitly Luc Besson linked Peter “Star Lord” Quill-played by Chris Pratt-working up the nerve to kill beautiful but deadly and implicitly Leeloo linked Gamora-played by Zoe Saldana-to save her from the insidious intentions of her “father”, Thanos; the anguished sight and sound of Thanos killing Gamora in order to possess the orange soul infinity stone on the deadly planet Vormir; and the anguished sight and sound of the implicitly Emily Lynch linked Wanda “the Scarlet Witch” Maximoff-played by Elizabeth Olsen-using her strange magic to kill the implicitly Cronenberg linked Vision-played by Paul Bettany-in order to prevent the yellow mind infinity stone in his forehead from falling into the twisted infinity gauntlet of Thanos also evoked the equally anguished sight and sound of Art killing Norma at the end of THE BOX in order to save Walter and atone for pressing the button and killing someone they did not know.
All of which prepared audiences for the sight and sound of Lang returning to help the remaining Avengers save the day and bring harmony back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) the Russo Brothers teamed up again with Bettany, Brolin, Douglas, Downey jr., Evans, Holland, Lilly, Olsen, Pratt, Rudd and Saldana and the rest of the dissembling cast and crew on the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical film AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019), released on April 22, 2019.
“So, BACK TO THE FUTURE
is a bunch of bullshit?”
Indeed, the implicitly Kelly linked Scott “Ant-Man” Lang-played again by Rudd-was released from the CGI enhanced quantum realm when a rat ran over the top of the controls of the van turned quantum teleportation machine and turned the machine back on. Freeing Lang to team up with all of the marvelous heroes on a multi-time travelling adventure that involved entering the CGI enhanced quantum zone again at one point and exiting before the arrival of Thanos-the left side of his face almost as horrifically scarred as that of Steward after using the Infinity Stones to destroy the Infinity Stones at the ending beginning of the film, and played again by Brolin-at various points in the future past in order to hunt down the six infinity stones and use the six stones to finally defeat the mad Titan, save the day and bring life, health and harmony back to the MCU in a super spectacular eucatastrophic triumph.
Significantly, back in the future past, Steve “Captain America” Rogers-played again by Evans-and the implicitly Nikita linked Nebula-played by Karen Gillan-met and battled their past selves, evoking the sight and sound of the past and future selves of Santaros and Taverner confronting each other in SOUTHLAND TALES, reaffirming the implicit interest in Kelly in AVENGERS: ENDGAME. The sight and sound of the implicitly SCC linked Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff-played by Scarlett Johansson-dying in front of the anguished eyes of the implicitly Sir Scott linked Clint “Hawkeye” Barton-played by Jeremy Renner-in order to recapture the orange soul stone in another deadly trip to Vormir again evoked the sight and sound of Norma dying in front of Arthur in order to save Walter and end the twilit nightmare in THE BOX. Allusions which would hopefully inspire Kelly to stop encouraging audiences to think that he was dead, cease to resist the call of film art, finally leave behind the Fourth Dimension and return to the Temple Theatre with another brilliant, confident, mature, original and ironically CGI bashing CGI enhanced film whose success would allow him to rise again to prominence and reaffirm his love of books and twilit tales.
Kelly, Richard. The Donnie Darko Book. London: Faber
and Faber Limited, 2003.
-----. Southland Tales: the prelude saga. Anaheim, CA:
Graphitti Designs, Inc., 2007.