Started on this year's Antarctic medical tests. On Tuesday the dentist told me my stress level is so high, I've ground the teeth on my right side to the point they have no more enamel. Going for the first crown on Monday. Great.

In a couple weeks I go see my GP and my cardiologist to get the tale of the rest of the damage. Oh boy. I can't wait to see what they have to say. They'll sign me up for stress tests. Echocardiograms. I will become the human pincushion again. Everyone will want to cover their asses as I have moved myself from where the needle is green to the yellow. I may not croak, but nobody wants to be the one that didn't warn me.

I feel particularly crummy today. Here are my reviews.

I have three daughters and they have reached the age where they're introducing me to parts of modern pop culture I could not experience on my own as a grown person.

One of the things I have noticed about the 19 and 20-year olds who hang out at my house is they are prone to sprawl out around my living room and watch the same DVD movie a couple hundred times over the course of a month or so. Usually, the soundtrack of these films is enough to assure I will repair to my lair, which is probably their intent. But one movie's audio track interested me because they used a lot of songs from the early and late 80's, and I was amazed kids of this generation could withstand the onslaught of such blather.

Finally, last night, I asked my 19-year old daughter who is now home from college for the summer, if I might borrow the DVD she and her friends have watched on my TV about 300 times.

Oddly enough, she not only said, "yes," but she went to a friend's house to retrieve the "Directors Cut" so I could have the full impact, and then sat and watched it with me which for her was probably the three hundred twenty third time.

This movie is called "Donnie Darko". I watched it with my kid.

"It's not real. I made it all up."
Richard Kelly
Director, Donnie Darko

Here's what I will say about Donnie Darko and I advise you to forget I said it if you care to see the movie yourself. There are no spoilers. By the way, I think it would be humanly impossible to provide any.

Donnie Darko is a non-interactive video game. It's an RPG that you elaborate through your brain, and only with your brain. The beauty of the script is that it is riddled with clues and hooks, and it is all perfectly well connected. There are links buried within links, and there is much more happening than what you can first perceive superficially. You will find yourself, some time into the script, remembering, subconsciously, various situations and points of dialog that are later referenced and amplified upon.

In a sense, this is a maze. It's a puzzle. The solution may be simply the realization that the puzzle exists, or that it's an interlocking structure.

In any case, the story is of a high-school senior who suddenly finds himself tasked with saving the world from a fourth-dimensional universal reality implosion that will end existence as we know it in 28 days and change.

If this sort of twisted logic entertains you, you'll probably find a way to like this movie. The stuff that one might find off-putting to adults or distracting to the plot revolves around the primary characters being high-school kids. So the outer layers center on adolescent relationships, language, and comedy. Lots of adolescents saying, "fuck," for effect. My kids find plenty to laugh at in the movie, though upon some minor interrogation, I've found the laughing made them miss some key plot points. For instance, Donnie is spiritually shepherded by a "Harvey"-like six-foot tall supernatural rabbit. The analogies to "Harvey" and later the direct references to Watership Down, and the hideously subtle references to the inability of non-humans to speculate on existence or comprehend God -- and how that relates to what happens to the rabbit are missed by my younger folks, who either find the big bunny scary or funny.

I'm completely amazed by the skill of the author/director to have one character moving backward in time while the rest of the cast follows the forward time arrow.You may find yourself becoming confused -- not because something strange has gone unanswered -- but rather, because everything is being answered continuously, and things that did not seem to be riddles, turned out to be.

When the movie was over, I didn't know if I liked it or not, which usually means for me that I will grow to like it over time. A second viewing would absolutely be required to resolve more of the encoded plot, and I don't think I could bear doing that. In any case, this is an intelligent concoction wrapped in superficial teen-angst fluff.

On the other hand, Katherine Ross is still about as disturbingly attractive as a human female can be, and she gets a lot of screen time. My kids, of course, have no idea who they're seeing. But I know she's Elaine who's worth wrecking your entire future for.

Donnie Darko probably the best thing I've seen in a couple months, after Code 46.

I have one more review. Audioslave, Out of Exile.

This is a Soundgarden album, despite the band change and the fact Chris Cornell doesn't play guitar. And I find that all excellent. When they invented Rock and Roll 60 years ago, they meant for it to eventually sound like this. Chris Cornell can sing the paint off a brick building (or the pants off a nun). Add to that a guitarist who must be channeling Jimi Hendirx, and you have nirvana, pun intended. If you like that sort of early 90's Seattle grunge thing, you'll find this slightly more highly evolved. It's about 10 years more mature, but then, so are you, right?

It was meant to be played louder than your children find comfortable.