I hit the Netflix jackpot today, with three red envelopes waiting in my mailbox after I sloshed through the mud to get to it this afternoon. Two of the DVDs are current Oscar nominees that I haven't seen: My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Lilo and Stitch. The other is Seven (or more properly Se7en), which I missed when it was released in 1995. I've been trying to catch up on some of these movies that everyone but me has seen, which is why I rented Donnie Darko earlier this week.
The trouble is, I thought I was renting Donnie Brasco, which I also haven't seen. You can imagine my surprise when I pressed the Play button and instead of Johnny Depp I found Jake Gyllenhaal. This wasn't the wiseguy mob flick I was expecting. In fact, it was pretty a pretty deep shot in the opposite direction, a psychological time-travel fantasy.
But wow! I was transfixed by Donnie Darko when I stayed up way too late last night watching it. I could never quite tell which way it was going to veer next. It's really very little about time travel, except on a theoretical level, and very much more about choices and regrets and second chances. I'll find out what the filmmakers think it was about when I watch it again, with the commentary tracks.
That won't happen tonight, though. None of the four red envelopes will be opened on the night the new Survivor: The Amazon starts. I choose my reality TV carefully, but I've been watching Survivor since the first episode of the first series. I've sampled first episodes of other reality shows and never gone back, so there must be something here that I'm connecting with.
I can't quite figure what it is, unless it's the fact that this is our national meeting place, where the largest number of people are doing the same thing at the same time. That used to happen all the time, on Sunday nights for Ed Sullivan, then on Mondays for The Carol Burnett Show.
There's nothing on the tube now that draws the kind of audience All in the Family or Happy Days had in their time. There aren't many TV shows that keep America buzzin' these days, so maybe that's why I stick with Survivor. You know I love sappy romantic dramas, but I enjoy a little vicarious grub-eating and back-stabbing, too.