Pajama Warriors: Martial Arts Mystique and the Denial of Reality

Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly’s time-travel “modern classic,” is overrated. There, I said it. But there are seams of real brilliance running through that movie. One that stands out is the impeccably crude self-help video Donnie’s feckless teacher insists on showing to her bored class. Cunning Visions Presents… Cue fuzzy production values: short, dumpy people wandering dreamlike through a meadow, led by a muscular man in a vest. Gentle synth muzak transports us instantly to the bowels of the 80s. Smarmy guru Jim Cunningham (a secret pedophile played with disturbing subtlety by Patrick Swayze)1 stares straight at the…

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