A problem most people have with Donnie Darko is that it doesn't make any sense. None. Negative sense. I understood the movie better before I'd seen it. All I took away from my first viewing was that a teen boy killed his imaginary rabbit friend after he committed vehicular manslaughter and then traveled back in time to die.
So, I did what any confused viewer does: I googled my heart out. The internet (thanks, r/movies) kindly explained that if I wanted to comprehend the stream of images that flickered before my eyes for those 2 hours, I had to watch the director's cut and read The Philosophy of Time excerpts and then do even more research online.
After having done that, I can say that I understand more and less. I understand more about time-traveling aliens and the Manipulated Living. What I still don't understand is why Richard Kelly would release a movie that's impossible to understand unless you watch a different version of it and then read a bunch online AND THEN watch the second version a couple more times. Did Shane Carruth (the director of Primer) and he make a bet?...Who won???
In his class's discussion of Watership Down, Donnie gives a big speech about why he doesn't feel anything for the rabbits in the book. He points out that rabbits aren't aware of death the ways humans are so they don't suffer or deserve sympathy the way humans do. His teacher and fellow students listen to him as though he's saying something important, but all he's done is point out the obvious: rabbits =/= human beings.
Perhaps the concept of anthropomorphic rabbits is too complicated for Donnie, which is weird considering his imaginary friend is a giant anthropomorphized rabbit.
Good thing Ms. Pomeroy didn't include Beatrix Potter on the syllabus.
Speaking of Ms. Pomeroy...
Drew Barrymore's Ms. Pomeroy is a terrible teacher. She tells a student on her first day to sit next to the cutest boy. This is not just the most cringe-inducing thing to ask of an adolescent, it also borders on sexual misconduct. She might as well have pulled an empty beer bottle out of her desk and had the kids play Spin the Bottle for the rest of class.
After that, Pomeroy assigns a short story that inspires students to destroy private property, and she expresses no guilt in encouraging their criminal behavior.
The only certifiably Cool Teacher Move she pulls is she let the kids watch a movie in class.