Insomnia is an annoying thing to have. Last night, I fell asleep at the old lady hour of 9:30, missing the last half of Blow Out. Yes, I know it’s trash and possesses no redeeming qualities, but I don’t care. I have dropped two reality based shows from my line-up count ‘em two and I haven’t added any more. But I digress. I woke up at 2:30 AM too awake to get the sleep I needed, but too tired to do anything productive. Been there, done that, more times than I care to admit. My usual prescription is TV and Sudoku puzzles. Unfortunately 2:30 AM also means there are umpteen million channels with nothing but infomercials. My two choices were Her Twelve Men and Donnie Darko neither of which I had ever seen and both of which were already in progress.
Her Twelve Men was a programmer featuring Greer Garson in her last film for MGM. I think they’d hired Deborah Kerr (another elegant English redhead) by then and Hollywood has never been kind to older leading ladies. Garson’s a widow looking for a new direction in life. She becomes a teacher at a boys’ boarding school headed up by Richard Haydn (if you’re too lazy to click, he was the theatrical agent in The Sound of Music). The redoubtable Robert Ryan is the cynical co-teacher and love interest. Schmaltzy and largely forgettable, but I couldn’t help watching. Robert Ryan has that effect on me.
Donnie Darko was an altogether different kettle of fish. I suspect it would have helped if I’d been completely awake, seeing the film in its entirety, and without commercials. But I wasn’t. Jake Gyllenhaal is the lead. I guess troubled teen may be the closest I can come to the character. Whether he’s schizophrenic or whether his visions are real is unclear. But he’s seeing something, namely an evil looking giant rabbit named Frank. There’s a mess of stuff in there about time travel and alternate realities, but between Bravo’s cuts and my switching between this and the Greer Garson flick, I couldn’t make heads or tails out of it. I’ll add it to the list of DVDs to watch.
Dan Curtis passed away this week. I have a love/hate reaction to his work. On the one hand, he was the driving force behind one of the more interesting and creative soaps ever produced, Dark Shadows. On the other hand, he apparently didn’t have the strongest handle on the soap opera format. In the long run, I suspect that contributed to the show’s demise. All that said, he was a creative man and he will be missed.