I popped up some popcorn in my favorite kettle and broke out the 2 litre bottle of Diet Coke. This was going to be a siege of movies, and I needed adequate provisions.
I started with Ben-Hur. How on earth did this movie get stuck in my memory as a good time at the cinema? I remember seeing it as a boy -- and I was enthralled. So enthralled that I talked my parents, who owned a motorcycle shop at the time, to build a county fair parade entrant around the concept of a chariot race. Our neighbor helped build a chariot pulled by a motorcycle. Another group of us pushed a litter containing a motorcycle behind diaphanous curtains. The most difficult part was getting the neighborhood boys to dress in tunics. But they did. I can tell you that memory has worn the corrosive effects of time far better than has the movie. (Yes, Wayne. I have photographs. No, I am not going to post them. The speedo photograph was enough past revelation for now.)
Having survived the hours of Roman chicanery, I decided to watch The Manchurian Candidate -- the good one with Frank Sinatra. Angela Lansbury really should have played more villain roles. But even this film does not bear up well over time. David Amram's score is very good, but it anachronistically sticks the film in the early 60s. And listening to John Frankenheimer talk about how brave he was to make an anti-McCarthy film during the Kennedy Administration is simply amusing. But it was good to watch Angela chew the scenery and everyone around her.
Once you start a habit, it is tough to break. So, out came one of my favorites: Silence of the Lambs. I readily admit that I am no John Hinckley, Jr. However, I have long appreciated Jodie Foster's acting. What I truly enjoy about her acting in this film is that she did not pick another female Johnny Depp role. You can imagine her Clarice Starling living in reality as a tough, but vulnerable, professional taking on a very scary world. And, of course, we get Dr. Hannibal Lecter as pure evil, before Thomas Harris turned him into merely another bag of jingle bell neuroses -- just like the rest of us.
Looking over my evening's entertainment, I suspect I was simply lucky to get the great rest I had that night. I witnessed more mayhem than a Kennedy St. Patrick's party.
Perhaps old Fred Nietzsche had it half right -- That which does not kill us makes us sleep a lot better.