Tonight’s Feature Presentation Will Begin As Soon As You Accept That You’re Not Getting Any Sleep

May 27, 2012


So, there are the genres of movie we all know – the romcom, the horror film, et cetera.  But movies go way beyond that, in terms of niche.  Then there are the genres that are a bit more specified – genres you couldn’t really plan for.

For example, some years ago one of my best friend’s life wasn’t going well, and he just watched Ocean’s 11 over and over.  But that would be a crappy marketing technique, wouldn’t it?  “Ocean’s 11: because sometimes your life just sucks.”

Three days ago, I saw a rig that’d haul that tanker. You wanna get out of here? Talk to me. Wakka wakka wakka!

For me, the perfect movie during the holidays is The Muppet Movie.  When I hate the world and feel helpless, I get a sudden craving to watch The Road Warrior.  And when I hate the world during the holidays I re-enact The Road Warrior with Muppets.

That’s a lie.

There are the movies for moods, movies for seasons, movies for weather.

And they can be movies that are otherwise not good.  Everyone has that movie that they love because they saw it under exactly the right conditions, and then you tell your friends, so they watch it and you realize… oh… maybe you have to be in a certain frame of mind for Tango & Cash to seem great.

At the moment, I’m thinking about insomnia movies.  You can’t sleep, you go through the crucial stages – denial, dread, anger, counting (if I fall asleep right now I can still get ___ hours of sleep), fury, despair, hatred of God, acceptance – and then putter out and watch TV.  And the perfect thing comes on.

So what makes the perfect insomnia movie?  Is it one that puts you to sleep because it’s so boring?  Or is it one that calms the mind?

I even remember him getting sentenced to jail and singing, “I don’t care! I don’t give a damn! British justice is a farce and a sham!”

I remember seeing a movie called Water once in the middle of the night.  This is not a good movie, even if you could find it I wouldn’t suggest it.  In fact, my memory is that it starred Michael Caine, Jimmie “Dynomite!” Walker, and Scottish comedy genius Billy Connolly as a guerrilla soldier who will only sing because he refuses to speak until the island is liberated, which convinced me that I’d imagined it, but nope, there it is on imdb.  But for an insomnia movie?  It’s simple, nice, charming without excessive cleverness.  Ditto an 80’s Steve Guttenberg movie called Bad Medicine.  To me, an insomnia movie leaves you feeling peaceful. Entertained without challenge.  Pleased without memory.

So, for our Weekly Question of the Week, what do you think?  What would be the perfect insomnia movie?  You’re up, can’t sleep, unhappy about it, plop down on the couch and turn on… what… that makes you feel calm and pleased?

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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61 Comments on “Tonight’s Feature Presentation Will Begin As Soon As You Accept That You’re Not Getting Any Sleep”

  1. Alison Armstrong Says:

    I don’t know about insomnia movies. I do know about insomnia songs. Whenever I have insomnia Murphy’s Law states that my TV and computer won’t work and there’ll be nothing to do but the ironing and listening to CDs. Top two songs to listen to while experiencing insomnia (for opposite reasons) — ‘I dance myself to sleep’ as sung by Ernie on Sesame St. and Narcolepsy by Ben Folds Five.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      See, if I can’t sleep I have to avoid things that mention sleeping. Every time sleep comes up I become hyper-aware of my own state of sleep-nearness and I’m sunk.


  2. prttynpnk Says:

    Reds. It’s 45 hours long, it has a big cast- you get Russian melancholia to spur your red-eyed grumpiness……


  3. Valentine Logar Says:

    This will definitively age me. I have been known to shove Wizards in on sleepless nights. I still have this odd animated film in VHS format, thus the reason for maintaining my VCR alongside my other more updated media. I don’t even know if I could find it in more updated formats actually though I heard there is a new release.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Don’t even have to click the link. One of the all time great/weird – weird/great movies.


      • Valentine Logar Says:

        I just discovered they released a 35 year anniversary edition Blu Ray or DVD. I am now on the hunt! I have been replacing my entire collection of Disney (grandchildren) VHS but this will now have to be part of the replacement quest.


  4. Michelle Gillies Says:

    Princess Bride…and not because it is a bad or even mediocre movie. It is pretty much on all the time on some station. I just enjoy sitting there with it and if I nod off I know exactly what is going on when I wake up.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Yay! That came on the other day and I was frozen.

      Endlessly quotable.

      “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

      “The fire swamp! We’ll never survive.”
      “Oh, you’re just saying that because no one ever has.”


      • Go Jules Go Says:

        I could never sleep through Princess Bride!


      • thesinglecell Says:

        “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Last year I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt with a fake “hello my name is” sticker silkscreened on it, and in the name box it said “Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” And I took a picture of him because it was awesome.
        Can I tell you something? I’ve never even seen that movie and I could still quote several scenes.


  5. She's a Maineiac Says:

    Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Once I see Steve Martin say to that rental car clerk:
    “You gave me f***ing keys to a f***ing car that isn’t f***ing there. I want a f***ing car, with four f***ing tires and an f***ing steering wheel”
    the world seems less scary to me. Also John Candy “doin’ the mess around…” I could watch that over and over and over again.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Perfect. Funny, comforting. “What do you think the temperature is?” “One.”

      It reminds me of John Candy’s Uncle Buck and Night Shift with Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton.


      • She's a Maineiac Says:

        Exactly. Any funny movie from the 80s will do…Weird Science, When Harry Met Sally.

        Funny about your friend and Ocean’s 11. That is the one movie my husband and I watched over and over again. (which is what we did all those sleepless nights right after we had my son. Not that you’ll ever have those. I swear, I’m not trying to be all doom and gloom. Besides, if you do have sleepless nights with the baby, what better way to spend it than catching up on all those movies you love? right? yeah!)


      • Maggie O'C Says:

        Tit – two tits
        Tion – to push away to say no thank you. That doesn’t even belong in this word.


  6. atothewr Says:

    For some reason Close Encounters of the Third Kind popped into my mind.


  7. Life With The Top Down Says:

    Insomnia and sitcoms for me. Roseanne and Married with Children make happy dreams.


  8. MJ, Nonstepmom Says:

    My insomnia movie is Bridget Jones – silly enough for happy dreams, but provides a self-pitying good cry which always helps you sleep !

    My fav “life sucks” movie is “Slliding Doors” with Gwenneth Paltrow….. sometimes its better to miss your train.
    I also have what I call “No Brainers” cuz i love dumb humor – that would be Austin Powers, Waynes World, Wedding Singer…..”Billy Idol gets it, Why doesnt she?”


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Wayne’s World is so vastly better than it has any right to be.

      I like Sliding Doors. That’s very optimistic of you that your Life Sucks movie has a happy ending (well, half a happy ending).


  9. 1pointperspective Says:

    “Dirty Mary Crazy Larry”. The movie absolutely sucks, as any insomnia movie should. The only redeeming quality of the movie is the final 30 seconds where the 60+ minute car chase ends suddenly with the car smashing into the side of a freight train in a spectacular collision and fireball. I think the crash was part of the opening credits of the Lee Majors crap-fest series “The Fall Guy”.

    The reason this dog is such a stellar insomnia flick is that you end up watching the whole horrible movie just for the car crash, and somehow manage to fall asleep just minutes before it happens. You will startle awake hoping to see flames and carnage, only to be greeted by an info-mercial for some sort of abdominal workout machine, at which point you must face the fact that you will stay awake now for the rest of the night.

    Might as well turn off the TV at that point and go write a blog post about shopping for vegetables at Whole Foods.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      That must be a mid-70’s movie. I’ve never seen it, but the car-chase and the “you rebel, then you die” ending says it all. And I think that era is perfect for that – just the level of “stick it to the man” to make sense to a sleep-deprived mind.


  10. susielindau Says:

    Any of the Matrix series movies. NO. They would keep me awake. The Hangover. Nope. That would make me laugh too hard and I would wake up my husband. I think it would have to be Breakfast at Tiffany’s or any movie with Audrey Hepburn. YES!


  11. Go Jules Go Says:

    Another great question! My most recent insomnia movie was (sit down before you fall over from shock…) the latest Twilight movie, and before that, Harry Potter. I like putting on my favorite movies when I can’t sleep; I know them so well I don’t feel like I’m missing anything when I fall asleep. Plus, there’s the added bonus of Robert Pattinson or Paul Rudd (Clueless) dream potential…


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Oh, Jules, Jules, Jules… Twilight… sometimes we’re the same person, other times… it’s like we’re going to find out we’re the same person, but from opposing universes, and we’ll have to battle or something.

      And Paul Rudd is great. Heck, I’D go on a date with Paul Rudd. But Robert Pattinson? He’s so… odd looking.


  12. Anastasia Says:

    Pride & Prejudice..the soundtrack lulls me. 🙂 Or Crouching Tiger, for the same reason.


  13. Soma Mukherjee Says:

    i would watch horror,more the gore better,like hostel
    my sleep deprived mind wants blood covered screaming the hell out of every one kind of movie….


  14. freddyflow Says:

    As a sufferer of Ekbom Disease (formerly known as Restless Leg Syndrome), I should be an expert in this. But my normal insomnia cure is walking the neighborhood and peering in my neighbors’ windows.


  15. tomwisk Says:

    Michael Caine AND Billy Connely!!! How could I’ve missed that cinematic gem. And singing!! This would help me through those nights when listening to recordings of Cal Coolidge reading Jane’s Book of Big Boats.


  16. thesinglecell Says:

    Hmm… I don’t tend to watch TV if I can’t sleep because it depresses me. Is that weird? Then I’m depressed AND sleepless, which means I will keep myself awake thinking about how pathetic my life is (on that particular night). I suppose the obvious choice would be “Sleepless In Seattle.” Or “You’ve Got Mail.” Anything with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, because they make the world seem like a happier place just by appearing on your television screen. And if it can’t be a chick flick… maybe Star Wars. IV, V or VI. None of that new crap.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Please tell me you’ve seen their greatest film together: Joe Vs. The Volcano. I heart this movie SO MUCH. But if you haven’t seen it, it’s a Hanks/Ryan RomCom with the weird turned up to 11.


  17. racheldeangelis Says:

    Musicals help me fall asleep, as long as they’re singing mostly ballads, and not tap dancing or something. Oklahoma is a pretty sleepy movie…I tend to fall asleep when Laurie has the really long, unnecessary dream sequence about halfway through the film.

    A random story: One time when I was in eighth grade, I told my mom that I was sick and I needed to stay home from school. She surprisingly decided to stay home with me, and forced me to sit through all of her favorite movies (which she had recorded on VHS, with commercials and everything) while I was lying on the couch trying to sleep. Romancing the Stone and Yentl and on and on. Yentl was the the worst! Barbara Streisand dressing like a guy, and her guy friend falling in love with her but being really confused about it because he thought she was a guy….all of the awkward almost-kiss scenes, and the skinny dipping in the lake scene. By the time it was all over, I was PLEADING to go back to school. That should somehow be a movie category all its own, but I don’t know what to call it. Movies that are so sick they make you feel sick even when you were supposed to be sick already but you weren’t?


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I think movies for when you’re sick is definitely a category. And it’s been a long time since I’ve seen Romancing The Stone but I remember it being good… of course, that’s not with a VCR haze and edited, cropped, & commercial-riddled for TV.


  18. Lenore Diane Says:

    True story: A Netflix advertisement for the movie Melancholia staring Kirsten Dunst and Kiefer Sutherland popped up on my screen on several different occasions. One night, I was settled in and looking forward to watching a new movie. I decided to go with Melancholia. The opening credits (??) was enough to cure my insomnia. I tried to stay alert throughout the entire opening – but when it finally seemed to start, I was done. What insomnia?


  19. madtante Says:

    I’ve been sharing my lack of sleep (done this since I was a baby) on…

    You’d think that I’d see lots of this but as a chronic, lifelong (I know that’s redundant–why do you think I’m so dim…LACK OF SLEEP) insomniac, I’ve found lying quietly can get you to survive. You’ll never thrive but watching TV is risky at best!

    Speaking of which, “Water” the recent Indian drama is worth watching.


  20. Maggie O'C Says:

    While You Were Sleeping.
    You’ve Got Mail.
    all time fave….

    The Parent Trap (the real one)


  21. Mr. Ray of Freaking Sunshine Says:

    I did the exact same thing as your friend did, and watched Ocean’s 11 over and over again when I was having a “life sucks” phase. Right now though I’m actually going through a bout of insomnia, and after reading this post I think I’ll go watch some television and hope I find the perfect late-night crappy movie to go watch. Although you’re right if you have insomnia the perfect movie isn’t one that’s so boring, because no matter how boring it is, you still probably won’t get any sleep. It’s something calm and simple that will ease your mind. I actually find that any Adam Sandler movie pre-2004 (like: Anger Management, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, Mr. Deeds) are the perfect insomnia movies. Doesn’t take a lot of thinking, just funny and puts my mind at ease and stops me from thinking. I’m going to go see if I can find a copy of Big Daddy….


  22. Denise Says:

    I have two excellent sleep inducing movies: Cast Away, which I love, by the way, but unless I’m super duper alert and not at all fatigued it’s a great nap aid.

    And I know I’m alone in this – I’ve been told so repeatedly – yet it’s still true: The Matrix. I’ve never successfully watched the movie past where they enter the apartment despite numerous attempts to watch and love what is purported to be the coolest movie of all time in popular opinion. I’m convinced there is subliminal messaging in the movie right about where they enter the apartment, near the beginning, and they discuss pills? Zonk, gellatinous bullet backbend, the end. That’s how it goes, right? In fact I only know about the gellatinous bullet backbend part because of all the hype, not because I’ve ever been awake to see it in situ.

    And because I’m late in responding, and have already read that Princess Bride wins the day, I also agree with that choice.


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