I first was going to say "let my mind shut off," but that's the wrong way to put it. You don't really want it to shut off. It helps instead to let your mind take it, you know, a little easier. But, even in the best of circumstances, I'm good at overthinking. And lately, I'm more so.
Two nights ago I watched the clever, funny horror-comedy Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil. It's horror in the standard "hot college kids go to a cabin in the woods where some killer then starts killing them" way, but: the seeming "killers" are two guys (Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine) trying to enjoy their just-bought vacation cabin, no intention of killing anybody at all, but circumstances keep making it look like they want to kill, kill, kill. The college kids try to defend themselves and wind up dying instead — one jumps at Tudyk's character and falls face-first into a wood chipper; another fleeing for his life runs into a log and gets impaled — and things escalate.
It's funny. I laughed and I enjoyed it. But at a key moment I thought This never would have gone so fatally wrong if either Tudyk's or Labine's character had managed to say something here. There's in fact a story reason Labine's character doesn't (he's really nervous and insecure around hot women like the college girls) but not really for Tudyk's character. But things have to go fatally wrong for the story to work!
There's an anecdote I once learned from an interview with actor Michelle Pfeiffer. Great actor, gorgeous, and really funny...when she lets herself be funny. Except she admitted she rarely takes comedy roles because she worries she'd overthink them, be all Wait: why is this funny? She worried she'd undercut herself. Luckily she got over this for her really fun part in the 2007 film Stardust, which is a fantasy-adventure-comedy where she plays an ancient witch. Think The Princess Bride crossed with the action-comedy Midnight Run. (Which is how screenwriter-director Matthew Vaughn described his approach to making the film!) She overthinks, too!
I've seen my overthinking in other ways. Dreams that are vivid and involved even by my standards. Feeling uncertain about what to do when, during this enforced time off. Feeling, simply, scattered.
I'm not the only one.
Luckily at least, the next night (last night, Tuesday) I managed not to overthink the next film I watched, the good 1989 crime drama/ sort of comedy Miami Blues. I simply experienced it, and enjoyed it, then went to sleep some time later.
Another marker set down in this year. That's what this entry is.