Disappearance

On the holiday I heard the sad news of the deaths of two musical figures.  There was Delores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, who was 46, and then Edwin Hawkins, famous for “Oh, Happy Day.”  He was 74.  I also heard about the Take One Video in Pleasant Hill going out of business.  The owner said that his best year was 2005, but the end of the article said that he should have closed the place in 2000.  That didn’t make sense to me.  Later, I would hear the news about David Turpin and Louise Turpin, the couple in Perris, California who kept their 13 children prisoners in their house.  I was glad that it didn’t rain very much overnight.  I headed to the office and hoped I could get my computer to work better.  I watched the movie “Disappearance” with Harry Hamlin and Susan Dey.  The years that these stars worked together on the L.A. Law television series must have helped in the filming.  Dey seemed pretty comfortable in her role.  The family had a scene in a diner, but she didn’t eat the food, however.  The family drives out to a town in the middle of the Nevada desert, which is something I would not do.   You go out there, and the situation is so precarious, as the vehicle and the cell phone are your only connections with the rest of the world.  The movie apparently was filmed in Australia rather than Nevada, and it moves along a bit slowly and is predictable.  The characters aren’t completely stupid, but they do contradict themselves.  Dey tells everyone to stick together, and yet she goes off alone to use the toilet.  One of the kids throws down a rope for her to climb and for no good reason goes down the rope, only to have to immediately go back up again.  Hamlin and one of the kids try to walk 20 miles across the blazing hot desert to get help.  The story has elements of The Twilight Zone, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and a hint of Poltergeist.  We don’t see any of the mutants or zombies or creatures that are out there, but I suspected that it was because of a low budget.  I didn’t see why Hamlin allowed one of the boys to go ahead of him and out of sight because it was obvious that something was going to happen.  In any of these movies, the moment on character is out of sight is the moment something horrible happens.  A fair amount of suspense does build, although at one point, the twists in the plot seemed almost comical.  Also, everyone knows that you can’t trust a small-town sheriff.  You should also keep your eyes on the road.  The real lesson seemed to be that you should heed the warnings when the locals tell you not to do something.  Susan Dey was nearly fifty when this movie was made.  Her daughter in real life was older than either of her kids in the film, although she was playing a stepmother.  I would not call this brilliant filmmaking, but it was rather fun to watch.  It was one of the last appearances from Susan Dey.  One of Harry Hamlin’s best roles was in “Movie Movie,” but he was also in “Clash of the Titans.”  He had a son with Ursula Andress in 1980.  I saw him not too long ago in “The Meddler.”  Some of the people who died on January 17 include T.H. White (1964). Betty Smith (1972), Virginia Mayo (2005), Art Buchwald (2007), Bobby Fischer (2008), Erich Segal (2010), and Don Kirshner (2011).  Today is a birthday for Zooey Deschanel (38), Jim Carrey (56), Steve Harvey (61), James Earl Jones (87), and Betty White (96).

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