Film, Theatre

A Marathon? Sure, I’ll do it.

Every year I do a marathon with a group of friends. We all prepare individually trusting that the other one’s will just be there and be ready. It’ll take endurance, concentration, water, coffee, no doz, deodorant, a blanket maybe a pillow or a bean bag for the lucky few. It starts at 2pm on a Saturday and I won’t be home till 3 or 4pm Sunday.

The 24 hour movie marathon is not for your fair weather cinema goer who struggles through a 3 hour film or is spooked by a triple feature. If you have taste and no tolerance outside of your taste it’s not for you.

I was invited a few years ago by a friend. I’d never heard of it so I thought I’d give it a go.  It started with an old 50’s film and then Zombieland (Well before the public release) I saw 4 other new releases that year as well as a lot of cult films. The closing film was Commando. This list is severely truncated to only the recognisable names.

Every year since I’ve gone back. Hauling out a hiking backpack I use just once a year. Stuffing it carefully with a blanket, food (both sugary & actual food). My stamina has gotten better and last year I managed to stay awake for the vast majority of it. I faded during the second to last film but was fine for the last film.

This is 12-15 films back to back to 5 min break to back to dinner break to back to back to 5 mins then midnight film,midnight film to back to back to back (sleep is for the weak) to OMG it’s breakfast, to back to back 5 mins break to back to back to can we squeeze one more in? Sure! to back and home.

You will not see a Marvel or DC logo grace the screen, you won’t know what’s coming at any time, you may know of one film before hand. You will have some expectations that won’t be close to what you’ll see if you’ve never been before.

There is a mixture of new features, old features, classic (not necessarily Citizen Cane or Hitchcock). There might be 4 or 5 mainstream films. Beyond that is so far beyond that I can’t even tell you for many reasons. Mostly it’s against the rules.

The rules. No phones or talking during the films. Doesn’t matter how bad you think the film is, how insightful your observation, how funny you are, noise pollution, light pollution, it won’t be tolerated. I once saw someone yelled out of the theatre for bag rustling at 3am. Don’t talk about what you’ve seen. Really try to control your stink.

This is where hardcore film people go. I have friends whom I only see here.  It’s a bizarre community where some people wear pajamas for 24 hours and others wuss out and drive home for a couple of hours to sleep or shower (wimps, unless your actually working the event then go for your life.). The most overwhelming sense of this community, for me, came a couple of years ago.

My friend had passed away about a month before the event and there was a sombre mood among my friends. I missed her badly. The marathon is broken up by smaller items and games between films. There is also a section honouring people in film who have passed away. Yes like the academy awards but it features people they may have missed. Right at the end they put up a photo of my friend. It was a nice touch.

It’s a good experience and if you’re curious you should go and at least try to stay for the midnight film.


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