AMC Best Picture Marathon

“My Oscar obsession reached a new peak this year. Besides the traditional 2 day marathons of the year’s best picture nominees, this year AMC theaters offered 24 hour marathons by demand. Right at the wire, Boston reached the minimum signups, making Assembly Row one of 8 theaters offering it. Sure, I’d seen all these movies before, but this is a really good year. Besides, 24 hours locked in a movie theater? That sounds kinda fun to me.

Okay, so maybe the marathon was actually more like 20 hours than 24, but I did spend a full 24 away from my cozy bed. Here’s how the day went. BTW, I’m kinda OCD about multiples of five. You’ll understand what I mean shortly. Oh and I’m writing this while watching the Oscars.

6:50 – Wake up, ten min before my alarm. My normal weekend wake up time has shifted earlier since I’m usually up at 6:00 or 6:30 during the week. I’m not even fighting it any more.

7:10 – Leggo my eggo.

7:15 – Walk the block and a half to my beloved yoga studio. This may be the most walking I do in the day.

7:30 – Yoga class. Getting all nice and stretchy before I go and sit on my butt for 20 hours. I’m starting to have second thoughts about this whole marathon thing. It’s either the best or the worst idea ever.

8:25 – Savasana. Corpse pose. Enjoying some last few deep peaceful breaths before my day gets crazy.

8:45 – Quick shower. I can’t be stinking up the theater.

9:00 – I’d been previously torn between wearing pajama pants or real pants. Compromised with yoga pants

9:05 – Cereal and a tv dinner.

9:10 – Decide the yoga pants might still be pushing it, especially if there’s a chance of grabbing a bite at a nearby restaurant. Pull on some strange knit pants that feel like pajamas but look more socially acceptable, as long as I ignore the elastic ankles.

9:15 – Figure I won’t be dealing with the snow, so I can put on a real pair of Chucks for the first time in weeks

9:20 – Pull up Uber on my phone and try to signal my ride.

9:23 – Uber isn’t finding any cars. Google Maps tells me taking the T will take 45 min, assuming it’s running well. Panic starts. I need to get to the theater early. It’s one thing to be stuck with bad seats for one movie, but I don’t even wanna think about being stuck with bad seats for 8 movies….

9:25 – Use Uber to find me a taxi. It’ll cost more, but I’ll get there on time.

9:40 – Taxi driver takes a couple wrong turns and gets lost. Heartbeat quickens.

9:50 – Finally arrive at the theater. Run inside. Eavesdrop on the employees telling other attendees what the seating deal is. Run into the auditorium. I’ve only been to this theater once before, and the film was in the same room.

9:53 – By some miracle, my favorite row is completely empty. Most attendees have chosen to occupy the front section with the reclining seats. I put my jackets on aisle seats on the front row of the main section, right behind the safety bar/footrest.

9:55 – My movie buddy shows up. Show him our seats. We spend the next five minutes debating how far in to move. Center has a better view, but aisles won’t disturb the potential people who aren’t there. Spoiler alert: we end up having the entire row to ourselves (and the row behind is empty too). We obsesed over nothing, but did end up right in the center afterall.

10:00 – Buddy and I are rushing thru our catch up chatting (we haven’t seen each other in a while). At the same time, I’m frantically posting a FB status to kick things off. Trying to get it all done before the movie starts.

10:05 – Obsessively stare at the schedule on my bowtie lanyard, planning out food breaks and catnaps. Inventory food rations: water bottle, honey bbq cracker chips, 7-11 cheese Danish, 2 packs of peanut butter cracker thingies, 5 granola bars, 1 possible emergency granola bar that lives in my purse, 2-3 fun size Hersheys which I’m only allowed to eat as dessert after a meal.

10:10 – Boyhood starts 10 min late. NBD. Whoever planned this was smart to start the day off with the longest and slowest film. One of two that I am absolutely not allowed to fall asleep thru. Reason this one makes the list is that I first saw it in the summer, so it’s been a while. Also, I don’t really intend to buy the DVD anytime soon, so I should try and pay attention. I actually liked it a bit more this time around, probably because I knew what to expect. The film still lost some of my interest by the time our boy hits high school. He just kinda gets on my nerves, and the vignettes just aren’t as interesting any more. Movie buddy later commented that he thought Ethan Hawke had the best character in the film. I’ve been much said exactly that before, and it still held true this time. I still find the film absolutely beautiful as a work of art, and it was the perfect choice for kickstarting the day.

12:55 – Boyhood ends, and we have the first run thru of what will become routine for the rest of the day. Pick up phone. Check email. Check Facebook notifications. Bathroom run. Fill up water bottle at fountain. Optional snack run (not this time, as I ate the cheese Danish). Check the time on the door, and it’s been updated to show a 1:10 start time instead of 1:05. Good to know.

1:00 – Meet movie buddy at concessions. I hold my hands up alongside my eyes so I don’t see what myriad of options I have available, otherwise I will spend the whole movie anticipating whatever I decided on. Buddy gets nachos. I intend to mooch a few.

1:05 – Refuse to sit down until the film starts. Try to stretch and keep standing as long as I can. Check AMC app on my phone (which I’d only downloaded because they gave me $5 rewards). I have $20 rewards to spend, 10 specifically from the marathon, and 10 awarded for hitting yet another $100 threshold (it does help when my $65 marathon ticket was applied to my account). Decide it will be spent on lunch during the next intermmission.

1:10 – Theory of Everything Starts. Somewhere around the 45 min mark, I doze off for 20 or so. The BluRay is waiting for me at home, and I’ve seen this before, so I let it happen. The film is just as beautiful as I remember it. I study Eddie Redmayne’s performance closely. He starts running up alongside Michael Keaton as my choice for best actor. I really don’t know anymore who I want to win.

3:20 (maybe) – Movie ends. Bathroom. Water. Lunch. Was hoping for a cheeseburger, leaned towards chicken tenders. Instead, I see an offer of nachos or fries with “”the works””. Buddy and I agree to go halfsies on the waffle fries with chili, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. Curiosity leads me to decide on the philly steak sandwich.

3:27 – I notice the desert counter. They have froyo. I begin recalculating my food schedule to accomodate dessert.

3:32 – OMG THESE FRIES ARE AMAZINGGGGGG. I’m in heaven. The cheesesteak, not so much. Oh well, less calories for me if I don’t eat it all, but the fries.

3:40 – Birdman starts. Sort of. Something’s off with the color, and it’s basically strobing.

3:45 – Birdman re-starts. Issue fixed. A lady somewhere behind me didn’t realize that color effect wasn’t part of the movie. True, it’s a weird enough film as it is, wouldn’t be hard to believe. I’d previously pegged it as a nap-able movie. Even though it’s my favorite, I’ve seen it twice, and the BluRay is also waiting for me at home. But once it starts, I’m hooked. I can’t possibly try and nap thru this. I watch Edward Norton’s first scene in a mix of awe at his performance, and sadness that he won’t likely win the statue he so deserves (granted JK Simmons equally deserves it, but we’ll get to him) (Also, as I’m writing this, best supporting actor is being announced and they used the exact clip of Norton in that first scene where I think he best knocks it out of the park). I catch little details I missed the first two times around. I still don’t really know what happens at the end, and I still don’t care. Every few minutes, my focus broke just long enough for me to start thinking about chocolate froyo with rainbow sprinkles.

5:50 – Bathroom. Water. Snacks. Must get the froyo, must get the froyo. Oh hey look they have red velvet cake. Oh now I’m conflicted. I start trying to think when I could fit both in. I was committed to the froyo, so that’s what I’m asking for. While waiting, I look over at the toppings bar and it looks kinda empty. Okay so maybe no sprinkles. I ask for my froyo. And the machine’s down. It doesn’t even take me a second to quickly counter with “”Red velvet cake!””

5:56 – While talking to the cashier who notices our lanyards, we realize we’re not even halfway yet. Oh dear. Cashier cheers us on.

5:57 – Starting to realize that if I didn’t nap during Birdman, it’s gonna be harder to stay awake for Selma, which is at the top of my stay awake list, since I kinda slept thru the middle when I saw it before. I steal a few big gulps of buddy’s coke, hoping the small dose of caffeine will be enough for this usually caffeine free me to stay awake.

6:00 – We start doing the math on the times and realize that as scheduled, there should be an hour break afterwards. I immediately regret the cake. But the schedule’s tracking late, so it’s unclear if the schedule will be adjusted accordingly. We’ll figure it out, but for now I’m enjoying this cake dammit! And oh hey, free posters outside. I grab a couple that I don’t intend to put up, but have people in mind I could give them to. As I write this, I realize I have become my mother.

6:15 – Or somewhere around there. I already forgot how far off we were. Selma starts. Before long, we start getting to scenes that are unfamiliar to me. Oh my God, I missed some very important stuff! I still felt a lot of impact the first time around, but this time I sat there with my hand over my gaping mouth during some really intense and powerful scenes. By the time MLK gave his speech in Montgomery, I had chills. Maybe the theater was cold. I start getting a little sleepy by the third act. Must stay awake. Must stay awake. I realize I’m more sleepy than hungry, and I start fantasizing about napping during the break.

8:25 – Movie lets out. That time I’m sure of. The parade out the door and to various stations begins. We check the door, and the time for American Sniper is saying 9:00. All previous ones had gotten adjusted times posted, so maybe no hour long break? Neither of us feel hungry. We haven’t seen the outside world, but there’s no more light from the windows in the lobby. Facebook tells us there’s snow.

8:35 – I decide to seize the nap! I move all the crap I’ve got on the seat next to me down to the floor, and I raise the armrests on all seats to the right of mine. Using my puffy warm jacket as a pillow, I try to nap, but mostly end up eavesdropping on conversations. I hear someone say something about free coffee for marathon-ers. I contemplate this option. I think there might have been a few min of sleep.

9:05 – People start filing in. What time are we starting at?

9:10 – AMC employee comes in and starts asking trivia questions, giving away prizes for correct answers. Except his first few are super easy and everyone is yelling out answers. Then he asks “”When Emma Stone filmed Birdman, she was in New York on break from filming what movie?”” “”Spiderman!”” half the crowd (mostly the kids in the front section) yells. “”Not quite”” The crowd quickly adjusts to “”The Amazing Spider-Man””. I see him starting to say no, and I put it together quickly first. I yell from my spot further back “”The Amazing Spider-man 2!”” I win an Unbroken dogtag keychain. I think it’s still in my purse. I try feeding my buddy an answer to a later question, not wanting to seem too greedy. He’s oblivious to what I’m doing, and misses out on a Safe Haven BluRay that he would have likely just given his sister. That’s what the guy who knew that when Stephen Hawking typed out “”Daisy Daisy give me your answer do”” he was quoting the song “”Bicycle Built For Two””.

9:20 – American Sniper starts. Between the excitement of trivia (yes, movie trivia gets me very excited, even if most of the questions are stupid simple) and the catnap, I’m feeling energized. I’m ready for this movie and excited to watch it again. I’m so into it, watching with such respect and admiration…And then when Chris Kyle hits his fourth tour, I’m down for the count and doze off until the trumpet music plays thru the start of the end credits. Oops. It’s okay. I still love this movie (I’ll be saying that about most of them, btw) and I know I’ll be getting the BluRay and watching that soon.

11:30 – Movie ends. The door says the next one starts at 11:30. We’ve given up all hope of a schedule. Unsure of what the concession schedule is, I decide to grab my free decaf coffee (not knowing if and how it will affect me) and some chicken sliders with fries. Right as I’m handed my sliders, I hear the other concession guy tell someone they’ll be open until 6 AM. Okay, so I could have waited.

11:50 – Another round of trivia. This time, he’s more strict about hand raising, and I’m less shy about repeat answering. For knowing that Lee Daniels was the original director of Selma I get an Interstellar tee, knowing Meryl Streep has been nominated 19 times got me an Inherent Vice poster, and knowing that Silence of the Lambs was the last film to sweep the big five awards got me a Baymax pin and the awe of most of the auditorium for knowing that off the top of my head so quickly. I resisted the urge to really show off and say that the only others to ever do so were One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and It Happened one night.

12:00 – Shouldn’t the movie have started?

12:05 – Someone goes to ask and comes back saying that they thought they had started it

12:10 – Theater goes dark

12:15 – Lights come back up, then The Imitation Game starts, and the lights go back down. Since I’d seen this one twice (once in Nov and again earlier that week when plans to see Jupiter Ascending were thwarted by a leaky auditorium) I decided that I would nap thru the whole thing. I spent the first few minutes debating whether it was worth clearing off the seat again to stretch out. I compromise my just throwing my jacket over my pile o’things instead of moving them. Luckily, my favorite scenes are early on. I watch Turing’s job interview, and I close my eyes but still hear the lunch confusion. From there, I’m pretty much out, except occassionally roused by the sound of gears on the Turing machine turning. It kinda breaks my heart to miss this one, but I had to sacrifice one if I was gonna get thru the night, and I really wanted to stay awake for Whiplash.

2:00 – Run thru the post movie routine yet again. Take a sip of the now cold coffee, and decide it’ll do. I don’t know if it tastes bad because it’s bad coffee, because I’ve never had decaf, or because I’ve lost the taste for it. Doesn’t matter. I chug like half the cup. I really hope I’m making the right decision (spoiler alert: I think so. No caffeine withdrawal headaches today and I did stay awake thru Whiplash as hoped).

2:16 – Post a very incoherent update on Facebook. I’d posted before at the start and at the halfway point, but felt the need to commemorate Whiplash and coffee. And I know this time is right because FB has timestamps. Science!

2:20 – Movie starts. I’m totally jazzed (pun intended after not originally intending). I think this is the single film I’m most excited to rewatch, and it’s just as intense as it was the first time. At key moments, movie buddy would take loud deep breaths in anticipation. I could only answer “”I know right?! AWESOME!”” so many times. I’d recently heard someone describe it as an action movie, and it makes so much sense. I’m an action junkie, and I’ve never gotten the rush from a shoot ’em up that compares to the one I got here. I’d also heard that it was supposed to be a clear frontrunner for Editing, so I paid really close attention to that. I don’t know much about editing, but I feel like I learned a full courseload from this film. Fast paced, but beautifully timed (Michael Bay, take note if you are going to keep insisting on your music video like cuts). Reaction shots, extreme close ups, quick whiplash-inducing pans, so so good.

3:55 – Whiplash ends. The dwindling audience applauds vigorously. Now think about it. We’ve just sat thru 7 movies. No other movie got applause. It’s now 4 AM. You’d think everyone would be passed out. I’d originally been bummed that this was on the schedule so late, fearing I wouldn’t be awake, but I realized it was perfect. Just the jolt of energy to get us thru the rest of the night. C’mon. Almost there.

3:57 – Thankfully I’d decided that I prolly didn’t need to fill my water because that side of the theater has now been blocked off for cleaning. Crew members cheer us on as the bathroom parade begins for the final time.

4:05 – Here we go. Last one. I’m actually feeling pretty good, but since this is my least favorite of the bunch, I’m totally fine with sleeping thru it. I assume the stretched out position. I actually manage to stay awake for a bit, just long enough to appreciate the charm of the film. I have so much respect for Wes Anderson, for how he creates his own special worlds and stays true to his unique style. I just always find his screenplays fall flat. I’m with it until soon after Gustav H and Zero arrive at Tilda Swinton’s place. Before I nod off, I hear rustling across the row. Buddy has copied my strategy and has stretched out across his side. I chuckle as I drift off to sleep. I wake up during the prison break, and watch until Bill Murray’s obligatory appearance.

5:50 – It’s over! I grab my pile o’stuff, realizing that except for the danish, I didn’t eat any of my snack stash. The pile has grown with all the swag I snagged and/or won. The final bathroom parade goes past the cleaning lady who has just finished mopping up the bathroom that had been slowly degrading throughout the day. I feel bad as I see my Chuck print tracks. There’s a larger parade behind me, so at least I’m not the only one messing it up.

6:00 – Get in buddy’s car and fire up the GPS

6:15 – Home!

6:16 – ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz

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