I recently learned that outdoor movie screens are an increasingly popular option for home movie viewing. You can start with a do-it-yourself project of a blackout cloth and some PVC pipe for about $100 (projector, speakers, other stuff not included). You can buy complete working system with 8-foot screen for $1,700 on Amazon, or you can rent a 40-foot screen for one night for $2,000, or you could do a whole lot in between.
Ok, my maleness finds it hard to deny the pull of a forty-foot movie screen in my backyard. Ha ha ha ha! Awesome! However, I’m not sure how well this would work for a 24-hour movie marathon. Here’s what I’m thinking:
- It sounds as if movies during the daylight are a no-go. So, for a 24-hour movie marathon, you would have to change locations / venues at least twice during the marathon (sundown / sunup)
- You are at the mercy of the weather. The day of your big event may be rainy, or windy, or otherwise uncomfortable. And for people in cold-weather climates (such as myself) we have a pretty narrow window non-snowy, non-cold and wet days to start with.
- You are at the mercy of the neighbors. I’m not sure every neighbor who could possibly hear even a whisper of The Big Lewbowski at 4:00 AM would be happy with this setup.
- The price, of course. Depending on what equipment you have, and what you rent or buy, this could send the price of your movie marathon anywhere from 2x-10x what you would normally spend.
- The rental company prices typically seem to apply to something like two to five hours a rental. Doubling the price for just half the marathon doesn’t sound too great.
Still, this would undoubtedly be the coolest thing ever if you could pull it off. I wish you good luck, and let me know how it goes!
For additional advice on setting up your own backyard theater:
- General set-up advice
- Backyard Theater Forums – for enthusiasts
Congratulations! You are going to a movie marathon! What do you bring? What will help you survive the experience? Whether the movie marathon is in a home or in a theater, you are at the mercy of the hosts’ facilities and amenities. Before you attend, you need to consider your health, personal hygiene, and social relationships. To help you with this pressing issue, my guide to the ultimate movie marathon survival kit is below.
A bag – The “kit” part of the survival kit.
- If you are a dude, and you wish to keep your man card, I recommend a backpack. They’re hands-free, they fit in the theater aisle, they are unobtrusive, and you’ll look like a hipster. Except for me. As a software engineer, I always look like a software engineer. At least my backpacks are have a lot of compartments and are well-organized.
- If you are a lady, you have an infinite variety of purses, clutches, overnight bags, satchels, totes, shoulder bags, body bags, duffels, hobos, bucket bags, and wallets to choose from. I would not presume to issue you a recommendation on this subject.
- No matter which gender you are, your bag of choice needs to be big enough to fit both your survival kit supplies and have some space left over to store swag from the movie marathon. The movie marathon event might have raffles, free giveaways, T-shirts, etc. You can’t afford to be carrying that stuff around by hand when you have a refillable tub o’ popcorn and bottomless soda cup to manage!
Sweatshirt – The temperature may vary greatly at your venue. If you are attending a movie marathon in the middle of winter in a drafty apartment with 20 people crammed in the living room – hot and cold can probably be measured in feet. The same is true for a July marathon held in the depths of a movie theater with air conditioning kept to around 42 degrees Fahrenheit. A sweatshirt allows you to quickly adapt to one climate or another via its patented “on/off” feature.
- Disposable Toothbrush – Unless you are a regular attendee of ComicCon, you probably brush your teeth at least twice in 24 hours. A 24-hour movie marathon should be no different! Thankfully, modern science has produced the ultimate movie marathon toothbrush technology – one-use, disposable toothbrushes with toothpaste pre-applied – no water required! This has to be one of the greatest inventions of the twenty-first (or maybe it was the twentieth) century!
- Deodorant – The same as your teeth – you probably apply this at least once a day – why would you apply it any less during your movie marathon? Your natural musk is less of a pheromone than you might think.
- Change of clothes – Mmmm….nothing like stewing in the same underwear for 24 straight hours without a shower. On second thought, that’s probably an experience you can afford to avoid. A change of underwear, undershirt, and socks should get you 80% of the way there. For extra credit, bring a full change of clothes: your bleary-eyed co-marathoners might think you are a new visitor!
- Moist Towelettes – Showers are a no-go at movie marathons, but what do you do when oil starts cascading out of your pores after eating one too many sausage pizzas? Enter the moist towelette. All of the thrill and cleansing action of a sponge bath, but in a little disposable packet. Mix in some instant hand sanitizers and you will sparkle so much someone might mistake you for a sexy vampire.
- Gum or Mints – A breath freshener comes in handy when you are socializing between movies. But which should you choose? Gum or some variety of mints? It’s a tough choice. One that should not be taken lightly. For a full list of pros and cons to the great “gum vs. mints” debate, visit this site. Alternatively, just pick whichever you like. I vote gum, since the chewing action can help clean your teeth and keep dry mouth away.
- Antacids – 24 hours of eating greasy, salty, starchy foods, combined with dumping liter upon liter of acid cola into your gut. I don’t really see any downside! However, just in case, you might want to bring some antacids in case your tummy is the first casualty in the war against the big screen.
- Pain Relief – Sitting motionless and keeping your eyes trained on moving pictures on a screen, while pounding caffeinated beverages may sound like a dream come true, but oddly, our bodies weren’t really designed for this sort of activity. Headaches, backaches, leg cramps, and eye strain could all be in your future. Don’t be miserable! Flip a coin and pack a few pills of either Tylenol or Ibuprofen just in case you need them.
- Meds holder – If the miracle of modern pharmaceuticals is keeping you alive – you probably don’t want to forget them before the marathon. Yet your brain will likely still be in “I’m going to see a movie” mode, not “I’m going to be away for 24 hours” mode. Don’t forget! Load up your meds in a convenient travel case and keep yourself ambulance-free for another day!
- Contact lens relief – You wear contacts? Imagine yourself 12 hours into the marathon. Your eyes start to get dry, tired and irritated. What will you do? What will you DO? Taking your contacts out and missing a single frame of film is not an option!! Well, if you plan ahead, this doomsday scenario can be avoided. You could pack some Visine or an extra pair of glasses, or you skip the contacts entirely in favor of glasses. You make the call!
- 5-hour energy – The nuclear option of the movie marathon. I’d stay away from energy drinks unless you are really desperate. Getting the jitters in hour 1 and crashing in 5.5 hours is a tough road. But – if you’ve vowed to say awake for the entire movie marathon, it is 4:00 AM and your head is nodding – sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
- Small pillow / neck pillow – As a software engineer, my job is to sit motionless for long periods of time. As such, movie theater chairs, metal folding chairs, or whatever don’t really bother me much. But others say that a little pillow or neck pillow can go a long way to propping up your back or neck for extended periods of time.
- [Optional] Surrender gear – In my opinion, you shouldn’t go into a movie marathon planning to fail. If you need help staying awake, check out my article on how to stay awake during a movie marathon. But, if staying awake all night just isn’t your thing, then you should plan ahead with a blanket, earplugs, and eye mask.
- Smart phone – Between movies, you have to text, tweet, Facebook, blog, YouTube, and Vine your experience. Plus, you can’t forget to check the weather, time, other Facebook posts, blogs, texts, and tweets. What would you do without all of this communication? Verbally talk to people also attending the marathon? Yuck! No thanks!
- Smart phone charger – So – with all that texting and whatnot, how long do you think your battery will hold out? Twelve hours? Sixteen hours? If you want to keep that mobile device lit up, you need to bring along a charger. Even movie theaters have outlets scattered about in the lobbies and other areas. Take advantage of them!
- Notepad and pen – During the movies, if you would like to record your thoughts, feelings, or hallucinations, the best way to do it is with a good old-fashioned pen and notepad. Well, at least it is the best way to avoid being tarred and feathered by other people trying to watch the movies.
- Movie schedule – Keep a copy of the movie schedule handy, especially if you are hopping from theater to theater. Even if you are at a home-based marathon, having the movie schedule is like seeing mile markers in a real marathon (“just one more movie and I’m halfway! I can do this!”).
For additional perspectives, information, and ideas, visit:
As the parent of two young kids, owner of a house, worker of a full time job, and husband of a worker of a full time job – I don’t see a lot of movies in the theater. I’m thinking about doing something a little different this year and making the theme “The Best Movies We Missed from 2012”.
There are a few opinions on the Internet on which movies these are (shocking, no?). Me, I’m thinking this list:
Any other good ideas?
(Yes – I did see “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Hobbit” in theaters)