So the Hollywood Nights 2013 24-hour movie marathon at Celebration Cinema North in Grand Rapids, Michigan is over. Let’s talk about the movies and the movie marathon experience!
Thoughts On The Movies
I enjoyed almost all of the movies I went to see. I think I still prefer the theme of my own movie marathons – “the best movies ever made” (not: “whatever is currently available”), but I still had a great time. Here are my awards for the marathon:
- Most enjoyable movie: Man of Steel
- Worst movie: Identity Thief
- Most novel movie: Before Midnight
- Best Idiotic Guilty Pleasure: The Purge
- Biggest Missed Opportunity: World War Z
And here’s the gory details:
Time: 10:30 AM – 12:26 PM
My take: Ha! The first movie I manage to watch is a chick flick! In this movie, a couple with real life problems have a nice vacation in Greece, which erupts into arguments about feelings and issues. Nothing is resolved, but life and love go on. The end.
The dialog reminds me a bit of a Kevin Smith film – fast and witty. The writing was good – and it better be if the main attraction of the film is people talking!
Makes me think a bit. Glad I went – can’t say I’d recommend it to most people though.
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:31 PM
My take: So. The Purge. In the future, all crime is legal or one day blah blah blah, didn’t really hold my interest.
I was intrigued most by the fact that economic factors contributed the most for the need for the purge, and the purge also largely solved them. The movie noted prominently that unemployment was down to only 1%, that sort of thing.
I suppose purge economics makes some sense – purge supplies, purge weapons, purge security systems for the big day. Then purge insurance, purge repair, and purge cleaning services for afterward (oh, and funeral services). The purge would give the economy a real boost! Somewhat like Christmas – just more stabbings.
One (among many) things that didn’t make sense in this movie is why everyone in the purge is so focused on murder. I think most would be content with some looting, or maybe just downloading some pirated mp3s for the day. Murder sounds like an expensive hassle in comparison.
Also, by the way movie, would anyone really want to kill their home security salesman? Seems like getting an upgrade or calling about billing problems would be more challenging. Just sayin’.
Time: 3:30 PM – 5:28 PM
My take: Fast zombies. I never really liked fast zombies – the movie monsters have to have at least some weakness – otherwise you are just waiting for everyone to die one-by-one.
However, I think fast zombies work for this film. The reason is how brad Pitt discovers how to defeat them. I thought this was pretty clever, and compatible with the rules under which zombies operate. I won’t give the secret away here, since it is the central point of the plot.
As far as the movie goes – it is big Hollywood blockbuster wall-to-wall action. Zero focus on gore and amusingly creative zombie killing (it is pg-13 after all). No highly nuanced dialog here – just the normal “over here!” “Go go go” and “we have to find a way!”. I liked it. I think it brought a new perspective on Zombie movies. I still like slow zombies though.
Note: the resemblance to the book is as follows: there is a zombie apocalypse. That is all.
Time: 6:00 PM – 8:26 PM
My take: Freakin’ awesome spectacle. Totally worth the money to see it in the theater. More collateral damage than a Godzilla film – but it’s okay since the alternative is the extermination of the entire human race.
Great costumes, great fake technology (no lame “everything is a crystal” here), My favorite movie of the bunch. You have my recommendation to see it.
Time: 8:45 PM – 10:58 PM
My take: I’m not sure I liked sad Iron Man, or his suit being in the shop for what seemed like half the movie. But, as the movie beats into our collective heads, Tony Stark is Iron Man, not his suit. …. Except his suit lets him fly and beat up bad guys and stuff.
Fun movie. Still witty. Better than Iron Man 2. Would I see it again? Probably if someone else hasn’t seen it yet. Not so much just to enjoy it again. Casablanca yes, Iron Man 3 not so much. Nothing personal iron man.
Time: 11:25 PM – 1:19 AM
My take: Seth Rogan and crew respond to the end of the world as you would expect Hollywood comedians with no useful survival skills to respond: poorly.
This movie has a good amount of humor – with double points for those who know all the actors who show up in the movie are. I didn’t. I have small kids at home…these movies aren’t exactly at the top of our playlist.
Watcher beware: this is not a movie you would want your mother to know that you watched (let alone enjoyed)!
Time: At this point, it was after business hours, so didn’t record any more times
My take: What a delightful movie. Beautiful scenery, epic battles, and a some explanation behind the events of the original wizard of Oz movie.
It was easy to be cynical and to let the mind wander when watching “the Purge”. But watching this movie was an adventure. Loved it. See it if you can.
My take: Sandy is frustrated because:
A) His identity has been stolen
B) This is apparently the first time anyone in the world has had their identity stolen and people don’t believe him.
C) He executes the stupidest plan ever to rectify the situation and it doesn’t go well.
He meets his identity thief and, beneath the sociopathic, obnoxious, unlikable exterior lies a heart of gold (probably stolen from someone else).
But conflict arises when easily foreseeable problems appear in their moronic plans. Will anybody spontaneously acquire common sense and end the farce? Watch and find out! Or don’t!
My take: Great movie – didn’t have time to write down notes. Sorry!
My take: Zombie meets girl. Zombie doesn’t eat girl for once. Zombie and girl go on a date instead. I have to confess: I lost interest and I cut out a bit early to get home to my family. Not a great endorsement for this movie.
Thoughts on Having a Movie Marathon at a Theater
One major difference between this movie marathon and a home movie marathon is that multiple screens meant many possible viewing schedules (similar to a film festival, I suppose) and more movies available than could possibly be seen (a total of 18, to be precise). Further, the theater wanted us to pre-select our movies to ensure they had enough seats for all showings. So any way you look at it – attendees needed to plan ahead.
A minor obstacle to planning was the full movie schedule wasn’t published until three days before the marathon. That’s just three days to find the optimal path through many different possible viewing paths. When you have two kids and a working spouse, analyzing screening times never seems to be in your top ten list of concerns. Regardless, I hit all of the movies I really wanted to see, so I declare victory.
I had an average of 33 minutes between showings. That worked out about right, since in addition to the normal bathroom breaks between movies, it gave me enough time to socialize. More on that in a bit.
I noticed that a hard-core movie marathoner could easily have scheduled movie showings back-to-back and hardly missed a thing (given that previews occupy 10-15 minutes in front of each movie start). I probably could have crammed in an extra movie if I did that, but I would have missed half the fun of movie marathons – talking to other human beings.
I thought seeing movies in an actual theater was sweet. Movies like “Oz the Great And Powerful” really benefited from being on the big screen – with their big vibrant colors and detailed fantasy worlds. I made no attempt to see 3-D movies (they give me headaches), IMAX movies or DBOX movies (limited screens – didn’t want the hassle of competing for space).
I was surprised by two things:
- With the exception of the first few rows, there really is no bad seat in the house these days. I tried multiple spots and had a fine viewing experience in each. Bonus: even during prime time I had no difficulty getting a seat close to where I wanted, and during matinees you pretty much have the run of the theater.
- I didn’t run into any muscle problems sitting in the same style of chair for so long. Going into the marathon, I figured I’d get a stiff back or a cramp or something – but I got nuthin! Granted, my job as a software engineer makes me an expert in sitting motionless for extended periods of time, so perhaps I had an added advantage.
Thoughts on the Event
Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan put on a great event. They had about five volunteers in and out throughout the day. They were all very friendly and chatty, so I spent most of my “breaktime” talking to one of them.
They had the smart idea to rent out a banquet room built into the theater to serve as a home base to the event. This was more useful than I would have initially thought, since you always knew where you could go to find volunteers and other marathoners in between movies. It was also a logical place to hold all the food!
The volunteers did an excellent job on arranging the food. Catered sandwiches for lunch, hot pasta, salad, and cookie for dinner, midnight snack of Little Caesar’s pizza, plus bottomless buckets of popcorn and pop and free candy to boot. It was pretty much impossible to be hungry at any time during this marathon. I approved!
The volunteers also had about six lots of goodies to raffle off (gift certificates, candy, etc.), which I didn’t win any of.
The only problem is attendance seemed low. I only saw a maximum of 15 people at any given time. I talked to the volunteers about it and they said they typically got 200 people to attend the marathon in Novi, Michigan, and supposedly 50 people were participating in this one. However, this was the first marathon in West Michigan and the one in Novi has been going on for about 13 years (wow!).
So, in conclusion, this was a great event that I hope to see again next year. Let’s work to make it as big as the Novi marathon next year!