I remember “Stephen King Films” as hokey horror shows like Pet Cemetery or the TV mini-series The Langoliers. But then I found out he wrote The Shawshank Redemption – the film consistently rated as #1 in the IMDB Top 250. While his work definitely tilts towards the thrilling, horrifying, and the supernatural, he has a dramatic range that isn’t immediately clear if you are only familiar with, say, Creepshow.
Why not celebrate his best movie adaptations in a 24-hour Stephen King Movie Marathon? The “best of stephen king” movie lists are pretty consistent on which are the best adaptations out there. You can see the best eleven in 24 hours!
My take: Might as well start with the best! The epic story of wrongful imprisonment, despair, clawing back from the brink, retribution, and finally (may I say it?) redemption. Features Morgan Freeman, the undisputed king of voiceovers, as the narrator.
My take: Settle in. At over three hours, this one will take a while. But where else but in a movie marathon will you find the time to watch the famous, critically acclaimed other Stephen King prison drama – the one with psychic powers?
My take: The horror movie like no other horror movie. So “out there”, it was nominated for two Razzie awards, but now is considered one of the best horror films ever. Features Jack Nicholson as a crazy person.
My take: At the midway point of the movie marathon, take a break from endless epicness, bloodsoaked horror, and madness. Instead, go to pure 1980s action with Arnold Schwarzenegger in spandex spouting 80s action one-liners. It’s showtime!
My take: Schoolteacher is granted the power to see visions of the future just by touching someone. This turns out to be a handy skill when trying to avert future deaths and World War 3. I’d advise caution though: time travel and future visions may not be as simple as they seem (see: Hitler Time Travel Exemption, Godwin’s Law of Time Travel)
My take: Annie Wilkes is the ultimate fangirl and her favorite author basically just drops right into her lap. What would every fangirl do? Hold him prisoner and make him write fanfiction of course! So true to real life it’s chilling.
Foreign-language movies are hard. There is the obvious language barrier, of course, but accessibility is a challenge too. Why go seek out some obscure movie from another country that most people have never heard of, when Hollywood manufactures a new blockbuster every couple of months and pipes it directly into every movie theater in the nation?
I think we all know the answer. There is a real sense of adventure in being immersed in a new culture, and introduced to new sights, sounds, and ways of thinking. And you can do it all without buying an expensive plane ticket! I say: if you haven’t had the time to explore world cinema before, do it all at once with an international movie marathon!
IMDB Summary: A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.
My take: This three-hour epic from Japan was an early discovery in my movie marathoning career. What really struck me was the authenticity of the story. These aren’t hollywood ninjas jumping all around the screen. One of my most memorable moments from this movie is a duel between a samurai and a bandit. The samurai is perfectly still, while the bandit fidgets and twitches nervously. The bandit loudly and awkwardly lunges at the samurai, who kills him with a single stroke. Now that’s badass.
It’s also fascinating to compare this movie with the classic american westerns. Some, like The Magnificent Seven, are literal copies of Kurosawa’s classics. I would watch this movie again!
IMDB Summary: Amelie is an innocent and naïve girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.
My take: If you find the world of “French cinema” intimidating, then try Amelie. This movie is quirky, but it feels so relatable. Amelie is a lonely, quiet girl who learns that she can make people happy by finding what they want the most. So she sets off to do so in some pretty fantastic ways. Eventually, she might just find happiness herself. That might sound like a cliched plot – but this movie is so funny, happy and goofy – it still has a place in my top shelf of all-time movie favorites. If you want to laugh and feel good, you should check out this movie.
IMDB Summary: Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl.
My take: A Swedish vampire love story, but oh – so not sparkly. This movie is all about a bullied boy, and a strange little girl, who turns out to be a vampire. Together, they find a way to overcome those darn bullies…by viciously massacring them – along with a good number of people throughout town. This movie will warm your heart, right after ripping it out.
IMDB Summary: Inspired by true events, a 16th century prince falls in love with a court dancer and battles with his emperor father.
My take: The world of Indian films is vast, and increases in size every day. I have to admit it is hard to know where to start. Mughal-e-Azam seems like a good start. It took 16 years to complete. It was the most expensive Indian film ever made. It was shot three times in three different languages. It is three and a half hours long. In other words – this is an epic. Like all good epics, it is set in classical times, and features kings, princes, forbidden love, sword flighting – and a good dose of Indian musical numbers.
IMDB Summary: A precocious and outspoken Iranian girl grows up during the Islamic Revolution.
My take: This Iranian animated film caught my eye when I first read Roger Ebert’s four-star review. It is a coming-of-age story of a girl in Iran during the Iranian revolution. “Finding yourself” may seem difficult to American teenagers, but what about those who are growing up in a country that is changing in fundamental, and hostile, ways? What do you do with that? Where do you fit in?
Sidenote: This movie is technically another French film….made by a French-speaking Iranian and set in Iran, Germany, and France. Does this count as an “Iranian” film? I hope you can give me a pass on this one.
IMDB Summary: Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically skilled, adolescent nobleman’s daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life.
My take: This Chinese movie is my personal favorite Kung Fu movie. It has everything. Incredible fight scenes. Multiple love stories. Drama. Character growth. Loss. Near-magical secret martial arts fighting techniques. Philosophy, and an ending to make you think. I was lucky enough to see it in theaters when it was released in the U.S. After seeing it the first time, I remember thinking: “I’m going to need to see this three more times.” And so I did see it four times in the movie theater alone.
IMDB Summary: In post-war Italy, a working-class man’s bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it.
My take: This Italian film was Sight and Sound Magazine’s greatest movie of all time in 1952. Since then, it has dropped to 33rd best film of all time. It tells a simple story. A man needs his bicycle to get work. His bicycle is stolen. He searches for it. Realistic human drama ensues. While I have not seen this film yet, something about it seems to connect with those that do. We feel for this man who wants to provide for his family, but life in poverty keeps him in poverty. sometimes we just have to watch movies like this to feel empathy for our fellow humans.
IMDB Summary: After a botched money delivery, Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks.
My take: This German movie is so….German. Lola has to save her dopey boyfriend from sheer death by coming up with 100,000 Deutshmarks in 20 minutes. How could she possibly do this? You’ll find out – three times! This film delightfully plays with time and how slight variations in the choices you make every day can dramatically change the outcome. Deep? Yes! Full of heart-pounding techno music set to Lola sprinting around town? Yes! At 80 minutes, this movie is short, sweet, and oh so much fun.
So now you know all about the movies – how do they fit into a 24-hour movie marathon schedule? Lucky for you, I have pre-packaged the 24-hour international movie marathon schedule for you below. Think you are up to the task?
A new year means a new annual movie marathon! Here is what my wife and I selected for our annual friends and family movie marathon. It may look like there is no method to the madness, but we are following our usual theme of movies neither of us has seen before, but have always wanted to see, or have heard that we should see.
A detailed schedule is below, along with detailed movie information. If you are one of the usual suspects that are invited to this event, I hope the movie list inspires you to come! If you are a visitor to this website, I hope this list inspires you to hold your own movie marathon!
Comedy | Romance – Rotten Tomatoes score: 98% Plot:A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome. Why watch?Bringing up Baby was a hilarious classic comedy, and well-received at our last movie marathon. We’re going to try another classic comedy with a fantastic leading couple: Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.
Drama | Sport – Rotten Tomatoes score: 93% Plot:Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer gets a supremely rare chance to fight the heavy-weight champion, Apollo Creed, in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect. Why watch? Yep. We’ve never seen it. Honest. File this one under “required pop culture viewing”.
Animation | Adventure | Comedy – Rotten Tomatoes score: 99% Plot:When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he bargained for. A mix up with the Farmer, a caravan and a very steep hill lead them all to the Big City and it’s up to Shaun and the flock to return everyone safely to the green grass of home. Why watch? Who doesn’t love Wallace and Gromit? Shaun the Sheep is a Wallace and Gromit spin-off and has a can’t-miss Rotten Tomatoes score of 99%. Here’s hoping the kid-friendly zone opens up with a bang!
Adventure | Family | Fantasy – Rotten Tomatoes score: 72% Plot:On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and so restore order to his world. Why watch? We missed this key piece of 80s pop culture too. We hear it is a tad dark, so we are playing it right after the kid-friendly zone for any adventurous kids that want to stay up late.
Action | Drama | Fantasy – Rotten Tomatoes score: 82% Plot:A man brutally murdered comes back to life as an undead avenger of his and his fiancée’s murder. Why watch? The Crow was highly regarded by some of the comic book and fantasy nerds I went to college with, and yet I’ve never seen it. Time to fix that!
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance – Rotten Tomatoes score: 97% Plot:A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them? Why watch? An Alfred Hitchcock movie is required at every movie marathon. We’ve already seen his most well-known films. Notorious is a less well-known film, but has a good reputation, and stars Ingrid Bergman (the leading lady from Casablanca)!
Action | Adventure | Drama – Rotten Tomatoes score: 100% Plot:Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains Why watch? If you haven’t caught on already, we’re suckers for certain actors, directors, and genres in our movie marathon. After seeing Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart is one of our weaknesses. This is the latest in a line of Bogart films we’ve seen. I believe this one has a twist, in that Bogart is not the leading “good guy”.
Comedy | Drama | Musical – Rotten Tomatoes score: 88% Plot:In 1850 Oregon, when a backwoodsman brings a wife home to his farm, his six brothers decide that they want to get married too. Why watch? Because sometimes you have a have an exuberant musical in your life. That’s why.
Animation | Comedy | Family – Rotten Tomatoes score: 78% Plot:A behind-the-scenes look at the annual Penguin World Surfing Championship, and its newest participant, up-and-comer Cody Maverick. Why watch?Leonard Maltin identified Surf’s Up as a great overlooked children’s movie in his Maltin on Movies podcast. I think Happy Feet came out around the same time and audience only have so much capacity for talking penguins.
We all love catastrophic failures, and Hollywood flops can single-handedly lose hundreds of millions of dollars, bankrupt entire studios, and ruin prestigious careers. A movie marathon of flops would be like watching a train transporting a load of fireworks smashing into an orphanage located on an active volcano during a Sharknado. You know you couldn’t look away.
However, just because a movie wasn’t a commercial success doesn’t mean it isn’t good. In fact, the most spectacular flops have great production values simply based on the sheer amount of money spent on them. I think a movie marathon of flops has some real untapped potential. It is going to be an entertaining spectacle one way or another.
However, to put together a decent flop movie marathon schedule, the key thing we need to know is: how much money was lost in bringing this cinematic experience to you? The answer is harder to figure out than you might think. Hollywood has strange and secretive accounting practices, which are only amplified when they just lost a ton of money.
So, knowing that the best we can do is form an educated guess, I found some decent flop lists (with financial figures) on Wikipedia, CNBC, the the-numbers.com. Each list disagreed with the other in terms of the movies on the list, and how much money was lost, and one of them wasn’t adjusted for inflation. So, what I did was take an average based on the numbers from each list (when available), and adjusted for inflation as needed. That sounds a lot like science, in that math is involved.
And so, I came up with a list (dollar amounts are in 2014 dollars).
Now, this is a fine list, but we have a 24-hour movie marathon format to satisfy. So, to get the most flop in the least amount of time, we’d want to schedule the biggest losers according to how much money they lost per minute of movie. That results in the following list.
Top 20 Movie Flops, Based on Dollars Lost Per Minute
This movie marathon cost the studios an astounding $1,472,716,233 (that’s almost $1.5 BILLION dollars – adjusted for inflation) of their own money. These movies lost an average of $1,118,384 per minute of runtime. Awesome!
So hey – the next time you complain about movie ticket prices – remember – sometimes the studios take one for the team too.
Sure – plot, character development, and beautiful cinematography are important factors for movies, but what about sheer on-screen body count? In fact, I think the real question we should be asking ourselves is: what is the highest body count movie marathon possible?Of course there are tools available on the internet to assist us with answering this question (you doubted it for a second?). I was first alerted to this fact by Randal Olson’s blog, which has a handy infographic of the deadliest films of all time – as measured by on-screen deaths.
After some investigative work (i.e. I read the article), I discovered Randal’s source was moviebodycounts.com. This site does all the exhaustive work of cataloging on-screen deaths in popular movies – so you don’t have to! Their counting methodology is described in the FAQ. Since they have a website, clearly they are the most scientific source on the subject of on-screen movie deaths.
That’s 4,568 on-screen deaths spread across nine movies over 24.5 hours. That’s not bad, but the schedule is a little over the 24-hour time limit and, well, the schedule includes Titanic. Is that really the best that you can do?
Since time in any movie marathon is limited (to, you know, 24 hours), I thought that a better way at looking at the problem is the efficiency of the movies – as measured in average bodies per minute. When you look at things that way, you get a schedule like this.
This schedule has 4,739 on-screen deaths spread across ten movies over 23.5 hours. That’s 171 more kills, one extra movie, accomplished in one less hour, with exactly one less Titanic movie! Now we’re talking! Also, this schedule delivers an impressive average of 2.5 bodies per minute. This will dull your sense of empathy for your fellow man in no time!
What do you think? Can you improve on this schedule? Or is it truly the pinnacle of cinematic carnage?