Monday, March 30, 2015

24 Hours of Movies: Counting Up!

by Patrick Bromley
The last 24-hour marathon is here!

The theme for this marathon was suggested by Brett Lashuay on Twitter (@greyweirdo) (and Brent Peterson!). Thanks, Brett! (And Brent!)

Well, after a month of planning several different hypothetical 24-hour movie marathons, I'm ending it with the most unconventional lineup yet. By "unconventional" I don't mean that the choices are completely off the wall -- to the contrary, they're actually some of the best-known and most well-respected movies I've programmed into one of these things yet. But anyone who has been reading these columns all month has seen that I fall into a formula when ordering the lineups, and the restrictions put on me by this theme didn't allow for some of my regular tendencies. Because of that, I tried to take some chances and pick movies I haven't seen. Hopefully that doesn't blow up in my face. I'm looking at you, Roy Scheider!

Thanks to everyone who suggested a theme, even if I wasn't able to use it. And thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read these columns this month. Maybe I'll bring it back every once in a while throughout the year. I don't know. It's been a lot of fun. I hope some of you enjoyed it.

Without further ado, let's COUNT TO 12!

10 a.m. - Zero Effect (1998, dir. Jake Kasdan)
I really, really love this movie, which I maintain is one of the most underrated films of the '90s and features the best performance Bill Pullman has ever given. While he's done some good work (especially on TV), writer/director Jake Kasdan has never come close to being as good as he is in his first feature. This is a great mystery, an even better character piece and the introduction to a world I would gladly revisit over and over again (there was an attempt to turn the movie into a TV show, but that never took off; I'll hold out hope for a It's a bit of a slow burn to start, but it's so offbeat and original that it won't matter.

Noon One Million Years B.C. (1966, dir. Don Chaffey)
The first of many movies in the lineup that I've never seen. I'm assuming I don't need to explain why I'm programming this one.

2 p.m. - 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003, dir. John Singleton)
Yes, to many people this is the dumbest entry in an already dumb franchise. That's part of why I have grown to love it. More buddy movie than racing movie, this one has colorful Miami photography, Eva Mendes, the introduction of Roman (Tyrese Gibson) into the F&F canon and the most gleefully dopey dialogue of all six entries I've seen. With Furious 7 just days away from release, it will be fun (and sad) to revisit one of the most Paul Walker-heavy films before having to say farewell to him for good.

4 p.m. - Three Days of the Condor (1975, dir. Sydney Pollack)
Another first time viewing! Sydney Pollack directs Robert Redford in a paranoid political thriller. So it's pretty much the '70s in a single movie. This is one of those titles I've known my whole life but never actually seen, so this will be a fun way to experience for the first time. I hope.

6 p.m. - Four of the Apocalypse (1975, dir. Lucio Fulci)
JB just wrote a piece denouncing this Lucio Fulci western (link above), but I dig it. Maybe it's because I'm so in the bag for Fabio Testi or maybe it's because I like seeing Fulci do something that doesn't involve eyeballs exploding or brains being pulled out of skulls. It has a nasty, violent quality to it even when it's not being nasty or violent, and while I won't disagree with JB's criticisms that the movie is crudely made, it doesn't bother me. Fulci stumbles onto interesting cinema by accident. Plus, we're not going to get a Fulci in later so at least he's making an appearance somewhere in the lineup.

8 p.m. - Five Fingers of Death (1972, dir. Chang-hwa Chung)
Never seen it! Somehow I've managed to program a bunch of these 24-hour marathons and haven't yet included a single kung fu film. That ends now! Mark Ahn will be happy. This comes right in the middle of an exploitation-heavy stretch -- a spaghetti western before it and '80s horror right after it. Would I prefer that it come overnight? Of course, but I'm a slave to where the numbers fall. A slave I say!

10 p.m. - DeepStar Six (1989, dir. Sean S. Cunningham)
The Deep Impact to the Armageddon that was Leviathan, this lesser-known (and less successful) underwater Alien rip-off boasts a less impressive cast (apologies to Greg Evigan) and a way less cool monster. It's still fun in that trashy '80s monster movie way. While it wouldn't work at noon, it's perfect for 10 p.m.

Midnight - The Seven-Ups (1973, dir. Philip D'Antoni)
Here's another movie I've never seen, but seeing as it's a '70s cop movie and stars Roy Scheider, I'm confident it will be great. This overnight stretch is completely different from any of the past marathons, again because of what movies are possible according to the theme. Despite being programmed at such a late hour, I'm not worried about falling asleep for this one.

2 a.m. - 8 1/2 (1963, dir. Frederico Fellini)
So the 2 a.m. slot traditionally goes to Italian horror. I couldn't find one with an 8 in the title, so I'm opting to go with a different Italian movie. I suspect this would be a disaster at 2 a.m. (and not just because of the subtitles), but I'm trying to change things up for this final marathon. I've never seen this one either. I KNOW.

4 a.m. - The Nines (2007, dir. John August)
Sure, I could have programmed Argento's Cat o' Nine Tails here to make up for missing the 2 a.m. slot, but a) it's too late for that and b) then I couldn't watch The Nines, a movie I really, really like. Ryan Reynolds plays three different but tightly related characters in three different but tightly related stories that go to fascinating places. Melissa McCarthy is great in a dramatic role, too. More people need to see this one, which starts off funny and interesting and eventually turns mind blowing. It's not the usual heavy genre fare, but it's trippy enough to work overnight.

6 a.m. - 10 Things I Hate About You (1999, dir. John Unger)
I'm on record as being a big fan of this movie, which I think is one of the best of the teen movie renaissance that took place in the late '90s and early 2000s. It's quirky and funny and features a couple of great performances from the young leads; as I've said before, this one more than any other movie makes me sad about the tragic loss of Heath Ledger. It will make a good early morning pick me up and send us into the home stretch full of renewed energy.

8 a.m. - Ocean's Eleven (2001, dir. Steven Soderbergh)
What a goddamn delight this movie is. The cast is amazing and Steven Soderbergh's direction effortlessly cool. Yes, it's a bit self-satisfied (this would become a bigger issue in the sequels), but it's so fun and entertaining that it's impossible for me to notice. This is the kind of movie that always sounds great on paper and then sucks in execution, so credit to everyone involved for making a movie that lives up to -- dare I say exceeds -- its own promise.

10 a.m. - 12 Monkeys (1995, dir. Terry Gilliam)
And we wrap it all up with Terry Gilliam's crazy dystopian sci-fi brain melter, because after a month of 24-hour marathons we, too, won't know what year we're in, what's real and what's not and whether or not Brad Pitt is there just to fuck with us.

Thanks, everyone! Let's get some sleep.


  1. I saw Three Days of the Condor once in a film class that highlighted Sydney Pollack and a few other directors of the period. As I recall, it's good and worth your time.

    I hope to see more of these columns in the future! They're fun and offer great marathon ideas. Maybe you could do it once a month as opposed to once a week. Or anytime you can get around to it is fine, too. The point is, I like them. :)

  2. I don't know what it is about Ocean's Eleven, but that movie is undeniably fun. There's something in the way it's paced that never gets boring, even though you pretty much have no idea what's going on until the finale. It's weird how they give you so much information about the planning and make you feel really smart for keeping up, but then when it all starts going down you realize that you actually know nothing about their plan. Every development is a surprise that makes you say, "Oh, now I get it!"

  3. I'll tell you now, Seven Ups is not great, it is merely good. A competently made movie, with some decent action, but it's doesn't really stand out. There is a great car chase in the middle, but you don't like car chases, so that won't help. It'll be fun though, you'll like it. Just don't get your hopes to high.

    Anyway, I'm glad you liked my suggestion, it looks like you're going to have fun.

  4. I suggested the same thing but, you know, whatever. I'm just gonna go upstairs and cry into my pillow for a couple of hours. I'll be okay. My mom says I'm the smartest boy in the whole world. So I got that going for me...

  5. I'd guess I'll continue to revisit Zero Effect every few years for as long as I'm a movie watcher. So much fun.

  6. Everything you said about Zero Effect (especially it being Bill Pullman's finest hour) is what I have spent years telling anyone who would listen, and likely those who wouldn't, often wild-eyed as I did so.

    That movie really is a minor masterpiece; I would love to see Kasdan REALLY deliver on the promise of that film.

  7. Let's be real, 5 and 6 should have been Fast Five and Furious Six.
    Probably (definitely) the best set of titles ever.

  8. I love pushing The Nines at people; it's amazing how many are completely unaware that there's a very good movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Melissa McCarthy.