Monday, March 2, 2015

Planning the Perfect Movie Marathon Part II

by Patrick Bromley
This time, I need your help.

It's March now. I'll be celebrating another birthday at the end of the month, and for the last seven or eight years have programmed my own movie marathon to coincide with a day I otherwise don't care for. Last year I wrote a piece about the process and wound up programming my own pretend superhero movie marathon just for fun. Now I'm ready to try again.

Throughout the month of March, I'll be writing a series of columns in which I program a bunch of theoretical 24-hour marathons just for fun. Here's where you come in: I would love ideas and suggestions for themes for the marathons, and then I'll do my best to shape a marathon that I would like to sit through around those ideas.

You can leave ideas in the comments below, email them to fthismoviepodcast(at) or on Twitter at @fthismovie.

I'll do my best to do one of these a week for the month, so only the best ideas will get picked. Don't be the person who suggests something so narrow and absurd just to be difficult.

Who knows? I might get so excited about the prospect of one of these marathons that I'll be inspired to actually do it around my birthday. Or maybe you will! It's like I always say: at F This Movie!, anything that's worth doing is worth overdoing.


  1. A friend of mine told me about a pretty intriguing marathon format they used to roll out in college. Apparently the architect of this marathon was unhealthily obsessed with the ALIEN franchise. Since he'd seen those movies countless times (we are talking the first four installments, no AVP junk), he thought of a way to liven up his marathons of them.

    Basically he would watch all four of the Alien films, but in between each installment he would watch another movie directed by the previous Alien installment's director. One such marathon could be:

    Blade Runner
    The Terminator
    Alien 3
    Panic Room
    Alien: Resurrection
    A Very Long Engagement

    I don't know why, but I just love this idea. It could be tricky to pull off with another franchise, though, as the Alien property is so unique in its constant reinvention of itself.

    1. ^^^ That's an awesome idea. Replace "Alien" with any franchise with revolving directors (like Bond or "Harry Potter") and the in-between movies from those directors' bodies of work would be epic. "Harry Potter" 1 leading into "Nine Months" (Columbus), or from "GoldenEye" to "Green Lantern" (Campbell).

    2. Hmmm. Great idea. Works for me right up until the end; I might choose Delicatessen or City Of Lost Children instead of Engagement.
      But really good approach.

  2. OK, I'll bite. You're obviously programming this marathon for a day you 'otherwise don't care for' with other people's reactions in mind, i.e. you're putting your friends' reaction ahead of yours. How about movies guaranteed to blow people's minds by going over-the-top, but not so off-kilter or disgusting that you end up with a "Serbian Film" or "Human Centipede" debacle? Something like 'Quality Epic Mind Fucks' or 'Patrick-Approved WTF! Buffet'? Personal suggestions: 1980's "The Visitor" (a guaranteed jaw-dropper if watched with a huge crowd), 1981's "Ms. 45" (both streaming on Amazon Prime), 1975's "The Man from Hong Kong" (YouTube), 1932's "The Sign of the Cross" (pre-code DeMille bible epic that veers into freak show), 1983's "The Keep" and "Pieces" (both available for rent on Amazon), some comedy (I'm drawing a blank!), last but not least, the hour-long episode of "The Amazing Spider-Man" live-action TV show 'The Glass Tower'. Hey, we all love "Die Hard," but why not get the 45 min. compact version and use the 85 minutes you'd save to sneak in a shortie (like Todd Browning's "Freaks") or something? :-P

    Another suggestion: 'Twitter Film Fest Runners Up'. The annual Film Fest has become a tradition that gets the whole gang together to watch the movies you chose. How about a marathon of the films from '82, '91, '85 and '93 that came close to making the cut? You've kept a record of the runners up, right? RIGHT??!! ;-)

  3. Final-Fest: A festival of “final” films. Either final performances of actors, or final films of directors, or a mix of both. The idea is a little morbid, but should be seen as a celebration. Could lead to some interesting / under-seen movie choices.

    Good Luck!

    1. "The Dark Knight" (Ledger), "Brick Mansions" (Walker), "Enter the Dragon" (Lee), "The Crow" (Lee Jr.), "Transformers: The Movie" (Wells), "Wagons East" (Candy)... hmm, I don't know. Very peak-and-valley choices there unless you go really off-the-beaten-path obscure cult.

  4. I've always liked the idea of a fluid marathon. In other words, a series of movies where themes connect from one movie to the next, but isn't constant. Let's say you start with Back to the Future, then you run with the time-travel theme and watch Timecop next. From Timecop you can take the theme of corrupt politicians and follow that up with the Raid 2. From the Raid 2 you can take "niche Asian cinema" and watch Thirst. So on and so forth.

    What I like about it is it's so wide open, you won't fatigue from staying in 1 genre or style. You just need to find a different theme to "link" adjacent films. You can make it whatever you want, you could decide to use the theme of "evil Ron Silver" in Timecop and follow it up with Blue Steel if you wanted to. And it can take any number of tangents, you can start with Blade Runner and end with Harold and Kumar go to White Castle without breaking format.

    1. I like this idea. Since it's your pick, you give me a movie to start and I can try to run with it. Thanks!

    2. I'll start you out with my favorite black comedy: American Psycho.

  5. I'm having trouble being creative here, but I read this on Reddit and thought, "that could be great":

    The Jake Gyllenhaal of Fame:

    City Slickers (because it's his first movie)
    Donnie Darko
    Source Code
    End of Watch

    1. Great, except by the end of the marathon I'd hate life and would wish to die. "Zodiac" and "Prisoners" alone would be too much to bear, then add "Enemy" and "Nightcrawler"? An overdose of brain-resting, stress-relieving "The Day After Tomorrow" cheese, stat! :-) I love my Gyllenhaal in small, manageable doses.

    2. Hey, I didn't say it would be a pleasant experience, haha. Okay fine, you can end it with The Day After Tomorrow and Bubble Boy (which I guess is a comedy? I don't know, I've never seen it).

  6. You could always do films from the year of your birth. Not sure if that would be too limiting however.

    1. For me it's 1978 and from IMDBs list of "top" films from '78 it could be interesting if I ever wanted to do a similar program.,1978&title_type=feature&sort=moviemeter,asc

    2. I did that for 1984. It's a fun one, especially for a marathon on one's actual birthday.

    3. 1984 was a very good year for movies. Just looking at the IMDB list now.

    4. Indeed. For me, it was something like Gremlins, Foootloose, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Terminator, The Last Starfighter and Ghostbusters. Such fun. I could have also chosen Beverly Hills Cop or The Karate Kid or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Lots of great choices.

  7. I love this kind of stuff. How about each film is connected to the next one by the last word in its title? For example:

    They Live to Live and Let Die to Die Hard to Hard Eight and so on. Might be too complex (apologies) but planning it could be a lot of fun.

  8. Got another one: QUAID-A-THON! Alternating movies starring a Quaid brother, a Randy movie (ahem!) followed by a Dennis, and so on and so forth. Between their filmographies you can swing from early 80's action ("Dreamscape," "Innerspace," "Jaws 3-D") to contemporary blockbusters if you include their kids ("The Hunger Games" movies for Jack, "Non-Stop" for Amy), with lots of good stuff in-between (any "Vacation" movie except "European," "ID4," the underrated thriller "Kidnapped," "Days of Thunder," "Hard Rain," etc.) You can even schedule kid-friendly movies starring a Quaid ("The Rookie," "The Parent Trap," "Martians Go Home," etc.) so your kids can start watching, then be sent to bed happy when it's time for the adults to put "Brokeback Mountain" on. ;-) Of course, the marathon has to conclude with a screening of Walter Hill's "The Long Riders" and everyone present bowing down to the plasma in tribute to the depth and reach of the all-mighty Quaid clan.

    BONUS OPTION: movies with a character named Quaid (either "Total Recall" movie, that dude in "Lord of Illusions," etc.) to add a tingle of variety. Actually, it's just an excuse to sneak in Verhoeven's "Total Recall" for a two-hour Arnold break between all the Quaid love.

  9. Whatever you do, structure the marathon with a strong center. I like putting Kill Bill in the center of marathons, it's perfect for it. Being two distinct halves, one very fun and one very dramatic, makes it a really strong center in terms of balancing tones.

  10. I was on a big Bond bender a while ago, and got the idea to top it off with a marathon of the Bond actors' other films. One non-Bond film from each six actors. Obviously with some of them you have a lot of room for choice, not so much with others (meaning Lazenby). In the end my choices were:

    Connery: Highlander
    Lazenby: Kentucky Fried Movie
    Moore: The Cannonball Run
    Dalton: The Lion in Winter
    Brosnan: The Lawnmower Man
    Craig: The Jacket

    Three of them I already had on my shelf, three I've never seen but want to.

    Haven't had a chance to do it yet, one of them is still in the mail, but I'm doing this one of these days.

    1. Check out Lazenby in 1975's "The Man from Hong Kong." He plays a legitimate 70's badass dude, complete with stache and kung fu moves. It's on YouTube, and it's been there for a while so you're probably safe (though you never know).

  11. Fashion & Style by Decade: A movie marathon featuring films that epitomize the style of their respective decade. Narrow the parameters and say "American popular" fashion/style.

    This means that the films are "of their time." Though made in the 70s, Chinatown is period piece doesn't qualify. The films that work best would have been considered contemporary at their time of release, such as Annie Hall or Saturday Night Fever in the 70s.

    10s: xxxxx
    20s: xxxxx
    30s: xxxxx
    40s: xxxxx
    50s: xxxxx
    60s: xxxxx
    70s: xxxxx
    80s: xxxxx
    90s: Clueless
    00s: xxxxx

    Programming the order would be interesting too... Linear? Skip around? Reverse? Seems to me there is plenty of flexibility in genre.

    - m

  12. Another thought. Take a genre or sub-genre of movies you like (it can be as wide or narrow as you want) and watch films from that genre made in different countries. You can only watch one movie per country, but it should give some fascinating insights into how different cultures deal with a common theme. Might open up some new material too.

    1. i was actually thinking about a list i made up of the most popular titles from various countries in the own language. but a genre might be more fun...say the best horror movie from each country.

      Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
      Amélie (2001)
      The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
      The Lives of Others (2006)
      Let the Right One In (2008)
      Life Is Beautiful (1997)
      Seven Samurai (1954)
      Ip Man (2008)

  13. In the spirit of the Alien marathon suggested above, you could do a "One for them, One for me" marathon. In this, you would choose 6 directors and show two of their movies each back to back. One from the "one for them" pile and another from the "one for me" pile.

    I saw the idea of a "bait and switch" movie marathon. Movies like Spring Breakers that were advertised to be a very different movie from what was actually going to be on screen. You show all the trailers at the beginning of the marathon.

    1. How do you differentiate "one for them" and "one for me?" I want to be sure I do it right.

    2. I can't speak for Adam but I'm sure he means a film a director makes for audiences, then a film for him/herself. For example, Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus, then Lolita.

  14. Good timing.
    Just a few days ago I got the urge for Drive. But before watching that I thought of watching some of the films that Winding Refn was referencing. So:

    The Driver
    To Live And Die In LA
    Risky Business

    And to finish, cocktails at midnight, Ray Bans on, and Tangerine Dream.

  15. Remakes. I have always been intrigued by them, and the reasons why a director/writer/producer or whoever decides to remake a film that already exists.
    Not saying that it's always a mistake, but I can definitely list a s***load that are.
    Being French I may also be negatively biased, as there are a number of French films that have been given an American version... and usually a lesser one.

    Marathon of original movies that were given an American remake? You could pick from different countries.
    Top of my head Oldboy, l'Ultimo Bacio, Abre los ojos, Les Diaboliques...

  16. Counterculture-shock!
    For instance: Blue Sunshine, The Tripper, I Drink Your Blood, Requiem for a Dream, etc.

    Cinema Around the World!
    Select titles representing or released in each of the continents. For Antarctica, there is more options than just Whiteout and AVP, though I doubt any films have been released there, so maybe fudge that one.

    Wrestler films!
    Hell Comes to Frogtown, Wrestlemaniac, Suburban Commando, a boatload to choose from.

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  18. This could be interesting, if you're into it. Do an animation day with one or two movies from different studios. Here's what I came up with. It might even be fun for the whole family...mostly.

    -Studio Ghibli
    Spirited Away
    My Neighbor Totoro
    -Dreamworks Animation
    How to Train Your Dragon
    Kung Fu Panda
    The Incredibles
    -Warner Brothers Animation
    The Iron Giant
    Loony Toons: Back in Action
    -Classic Disney
    Beauty and the Beast

    I separate Pixar from classic Disney because, though they're both Disney, I kind of consider each their own thing.

    1. Nice, and it lets Patrick bring his young ones into daddy's birthday festivities 'till they fall asleep from too much A/V sugar goodness.

  19. How about "All Day Car Chase Bonanza"?

    I would also love to attend a festival called "The Birth of Cool Film Festival" - you decide what that entails, I have no clue. Just been listening to Miles lately.

  20. There's an old saying where I come from: You can't go wrong with Air Bud.

    Air Bud
    Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch
    Air Bud: Golden Retriever
    Cannibal Holocaust

    It writes itself.

    1. Spoilers: Air Bud doesn't make it through that last one.

  21. I got one, it's easy, guess the theme

    Road to Perdition (2002)
    League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
    Constantine (2005)
    A History of Violence (2005)
    Watchmen (2009)
    Red (2010)
    The Losers (2010)

    1. All based on comics that aren't thought of as in the Marvel or DC universes

  22. K this is a weird one but I found some good movies with animals in the title. I figured you start with the smallest animal then work your way up to the biggest. Not sure how long your marathon will be so substitute out what you need to.

    The Fly
    Groundhog Day
    Who framed roger rabbit
    Silence of the Lambs
    Reservoir Dogs
    Teen Wolf
    Reindeer Games
    Bad News Bears
    King Kong (I know not an animal in the title but it's about a giant ape and King Kong kicks ass.)

  23. These are all great ideas, everyone. Keep 'em coming!

  24. The Ides (of March) Marathon

    Not sure how long of a marathon you're looking to program but take 6 to 10 of your favourite directors and pick a film from the middle (approximately) of their filmography.

    For example in no particular order:

    Spielberg - Hook or The Park

    Tarantino - Jackie Brown or Kill Bill

    De Palma - Blow Out or Scarface

    Linklater - School of Rock

    Scorsese - Goodfellas

    Coen Brothers - O Brother, Where Art Thou?

    Woody Allen - Manhattan Murder Mystery

    Carpenter - Big Trouble in Little China

    Zemeckis - Forrest Gump or Contact (meh...)

    Demme - Married to the Mob

    You get the idea - it's amazing how often the middle film is a winner - another example (but too soon): Tony Scott's is True Romance!

  25. You could do a director influence/inspiration marathon. Start with a couple movies from a modern director. Then watch a couple movies from the director that most influenced them. Then the director that most influenced them... etc. going further back in cinema history. Or you could do it in the opposite direction, starting with early directors and tracking their successors.

    A couple good examples would be:

    1. Paul Thomas Anderson- Boogie Nights or Hard Eight

    2.Jonathan Demme- Caged Heat

    3. Robert Altman- Nashville or McCabe and Mrs. Miller

    4. John Huston-The Asphalt Jungle or Treasure of the Sierra Madre

    5. Max Ophuls- Le Ronde

    6. Howard Hawks- To Have and Have Not


    1. Judd Apatow- Funny People

    2. Noah Baumbach- The Squid and the Whale

    3. Cameron Crowe-Jerry McGuire

    4. James L. Brooks- Terms of Endearment

    5. Woody Allen- Stardust Memories or Manhattan

    6. Groucho Marx- Animal Crackers ( I know he didn't direct it, but still)

    There are so many ways you could go with this type of marathon.

    1. Nice idea. You could incorporate Sunset Boulevard and Mulholland Drive into this as well.

    2. Like this one a lot. Or, once you establish the chronology going backwards and pick the movies, re-arrange the order into a random-with-purpose order when it comes time to watch them (like The Massacre movies they show in October).

  26. One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
    Two For the Money
    Three Kings
    Four Weddings and a Funeral
    Five Easy Pieces
    Six Degrees of Separation
    Seven Psychopaths
    Eight Men Out
    Nine Months
    Ten Little Indians
    Eleven Samurai
    Twelve Monkeys
    Thirteen Erotic Ghosts

    The last one is for the kids...

  27. Ok heres my 50 cents worth and I know you would also enjoy this marathon

    Watch as a homage to the fantastic Leonard Nimoy every single Star trek episode that he is in and if time permits also the movies too ;)

    1. I thought about a Nimoy marathon too. Pick the best/most Spock-centric episodes from TOS, Wrath and Search and maybe Unification from TNG, then add the Transformers movie, Atlantis, Body Snatchers, Zombies of the Stratosphere, the Columbo episode, plus Marge vs. the Monorail from Simpsons and the Trek episode from Futurama. Put in a blender and enjoy.

  28. Good Guys Finish Last
    Movies where the bad guys win, actual or thematically, or at a stretch where the protagonist is a bad guy.

  29. One Giant Leap!
    Films featuring actors from TV making the leap to the silver screen for the first time.

    Motion Sickness!
    All Handheld, All Found Footage.

    Something Weird!
    A day filled with Something Weird titles you haven't gotten around to seeing yet.

    School Days!
    Films all set primarily at a school. High school or college, you decide!

    It's a Giant...What?!
    Bizarre giant creatures attack people and cities. Giant starfish, giant women, giant cheerleaders.