Fresh Nonfiction: Five Commandments for Hosting a Film Marathon
A collection of creative nonfiction across all forms of media, Fresh Nonfiction covers the embarrassing, awkward, mundane, and meaningful. (And it all actually happened).
Five Commandments For Hosting a Film Marathon
Note: another in a series of blogs I launched and eventually abandoned, "P.O.A.B." (the only clue I'm gonna give you) was an often-pointless take on the post-English-degree days of a guy working at a Mac store in Portland (i.e. me). There are a few posts with some merit - the following is one of them.
Last week, my coworker, Eli, and I were chatting over a beer about movie marathons. In the midst of our sheer geekery, we actually began to create a workable set of rules for setting up a movie marathon. Excluding food, environment, time, and other components of a typical movie marathon, the commandments focus solely on film selection.
1. A movie marathon shall consist of at least four films - Besides trilogies (which obviously cannot be extended to four films, no matter how much George Lucas hates the movie-going public) a movie-thon, by its nature, is a way to view a fair cross-section of a particular genre, director, or medium. And watching two films about zombies, on a lark, does not a movie marathon make.
2. Unless the marathon is writer and/or director-centric, no one writer and/or director shall be represented twice - Obviously, having a Woody Allen fest requires four of his films (Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Sleeper, and Annie Hall would be my picks, at the very least). But if one is hosting a sci-fi movie marathon, David Cronenberg or John Carpenter cannot appear on the list twice, no matter how much they dominate the genre.
3. Film marathons shall represent a span of at least twenty-five years of cinema - Cinema is hardly long in the tooth, but there is still plenty material to draw from in the hundred or so years since its inception. Twenty-five years is the bare minimum for attaining an adequate cross-section. Again, this stipulation leaves room for writer and/or director marathons when writers and/or directors have not worked in the industry for the "minimum" time frame.
4. A marathon host shall exert sole control over the film picks - Half of the marathon experience is making a list of films that you feel best represent the topic or theme. And much of the joy in compiling this list is knowing that some of your selections will test your friends' patience, endurance, or good nature. If one of your friends can't stomach Burt Reynolds, you should probably choose Deliverance or Stroker Ace (depending on the theme). But be prepared to have the ill favor returned next time that friend picks the flicks.
5. At least one of the films shall have agreed-upon artistic merit -Just as marathon attendees must respect the selections of the host, the host must respect the integrity of the marathon. Even if you are hosting a "bad movie marathon", one of the films must be agreed-upon to represent that theme with some authority, thereby giving it the most basic artistic merit (i.e. On Deadly Ground is a great example of how not to make a movie).