Screens x

It requires so much more than you’d think.

Sometimes movie theaters hold those movie marathons where they stream all of the “Star Wars” films in a row, where only those prepared to handle back pain and eyesight problems end up buying a ticket for that hell-bound train wreck. To make it through all those hours of continuous movie-watching there has to be some sort of fine art to marathoning a movie series.

And don’t be fooled; it is a true skill to stay seated for a prolonged period with minimal bathroom breaks and many moments where you’re not sure if you fell asleep or if that one scene you remember was only in the extended edition. Watching a series of films consecutively, however, can be like an odyssey, completely submersing the viewer in the world unfolding onscreen. It’s beautiful — if you come prepared.

Whether going to the theaters to watch a movie series marathon or setting it up in your home, know what you’re doing ahead of time. Here are some tips that I’ve found useful for keeping me engaged in the films.

1. Clear the Schedule

An unwarranted interruption takes the wind out of the experience, so set time aside to really delve into the movies. Setting time aside is difficult, but even one or two days with a straight run time allows for enough time to finish the movies, though chances are good that you’ll be passed out on the couch for part of the movie series.

You might also consider spreading out the movies somewhat, doing a couple movies one day and a couple the next or within the next week. It might be less engulfing than never leaving your seat, but it’s a nice alternative when time is an expensive commodity.

2. Forts!

I don’t mean a literal fort, though if you’d like to build a pillow-and-couch cushion fortress in front of the television, do it. Just make sure you’re comfortable, so don’t pick that decorative chair that no one actually sits in. Pillows and blankets might be useful, but as always, it’s up to the movie-watcher.

For those attending movie series marathons in theaters, you can still bring a blanket. You might get weird looks, but doing what’s comfortable is more important. I think the movie theater might argue against a patron building a fort, though.

3. A Snack or Two

The best part about holding a movie series marathon at home is that the food is only a few feet away and is cheaper than theater food. Either way, when you’re in for the long haul, snacks or even a whole dinner at the ready is nice.

A movie marathon is also a good excuse to buy all those weird foods at the grocery store that you’d normally never buy. Then again, maybe just a massive bowl of popcorn will suffice and give the real movie theater experience; just don’t spill it on the couch because the person cleaning up at home is you.

4. Invite Friends (or Don’t)

For me, watching movie series that I’ve already seen before with friends makes it more fun because they’re just as enthusiastic as I am. And marathoning “The Lord of the Rings” movies sounds less odd when I say that I’m doing it with other people than alone in my room with my blinds letting in the only slivers of natural light that I might see that day.

But watching alone is good too, especially if you’re prone to talking during films or if you’d like to experience the movies without distractions. The watcher in this case can pick when they pause to run to the bathroom or take a break, too, and they don’t have to worry about what others want to do.

5. The Pause Button

Then again, maybe you don’t have to watch all the movies straight through, ignoring your very basic needs to watch Harry Potter defeat Voldemort for the umpteenth time. Watching one film, getting up, stretching, doing some work, and then continuing after an hour is perfectly okay and probably necessary for your health.

If you’re in a theater, then you’re at the whim of the guys controlling the films. But really, who cares if you fall asleep or miss three minutes going to the bathroom? The people who marathon movie series tend to be the very same people who have seen them many times, so it’s not like new information is going to appear. The movies aren’t going anywhere; they’ll be here when you’re ready for them.

Self-submersion into the world of film is fun, but don’t forget that the audience should be able to enjoy the whole of the experience. They exist perfectly captured in time, so the moviegoers and fanatics can pull that snippet of existence out to view whenever. Don’t rush the good stuff when there’s time to draw it out. There is no point in watching if you’re disinterested at the moment, so use the pause button as liberally as you’d like.

The whole point of movie marathons is to enjoy them, so rushing through might defeat the purpose if you’re asleep or only half-interested. Enjoy the experience and know that the movies are always here to welcome the moviegoer back, whenever and wherever they choose.

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Allison Kestler

Augustana College

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