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How to Plan the Perfect Movie Marathon

Movie Popcorn and Soda

by Maggie Kruger

So.  It’s Saturday.  The weather’s rubbish and you haven’t got the energy to go out.  The perfect conditions to plan yourself a cheeky little movie marathon.

It’s easy to mess up Movie Night.  The wrong choice of films, the wrong food, the wrong lighting… all of these can mess up your weekend…. OK, that’s maybe over-exaggerating slightly but hey, give it a little thought and you’re well on your way to a top night.

‘Choose Wisely’

First thing you need to do is decide what you’re actually going to watch.  Ideally you should be looking at 3 films maximum, and if you’re geeky like me going with a theme is a great idea.

Obvious choices could be movie trilogies (Back to the Future is a superb choice, or the first 3 Indiana Jones titles… don’t bother with Crystal Skull), or you can go with genre, or a particular actor.  After Patrick Swayze died some friends and I planned a Swayze Memorial Night: Ghost, Dirty Dancing and finishing up with Road House.

The Breakfast Club

Better have some cereal or eggs for this crew.

Which leads me to my next point – order of viewing.  Depending on what you’ve chosen, take a long hard look at what you’ve got.  Taking Swayze Night as a point of reference, it would have been all wrong to watch Road House first, follow it with Dirty Dancing and close with Ghost

Throughout the night we would have been a bit fighty, a bit cheery and then ended the night wailing like banshees (assuming that Ghost makes you cry – it’s only the last 2 minutes that make me cry but then I’m usually sobbing for about 15 minutes after that).  You have to start with a drama/weepie, then segue into a comedy/musical, and hit the home straight with an action/horror.

Or say you’ve planned yourself an 80s-tastic Brat Pack night. You want to start with one of the more serious ones… The Breakfast Club, or St. Elmo’s Fire.  Round 2 has to be Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and finish with The Lost Boys.

Textbook stuff.

‘Feed me, Seymour’

Ok, so you’ve sorted out what you’re going to watch… Now you need to think about what you’re going to eat. Much like your choice of movies, the food aspect of it shouldn’t be underestimated. This may mean you have to leave the house, but only to go to the nearest store. The last thing you want is to be watching Big Night and realise that you’re so hungry you could eat your hands.

The first rule of Movie Marathon Dining is keep it simple. Chips and dips, nachos, quesadillas: you get the idea.

Pizza for the Marathon!

Pizza for the Marathon! (Courtesy

The second rule of Movie Marathon Dining is keep it simple. If you absolutely have to cook, make it something you can just sling in the oven, like pizza.

The best time to eat is generally when you’re on movie number 2. Eat too soon and you’ll be hungry later on. Don’t eat during movie number 3: if you’re going to give yourself nightmares you want it to be because you finished up with The Silence of the Lambs, not because you scarfed a pepperoni with double cheese just before lights out.

Now, you’re almost ready to go.

Dim the lights, equip yourself with any other kit you may need- tissues if you decided to start with something sad (boys, there’s no shame in admitting you cried at E.T. and no one likes a sniffer), a cushion to hide behind during the grisly bits, your drink of choice, and hit play. Enjoy!

Maggie Kruger fell asleep on her dad’s lap on her first cinema trip to watch Return of the Jedi in 1983, and has loved the movies ever since, even going so far as to study them at college, where she worked on a number of short films. She lives and works in London, UK, and will tell you that her favourite film is Dr Strangelove, although when pressed will also admit a certain weakness for 1980’s brat pack movies and most of Adam Sandler’s early work.

Follow her on Twitter at .


9 comments for “How to Plan the Perfect Movie Marathon

  1. February 18, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Great tips in there, although I will differ with you on the food section. There’s now way I will eat pizza or nachos when watching Big Night. I do agree that it should be simple – make it take out. But if feeling inspired to cook? Why not. Pairing food with certain movies, like a wine, could bbe a lot of fun too. I know I can’t watch an Ozu film without craving sushi and sake and there’s no way to watch Blue Velvet without Pabst Blue Ribbon. Now I want to hold a movie night.

    • February 18, 2011 at 6:57 am

      And since she mentioned SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, you could always whip up some liver with a side of fava beans… what would go well with that?… how about a nice Chianti? 🙂

  2. February 18, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Btw – if you want to read how I traumatized my kid by watching ET, click on my name to my former Family Movie Night blog – see the essay “The Second Time I Traumatized My Kid”

    • February 18, 2011 at 6:57 am

      Thanks for the link Dave!

  3. February 18, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Great advice Maggie.

    So say, for example, you had a Star Wars night, these are the three you should watch and in this order;

    Ep V The Empire Strikes Back (drama/weepie)
    Ep III Revenge of the Sith (comedy/musical)
    Ep II Attack of the Clones (OH THE HORROR)

    Also, with regards to food you definitely need to consider Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo’s Code of Conduct

    • Maggie
      February 18, 2011 at 10:04 am

      Oh yes, that’s definitely what you would do with Star Wars… of course, the estimable Swiss Cheese and Bullets ( follow him on Twitter @scandb ) suggests that you could do all 6 films starting with A New Hope as a starting point, Empire Strikes Back, and then following the revelation at the end of that, move onto the prequels as an extended flashback (even though they’re all rubbish), then finish up with Return of the Jedi to tie it all together nicely! That would be an entire weekend marathon of course, and afterwards you may find yourself baying at the moon, cursing George Lucas…

      • February 18, 2011 at 8:41 pm

        Maggie– That’s a great idea! Well, except for the part where you have to sit through Ep. 1, 2, and 3! 😉

    • February 18, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      Hi Matt! Thanks for posting that link. It gives me a great idea for a post about film-goer etiquette. 🙂

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