Sunday, January 6, 2013
Django & Djack: My longest double feature
It was certainly a reach to see Jack Reacher on Thursday night.
That's because I'd already seen Django Unchained.
Django Unchained is 165 minutes long, something I knew coming in. I didn't know the running time of Jack Reacher, because that information was strangely absent from Moviefone.com, my primary resource for finding out when the movies I want to see are playing.
But once I was seated for the trailers before Jack Reacher, whose 9:45 start time lined up perfectly with the ending of my 6:40 Django, I decided to use a different resource to see how long I'd be sitting there. I pulled up IMDB on my phone, and it told me that Jack Reacher was 130 minutes.
So yeah, I watched 295 minutes of movies in the theater on Thursday night -- just five minutes shy of five hours. Has to be some kind of record, right?
Well, let's see.
I keep a list of all the theatrical double features I've seen, which includes the ones where I paid for both films (few) and those where I snuck into the second (many, including Thursday). I've seen movies as long as Django for a first movie in a double feature, but the second movie has always been comparatively brief, and definitely under two hours.
Or has it?
There are actually a couple others that come somewhat close to those 295 minutes. When I saw the similarly-titled movies 25th Hour and The Hours back in January of 2003, they totaled out at 249 minutes (135 and 114). Match Point and Cache (January 2006) came close to that at 241. The Lovely Bones and The Blind Side, in January of 2010, were a particularly long slog (considering the quality of the movies) at 264 total minutes.
But the greatest challenger to Django and Djack's possible future record came in the form of the January 2004 pairing of Big Fish and Cold Mountain, whose respective run times of 126 and 154 minutes make them the previous record holder at 280 total minutes. Which Django and Djack still eclipsed by a quarter of an hour.
Did you by any chance notice that all of the double features I listed occurred in the month of January, including the most recent one? That's because I'm always trying to cram in some extra movies this time of year before finalizing my list. The finalized list is coming next Thursday, and this past Thursday was probably the only opportunity I'll have for a double feature this cramming season. And since I'm often cramming prestige movies released during the holidays, the movies I'm cramming tend to be particularly long.
I wasn't actually intending to set any kind of personal length record Thursday night. My original plan had been to make my second movie Parental Guidance, a comparatively scant 105 minutes. And I considered even that to be pretty unlikely, since I was thinking Django would probably be plenty of cinema for me in one evening. But as I was wandering down the hallway of screening rooms and found myself with much more energy than I could have ever anticipated having, I saw that Reacher was starting only five minutes after Guidance. I'd heard bad things about both films, but I like Tom Cruise, and the trailers suggested it might have some of the nutty energy of Knight & Day. So into Jack Reacher I wandered. (Besides, if I'd seen Parental Guidance, it wouldn't have had a poster nearly identical to the Django poster. I mean seriously, that's uncanny.)
How did I stay awake for nearly five hours of movies?
Starting Django Unchained at 6:40 certainly helped. Since I'd both driven my son down to daycare that morning and picked him up, my wife had the whole day without him, and was more than willing to relieve me of some of my normal bedtime responsibilities so I could make the earlier showing.
During Django I ate the rest of a box of Mike & Ike's and the rest of a box of Hot Tamales my friend had brought over for a recent movie night, which I had combined together in a ziplock bag for easier transportation/concealment. Since those candies are all the same size and shape, it was a bit of a surprise each time I popped one in my mouth whether it would be fruit flavored or the sharp burn of cinnamon. And that sharp burn certainly kept me on my toes (though I probably should have saved it for the second movie). Unable to resist, I also ate most of the bag of Sweet & Sour Cherry Kick and Citrus Punch Twizzlers (yes, that's a mouthful). These have been an addiction of mine over the past six months, and I do not apologize for them, even though some people think they taste like household cleaner.
The good news is, I still had both of my smuggled drinks for the second movie, as well as about five Twizzlers. I gobbled through the Twizzlers in about the first five minutes of Reacher -- not necessarily a smart move, but once I pop, I can't stop, to paraphrase that famous potato chip commercial. But that still left me with the Diet Coke and Red Bull I'd snuck in (winter is great for sneaking things in). I drank the Diet Coke about halfway through, and the Red Bull got me through the final 30 minutes with only a minimum number of head droops.
The most remarkable thing about the whole experience? I had been more or less awake since 3:30 a.m. Having gone to sleep around 9:20 the night before, in part to rest up for my expected viewing of Django, I started tossing and turning at 3:30 and eventually relented to the fact that I just wasn't tired anymore. I was awake for sure from about quarter of 5 onward, and my attempt at a nap after coming home from work never took.
Sometimes, you just never know what the human body is capable of.
So what did I think of these movies? You know the rules. In less than a week you'll find out.
Now that I've established this new record length for a double feature, I wonder if it's something I will consciously shoot for in the future.
I just gotta get an early start and have plenty of Twizzlers.