A couple of years ago, a bunch of friends and I decided to do a Harry Potter movie marathon – it was great fun, of course, but also trying at times! In case you’re interested in doing a movie marathon of your own, here are four tips based on our experience.
Think about the timing
The total run time of all eight films is 19 hours and 40 minutes according to Pottertalk. Realistically, you’re going to want bathroom breaks, time to change over the discs, a chance to stretch your legs, various food and drink stopping points and maybe a quick powernap (though we didn’t risk it!), so assume a 24 hour window to be safe.
Once you’d factored in people’s lecture times/friday night plans etc, our choices were starting late on Friday or at some point on Saturday. We decided to start on Saturday morning, rather than later in the day, which worked pretty well for our movie marathon – it gave people the chance to destress on Friday night, rather than finishing lectures and then going straight into it. People started on a full night’s sleep instead of after 12 hours of being awake which definitely helped too! We started at 10am Saturday, and finished 7 or 8am Sunday.
The people are key
I think more than anything else, the people could be what make or break a movie marathon. As much as a movie marathon of just Matt and I sounds cosy and relaxing, I know we would never be able to sit and watch films for that long straight, because when there’s only 2 of you, it’s far too easy for one person to talk the other person out of it. If there’s only two of you and the other person decides they don’t want to do it anymore four hours in, you’re pretty much stuck – you could try and convince them to keep going, but if they’re not enjoying it, they’ll probably ensure you aren’t enjoying it either! You could try and keep going on your own, but let’s be honest, it’s not the same. If you know the whole group is fully committed, a small group could work well, but we decided to go for a big group both for motivational purposes, and a party-like atmosphere!
There were seven of us in total; one left about halfway through film two, and another gave up on staying awake during one of the later films and left for a nap, so five of us in total who sat through the lot. It worked pretty well having such a big group, because everyone had different favourites, which kept enthusiasm up when people might have been waning.
The one disadvantage we had of being a group of seven is that there just weren’t enough sofas! When you’re sitting down for pretty much 24 hours straight, comfort is key, so do whatever you can do be comfortable! For us, that meant pyjamas, duvets, cushions and switching seats between every few films so that no one got stuck on the floor for too long. Layers are great, because while you might feel toasty warm at lunch time when you’ve just had a pizza, you’re a couple of hours in and the sun is shining through the window, but things might not feel so warm when it’s 2am and the overall energy levels of the room would make a sloth look energetic.
Prepare with ALL of the snacks!
We chose to do a big group trip on the Friday night to stock up on our snacks (mostly so that we could sleep in as late as possible on Saturday before starting!), and there was a huge range in what people bought. Everyone stuck to convenience stuff – no one wanted to face cooking, and when you’ve only got half an hour or maybe an hour and seven people need to eat, sharing kitchen space can get scary! First of all factor in your meals – for us, that meant lunch, dinner and maybe breakfast. People bought everything from ready made sandwiches to pot noodles to pizzas to ready meals for lunch and midnight snacks, and pastries were popular breakfast choices. We agreed beforehand that we’d have chinese takeaway for dinner so we didn’t have to do any preparation for that except make sure we had the money and a menu!
Snack wise, we had an amazing amount of crisps, popcorn, chocolate and biscuits, but also things like sausage rolls or fruit. Go with what works for you – are you the sort of person who can quite happily eat an entire packet of maryland cookies and doritos, or do you want lots of different things? Will just eating sugar leave you crashing hard, or will avoiding the sugar leave you like a zombie?
Make sure to factor in drinks too, especially if you’re having loads of salty foods like crisps and pizzas! Fizzy drinks, fruit juices, water, flavoured waters, milk, hot chocolate – all viable options! Alcohol is a maybe but be sure it won’t put you to sleep, and I wouldn’t recommending having it for the full marathon (although maybe you’re just more hardcore than I am!). A lot of our group had energy drinks but I’m crazy sensitive to caffeine so I stuck to fizzy drinks during the day, and hot chocolates over night.
For both food and drink, I’d definitely advise getting more than you think you need and planning ahead – trying to co-ordinate a large spur-of-the-moment takeout order among a big group always seems to take forever, particularly if people don’t have cash and so on. And the last thing you want is to run out of food at 4am when everywhere is closed!