Oscar Movie Marathon

A few weekends ago I watched 10 movies in one day.  You think I’m crazy now, right?  It was for AMC Theater’s Best Picture Movie Marathon.  This is the fourth year they’ve hosted a Best Picture marathon, but the first year there have been 10 films.  My older sister, two cousins, an aunt, and I spent about 24 hours in a movie theater – ok, well, we did run out a few times to walk around and get real, non-theater food, but the first movie started at 12:01 AM Saturday morning and the last one ended around 11:45 PM Saturday night.

But you know, it really wasn’t that bad.  After the first few, when it was finally Saturday morning and I knew it was light outside, I wasn’t as tired.  There were definitely some times when I closed my eyes for a little bit and just listened to the dialogue, but I never fell asleep.  Basically I was awake from 7 AM Friday morning until about 1:45 AM Sunday morning.  That’s the longest I have ever been awake, and I probably will only do it again for a good reason.  Like next year’s Best Picture Movie Marathon.  🙂

Here are the films I saw and what I thought.  Spoiler-free!

On the upper half of the poster are the faces of a man and a female blue alien with yellow eyes, with a giant planet and a moon in the background and the text at the top: "From the director of Terminator 2 and Titanic". Below is a dragon-like animal flying across a landscape with floating mountains at sunset; helicopter-like aircraft are seen in the distant background.  The title "James Cameron's Avatar", film credits and the release date appear at the bottom.


Plot (from imdb):  A paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.

Opinion (of me):  Not impressed.  It probably didn’t help that there was so much hype, but I was not a fan of this movie.  It was too long, too preachy, and not unique.  I admit the special effects were good, but after awhile I started to get bored and just wanted it to end.

UP (3D)

Plot:  By tying thousands of balloon to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn’t alone on his journey, since Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years his junior, has inadvertently become a stowaway on the trip.

Opinion: This is the only one I had seen before, and I still liked it a lot the second time.  The animation was still cool, the funny parts were still funny, and the sad parts were still sad.

A man standing on the roof of a house


Plot:  A black comedy drama centered on Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern professor who watches his life unravel through multiple sudden incidents. Though seeking for meaning and answers he seems to stay stalled.

Opinion:  I hadn’t really heard anything about this one, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I ended up liking it a lot though.  There were several funny parts, which I appreciated.  And the ending left me…surprised.

On dirty dusty ground a black and white target practice poster of a bipedal insect-like creature stands, riddled with bullet holes. Barbed wire runs behind the poster and a large circular spaceship hovers in the background.


Plot:  An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.

Opinion:  Really good.  I love films shot like a documentary.  If you’re ok with movies about aliens, I recommend it.


Plot:  In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds” are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis.

Opinion:  Great!  One of my favorites of the whole day.  I’m not a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino (or Brad Pitt movies lately for that matter), but this movie is really good.  Christoph Waltz, who won the Oscar for Best Actor, totally deserved it.  Totally.  Brad Pitt was actually really good in this too.  The movie is funnier than I expected, and I love it for that.  I would watch this again…and I don’t watch too many recent movies more than once.


Plot:  The story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family.

Opinion:  I’m not a big fan of sports movies, but this one was better than I expected.  Everyone in it was great – I was kind of surprised by Tim McGraw – and Sandra Bullock deserved her Oscar win too.  Not a spectacular movie, I’m not sure it would be included if there were only five films nominated, but overall good.


Plot:  A coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London, and how her life changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age.

Opinion:  I didn’t know much about this one before seeing it either, but it was good too.  It was an interesting story, the acting was good, and the plot had a surprising twist.


Plot:  In Harlem, an overweight, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.

Opinion:  This is the one I least wanted to see, but after watching it, I’m glad I did.  It’s good.  It’s very tough to watch and see what her life is like, but it’s really well done.  Mo’Nique = incredible.  P.S.  If you watch this, keep your eye out for Lenny Kravitz.  I was the only one who caught him in it.  Oh, and Mariah Carey’s in it too.  But not Alicia Keys, even though I SWORE she was the teacher.  Apparently, it’s not.

The poster of an airport window looking onto the tarmac with a Boeing 747 at the gate. An airport sign at the top: "George Clooney", "Up in the Air", "From the Director of 'Juno' and 'Thank You For Smoking'". Three travelers silhouette from left to right: Natalie Keener (Kendrick), Ryan Bingham (Clooney), Alex Goran (Farmiga). At the bottom, tagline: "The story of a man ready to make a connection." and "Arriving this December".


Plot:  With a job that has him traveling around the country firing people, Ryan Bingham leads an empty life out of a suitcase, until his company does the unexpected: ground him.

Opinion:  Loved it!  Right up there with Inglorious Basterds, with this one maybe slightly ahead because it’s less violent and easier to watch.  George Clooney is great in it, but Anna Kendrick is amazing.  I had a soft spot for her before this movie because she’s so funny in Twilight and New Moon, but she really gets to shine in this movie.  Great movie all around; I’d definitely watch it again and highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet.

From above a flat and dry desert floor, a person in a green military uniform with heavy padding holds red wires attached to seven pill-shaped bomb canister scattered around him. At the top of the poster are three critics' favorable opinions: "A near-perfect movie," "A full-tilt action picture," and "Ferociously suspenseful." Below the quotes is the title "THE HURT LOCKER" and the tagline, "You don't have to be a hero to do this job. But it helps."


Plot:  Iraq. Forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of war, an elite Army bomb squad unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb.

Opinion:  Another film I didn’t know anything about before I saw it.  And another film that was good and I’m glad I saw it, but I’m not sure I’d see it again.  It was suspenseful and the acting was good, but I have issues with the cinematography and I got a little confused during parts of the story.  I expected it to win though because of the subject.  It is a good movie, and I think everyone should see it since it shows you part of the Iraq War.  I could go on since it reminds me of what we talked about in my film class in college, but I’ll spare you.  🙂

That’s it!  All 10.  Have you seen any of these?  What did you think?

– Jill


7 Responses to “Oscar Movie Marathon”

  1. 1 ngtlindsay March 20, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I have not seen ANY of these films! I really need to see Up! though. I don’t think I’ll ever see Avatar – I was told it was basically Pocahantas/Fern Gully, both of which I HATE (except for the part of Pocahantas that has the raccoon and the dog – those two are HILARIOUS). But I’d really like to see Up in the Air (totally because of Anna Kendrick), and An Education (it stars Sally Sparrow!! From that Doctor Who episode!!). Great reviews!

  2. 2 ngtjennifer March 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Wow, I don’t know if I could watch all of those movies in a week, let alone a day…..so many emotionally heavy films would totally wipe me out! Way to go Jill!!!

  3. 3 ngtjill March 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Lindsay, I think I agree with the Avatar-Pocahontas comment (it’s been a long time since I’ve seen Pocahontas). I’ve never seen Fern Gully, but it’s probably the same too. If you ever are in the mood to watch a movie about the environment, try An Inconvenient Truth (watched it for the 2nd time this morning) or Children of Men (one of my favorite movies ever!). Oh, and again I say Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air = FANTASTIC! Go see her!

    Jen, it’s funny to me that I can watch 10 movies in one day but you can read 10+ books in 1 week. Um, yours is way better. You still amaze me!

  4. 4 Diana March 21, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    I’ve only seen Up, Up in the Air, and Precious. I liked all three and actually saw Up and Up in the Air two times in the theater.

    The actress who played the teacher in Precious is Paula Patton, and she’s married to singer Robin Thicke. She does resemble Alicia Keys.

    If you’re a fan of Anna Kendrick, you should check her out in Rocket Science. That’s the first movie with her that I’d ever seen.

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