Meh, rest of thon not so good.
First, some more notes about the good parts:
"The Last Mimsy" is a surprisingly good film, a kids' movie excellently written and acted, with an engaging story. I found it structurally interesting for having both the expected kid protagonists (bro and sis who find strange artifacts that give them strange abilities and insights) as well as several adult roles of equal prominence. Often in movies like this, grown-ups serve as background scenery, defining the world that the kids leave behind while they adventure; when they do step forward, it's to present obstacles the kids must overcome. Here, the adults are as central to the story as the little main characters. The writing is clever, simplifying the grown-ups' actions and dialogue just enough to keep it easy for young viewers to grok, without reducing them to flat and uninteresting cartoons. Good work.
"In the Shadow of the Moon" is a brilliant documentary, constructed of interviews with several Apollo astronauts. I dare you to watch it and not fall in love with Mike Collins (the fella who piloted the command module while Neil and Buzz did their famous first). This DVD would make a great present for certain family members of mine.
"After the World Ended" is a mostly brilliant fake documentary about a post-megaplague San Fransisco with fewer than 200 people living in it, as recorded by one survivor who happens to have a knack for filmmaking. I was skeptical, but the acting, writing and (minimal) cinematography really succeeds in making it all believable. Yes, everyone has perfect hair and makeup, a decade after civilization went away. I think this nit is balanced by the fact that one of the survivors is Adam from Mythbusters
, playing himself. How can you not love that?
So about the latter half of the thon:xartofnothingx
had to leave before midnight since she couldn't get Monday off of work, and daerr
went home to nap at the same time and never returned
, leading me to conclude that he's been abducted by space zombies. He will be missed.
They were both superior company while they were there, and I'm very happy that they joined me for that duration. But I had never tried to thon alone before, and after 12 hours of it I know that I'll never do that
again. For me (and, I suspect, for many other thonners) the group experience happens on two levels: the entire audience, and the group you came in with. With the opportunity absent, I learned that much of my thon-joy is less about enjoying the movies and more from shared experiences with friends sitting beside me. And when I do feel the need to participate in screen-talk, it comes as comments made to my buddies (at overhearable volume), as opposed to shouted one-liners, which is usually the province of sad men sitting alone. (One of these lonesome comedians sat in front of me again this year, but thankfully only for the length of one picture.)
The result of this is that I was feeling conspicuously alone during the thon's latter half. I didn't really expect that to happen, so it took a while for me to realize I wasn't having much fun, and in the meantime the lack of fun was making me cranky. This was not the best attitude to watch a series of extraordinarily negative films, which is what the remainder of the thon served up.
After my last post, I returned in time to catch the last half or so of "Black Sheep". (2006 Kiwi horror/comedy, not 1990s Farrel/Spade stupid/comedy.) It is way over the top in grossout violence, and since I was already on negative footing, seeing scenes of people suffering and screaming for help as their bodies were slowly torn apart didn't get teh yuks out of me.
While the rest of the audience roared in shock and laughter with each new dismemberment, I thought about the victims' lives ending, all their hopes and dreams snuffed out, the loss that their children and spouses would suffer. Or maybe some would manage to crawl to safety with their unspeakable mutilations, be rejected by their loved ones and discarded by society, and commit suicide in despair some months or years later. Would you laugh at that, assholes? Would that be funny?
This is what I was thinking. Yeah, I know. I probably should have gone home at this point.
Instead I stayed to watch "1984", the one with John Hurt in it. It seems a pretty solid adaptation, and I enjoyed it up until Winston's capture, when his subsequent torture and breakage takes up the entire third act of the film. It was excellently acted but hard to watch, in part because it gets kind of boring. Sorry. (It was interesting to learn the implication that "The Party" came to power in England in the vacuum after a nuclear war, which I didn't catch when reading the novel so long ago. Of course the first thing I think of is "V for Vendetta", which is far more explicit about the very same setup.)
I did not want to watch "Sound of Thunder" or some shlocky thing I've already forgotten the title of, so I went home to nap, and returned to see the closer, "A Boy and his Dog", and here I finally met my defeat. Someday, I will watch this movie all the way through. It seems to be a good film to see under the influence of negativity, but my lonely and sleep-deprived grouchiness was entirely the wrong flavor. It is a very black comedy where the protagonists are a young serial rapist and a misogynist dog who talks like Harlan Ellison, hunting through post-nuke-holocaust Phoenix for food and pussy. Perhaps the plot gains nuances after the opening setup, but it just made me feel hateful, so finally I packed up and left.
The first half of the thon was so much fun that the whole event was once again a net win. But I'll have to start getting a group together earlier, next time.