Recap of my marathon viewing - all 7 Star Wars movies in chronological order, starting with Phantom Menace and finishing with The Force Awakens.
I spent 22 hours at the theater watching every Star Wars movie. Started at 1:00 AM on Thursday morning and finished around 9:30 PM the following night. Here is my crazy-awesome story.
P.S. I'm writing this post on Monday night after viewing The Force Awakens a second time AND there are NO spoilers in this post - I promise! It may be long but there are lots of pictures.
You might be thinking to yourself..."Wow, that Leyla must really love Star Wars." Who else would be insane enough to sit in a theater for a whole day without showering just to watch Star Wars? You would be partially incorrect, I like Star Wars but I'm a huge JJ Abrams fan.
We purchased our tickets months in advance (in case you're wondering), it was $70 for the experience and that cool lanyard. I arrived at the theater at 11:30 PM on December 16th, Carlos was already waiting inside and he had tacos. I would've been there sooner but I was watching American Horror Story and it was too good to stop.
Truth be told, I don't know too much about Star Wars (because I'm a girl). I saw Return of the Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back when I was little but not since. My mom dropped my brothers and me off at the theater and we watched the final movie together. I can still remember the excitement when it was over. I didn't think I could wait until I was in my 20s to find out why Darth Vader was the way he was. But I never saw the Phantom Menace or the other two Episodes of the trilogy, so this was my moment. I would finally learn what happened to Darth.
The bar stayed open until Midnight and the first movie started at 1AM (sharp). I wasn't alone in taking the pics of the screen, lots of people did it. No one cared.
My friends all told me to sleep through the first three (or second three) movies. I had no desire to see Phantom Menace, or the others, but after 30+ years of wondering why Darth Vader was so evil, I'd be crazy to fall asleep. I fought hard to stay awake, the howls and laughter from the fanboys kept me entertained. They knew every word and some of them acted out the more popular scenes - their enthusiasm made the experience and the movies more enjoyable.
One movie down, six to go. The time is approximately 3AM and I felt strong. The concession line after Phantom Menace was filled with people dressed in Star Wars attire - I felt a tinge of jealousy.
SIDE NOTE: Contrary to popular opinion, I thought young Anakin was pretty good.
Each movie had a short 15 minute intermission. We had just enough time to get food, go to the washroom, do some jumping jacks and perhaps stretch a bit. Here I am walking back towards the theater around 3:30 AM on Thursday morning. Popcorn in hand (scroll down for the full list of what I ate during the Star Wars marathon).
Here we go again. Time for Episode II: Attack Of The Clones! Despite the horrible special effects of Episode I, I'm still pumped and I'm getting closer to learning the truth about Darth. I have a strong suspicion that Anakin may be related to Darth Vader. I share my theory with my neighbor, "I think I see where this is going" I say. He thinks I'm kidding.
INSIDER INFORMATION: I did not know that the Storm Troopers were clones but I think that's a great idea. A clone army, that's what we should do!
Two movies down, five to go. The time is now 5:50 AM and I'm in pain. Pain from the love story they stupidly weaved into Episode II and physical pain from sitting for a tremendously long time.
I head out of the theater to stretch and to lay down. I've been seated in the theater for almost six and a half hours, at this point my back is killing me. I lay here and contemplate why that movie couldn't be good.
PERSONAL INTERJECTION: I preferred baby boy Anakin to teen angst / date rape Anakin
People are starting to break down but the staff at AMC Theaters were holding up well. They were kind and quick in serving two full theaters of Star Wars marathoners, we got our food and got back to the theater in good time. I don't think we were off schedule once.
On my way back from concessions, I see this going on. The girl from the row in front of me was doing this crazy handstand. What you can't see here is that she did this thing where she had her legs go up and down with her butt against the wall - I can't really describe it. I dared the really large man standing and watching to attempt the handstand, he said "no".
Walking back to my seat, I captured a few of my comrades taking a snoozapalooza. By the look of these guys, I think you can imagine the level exhaustion most of us were feeling. But not all of us, there were plenty of super-nerdy conversations taking place during intermission. By this point in the day, I had my own theories and I could not WAIT to share them with my new Star Wars friends.
My Wookiee neighbors were excited about Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. I have no clue what a Sith is and it's around this time I divulge that I am not a superfan. I hear one of the fanboys tell his friend that he's jealous of me and that he wished he could be in my place. The joy of seeing these movies for the first time. I thought it was sweet.
Three movies down, four to go. Revenge of The Sith is over around 8:30 AM and I am a zombie. I don't know my own name. I'm dribbling. Luckily, we have our first 1:15 minute break at this point. I text my friend who works for the Loews Hotel and head over there for breakfast. An omelette and a cup of coffee and I'm a brand new person. Refueled and ready to keep going!
The time is now 10:10 AM, here is the view of the theater. The nice part was that everyone left their things just sitting in the theater. No one bothered anybody and we all watched each other's belongings. We were becoming a little nerdy family - a smelly nerdy family.
THEATER SECRET: By morning, it smelled like spicy meatball sandwiches and farts.
The place looks like a mess. What you cannot see in this picture is the ginormous cooler that someone brought in with them. I wish I had known.
FINALLY! IT IS TIME FOR THE REAL MOVIES! Remember, this is the first time I am seeing these films since the 80s, back when I was tiny. I was beyond excited, I can't begin to describe it.
I was so excited to see them, I had to take pictures of C-3PO and R2D2 on the screen! And Darth too, he was so scary. I remembered the movie like it was yesterday.
Four movies down, three to go. I can't lie, I fell asleep during A New Hope. I didn't want to but it was really hard, I hadn't slept in so long!! Time for another intermission, it's now 12:15 PM and my movie-mates are doing their best.
I needed to get out of the theater and take a walk down the hall. After 11 hours of movie-watching I thought it was a good idea to take a selfie with a Wookiee. It looks kinda real - it did in my mind.
My little Wookiee friend was having a hard time staying awake too.
And then I saw this guy... he was wearing his PJs, slippers and a bathrobe. If this guy had walked past me 4 hour earlier, I would've thought less of him. Instead, I viewed him as an international hero.
Now things are getting GOOD! It's time for The Empire Strikes Back and I cannot wait! The time is 12:45 PM on Thursday.
Seeing this on the big screen made me scream out in laughter - probably as I did as a little girl. It reminded me of all funny scenes in 80s movies we'd now see as being "inappropriate".
Five movies down, only two to go. Empire Strikes Back is over and I am starting to get sad. I feel refreshed, renewed and excited but a little depressed. I am starting to realize the end is closing in on us... soon, my nerd family will be dissolved. Maybe it's just the massive amounts of sodium talking.
I head back down to concessions for more food. I'm now eating a pizza with a soda concoction made up of diet coke, regular coke, a splash of cherry coke and a few other flavors. Clearly, I'm delirious.
The neighbors behind us had a Yoda doll with them and the girl in the dark robe had a bag of oranges she shared with everyone. Everybody was really nice and shared their food - if they had a lot to give. It was kind of like a Grateful Dead concert (not really).
It's time! It's time! Return of The Jedi is about to start and the time is about 3:15 PM. Everyone in the theater is sitting at the edge of their seat. You can't imagine the cheers, the clapping, the thrills!
So much of the film felt like home, like seeing Billy Dee Williams and his super smooth smile, it brought back memories I didn't quite understand. Jabba the Hutt was just as gross as I remembered, his boogers and his gross tongue. And Princess Leyla, I mean Leia, looks amazing in that slave outfit. If I could, I would wear the Princess Leia slave costume while cleaning the house. There also many moments that had to be explained to me, like "It's a trap!" I know Admiral Akbar but I didn't know about the meme.
Six movies down, only ONE to go! The marathon is coming to a close, Return of the Jedi is over and everyone is bugging.
MINOR THEORY: In multiple scenes I hear Han Solo or Princess Leia say, "Punch it" referring to the Millennium Falcon as they kick it into light speed. When we were little, we always said "punch it", I wonder if that's where it came from.
The final intermission is from about 6:00PM until 7:15 PM. We're all a little sad at this point. I tell my neighbors that I will miss their commentary. I knew I'd feel left out since they would not be able to explain it all to me.
The guy above fell asleep and I woke him up 15 mins before the movie started. I think I scared him 1/2 to death - he thought he missed it.
The group below, they're the ones who brought the cooler. They had a really pleasant picnic dinner during the final intermission. I went to Whole Foods and bought carrots - finally! I couldn't stand the salt anymore.
Princess Leia walking to get her final concessions before Episode VII The Force Awakens starts.
Here we go... the final moments before The Force Awakens. The time is 7:00 PM, we've been at the theater for 19 hours at this point and we have but one movie that remains.
Taking selfies with my new found Star Wars nerd family.
At the 19th hour, these two finally introduced themselves. After six movies, four Monster drinks each and me falling asleep on their shoulder twice.
I don't think Wookiees ever get tired. These guys never seemed to be tired.
Here I am... just before THE FORCE AWAKENS! I'm oddly awake.
Time to put on our 3-D glasses! The lights are going down.
The crowd is going wild while the credits play. The applause and the roars are too much to handle. And then, just as the Star Wars music starts, you hear a POP! This kid opens a bottle of champagne - bravo kid, bravo!
The crowd was beyond excited. You can hear them clapping waiting for the previews.
Just after the screams and the roars of the crowd are over. As the opening credits continue to roll, I hear my neighbor say something softly to his friend. I wished I could've recorded it because it was so genuine and I can't possibly regurgitate how it was said but it was something like this...
"Can you believe it? We're actually here. We're actually seeing this after all these years. I never thought I'd live to see this moment"
7 movies down, zero to go! The movie is over, we stick around for a few to discuss our theories and we all head out of the theater. It's not as sad as I expected it to be, 22+ hours later, we were ready to go back to our homes and deal with the force on our own time.
In case you're wondering what I look like after 22 hours of sitting in a movie theater... here you go!
So... What did I think?
I loved it and I am so, so, so glad I saw it the way I did. It was so incredible to be in that little theater with a room full of superfans. It felt like a grade school lock-in, like the kind we had before the shooting rampages took over. I wouldn't change the way I watched the first six movies, so fun seeing them with people who knew all of the word. And, the new movie was great too - I highly recommend seeing The Force Awakens even if you don't watch all six prior to your viewing. I would ask you to watch Return of the Jedi - at the very least.
So... What was my favorite part?
Seeing Ken Leung, of course! It was probably the only time I blurted something out loud during The Force Awakens. I recognized Miles the second he walked onto the screen as part of the Resistance. I told you I was a JJ Abrams fan -- I'm a true Lostafarian.
So... What did I eat?
- 2 beers at midnight
- 2 tacos upon arrival
- 1 bottle of water
- 1 small popcorn
- 1 bag of Snickers bites
- 1 small coke, diet coke, cherry coke concoction
- 1 omelette with hashed browns
- 1 small coffee
- 1 small sprite and water concoction
- 1 small pizza
- 1 small tin of candy
- 1 bag of carrots
- 1 small bag of dried mango
So... Would I do it again?
Maybe not tomorrow but I'd certainly do it again!