What will you be doing on Oscar night this year? If you and the Academy are not on speaking terms (maybe that whole Crash debacle is fresh in your memory), you might want to do something in defiance. But I still love movies, you might say. Also, I’m incredibly reckless with my health and I have tons of disposable time, as well as all these awesome snacks and a great entertainment center. You sound like a cool guy, and we want to help you out with this.
We’ve picked you (yeah-huh, you) to host the 24 Hour Non-Oscar-Thon. Twenty four straight hours of movies from last year that the Academy refused to nominate in a single category this year. Sure The Lone Ranger was considered a joke by many, but it collected two nominations. Sure Inside Llewyn Davis was considered a "snub" but it also registered two nods. Nobody knows what The Book Thief and especially Alone But Not Alone are, but they too are Oscar nominees. There's still a wide swath of interesting 2013 movies without nominee status waiting to be watched.
These aren’t necessarily the best movies of 2013, but the marathon is an attempt to get a diverse collection of popular flavors from last year’s movies. Not only were films with shorter runtimes preferred (sorry, all three hours of Blue Is The Warmest Color) but it was important to note where and when films should be slotted – needless to say, things should get weird after midnight, and intensify as we reach the stretch run. Apologies to Lee Daniels’ The Butler, the wuxia A Touch Of Sin, the charming Frances Ha, the totally gross The Canyons and the joyous The We And The I, all of which didn’t make the very final cut. If you’d like, when you do your own marathon, feel free to sub those in.
Monsters UniversitySeemed like Pixar had this nomination in the bag, no? Instead of joining the five-film Best Animated Feature category, the prequel will have to settle for kickstarting this marathon. Ideally, you’d start at noon, so maybe have some juice boxes and some little ones hanging around. The rest of the lineup’s going to get slightly more adult-centric from here on out.
Enough SaidIf you have little rugrats running around, you’re probably old enough to appreciate the issues of aging and parenthood at the center of Nicole Holofcener’s comedy-drama. You can also get a whiff of two of the best performances the Oscars didn’t even sneeze at: Julia Louis-Dreyfus went HAM on this role, but the voters went for Meryl Streep’s just plain "ham" in August: Osage Country. And in probably his last great role, the late James Gandolfini is warm and tender as a shy divorcee comfortable in his own skin. You can get misty-eyed. Plenty of movies coming up.
Side EffectsSome nice hors d’oeuvres should be laid out for Steven Soderbergh’s final theatrical film, an old-school upscale erotic thriller from earlier in the year. It’s still early enough that you can get invested in these films, so watch the first half hour lull you before the first of many neck-breaking twists.
In A World…As mentioned before, you have to pace yourself, so this marathon continues to take it nice and easy. But make no mistake, things are getting heavier: following Soderbergh’s thriller with this charming, sweet comedy about a woman in the male-dominated voiceover business seems, at first, to be softening the vibe. But this show business comedy (written and directed by, and starring, Lake Bell) is loaded with subtext about institutionalized sexism and complex issues of feminist hierarchies. Have some dinner during this, either something nice and fancy (it’s an indie film!) or just some delicious delivered pizza (Ken Marino makes funny faces!).
Pacific RimIt’s primetime, so here’s the fest’s token blockbuster. Somehow, Guillermo Del Toro’s robot magnum opus received no acknowledgement in the Visual Effects category at the Oscars, but in this fest, you will believe a robot can use a sword to whup a monster’s ass. Bring out the chips and dip, it’s a party.
TranceWe’re headed into night-time hours, so maybe the lights go down low, and we enjoy something a little more for adults. Danny Boyle became an Oscar darling with the one-two punch of Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, but this trippy mystery is more in-line with his "disreputable" early work. James McAvoy plays an art thief patsy placed under hypnotism by Rosario Dawson in order to retrieve the lost art, and what follows is a kinkier, dream-hopping version of Inception, a brainy thrill ride for adults – hopefully the kids who joined you for Pacific Rim are now in bed.
Only God ForgivesIt’s past midnight: as Tom Bower ominously says before his truly gruesome death, "Time to meet the devil." Nicolas Winding Refn’s diabolical Freud-fest about a handsome-but-wimpy American criminal lost in the Thai criminal underworld is the perfect moment where things start to feel strange, and you realize you’ve been watching movies for over twelve hours. The movie showed up on SEVERAL worst-of lists, but among ’13 releases, it’s a singularly unique experience, if only for the haunting cinematography that went completely ignored by the Academy.
Escape From TomorrowAt this point, you may be questioning reality. After all, how is it possible you’re watching a movie illegally shot at Disneyland that actively degrades and insults the Mouse House on its own rides, through the resorts, and all throughout the park? Escape From Tomorrow is bizarre, nonsensical, and often amateurish (not a surprise for a guerilla-shot production), but its dreamlike logic is absolutely perfect as the marathon crosses the 2 AM mark.
LeviathanPretty sure you’re slipping in and out of consciousness at this point. Without commentary, slip this one in. This documentary, which follows longshoremen as they operate a fishing boat through terrifying waves, has no narration, no talking heads, and pretty much no intelligible dialogue. Instead, the camera gets close enough to observe the action from a close-enough perspective that the sort of thing you’ve seen in movies and TV before no longer looks like Earth. The water is black, the ship’s chains long and scaly like tendrils, the bearded men on-board more horrifyingly omnipotent than the Engineers in Prometheus. If you fell asleep and wake in the middle (or even at the beginning, really), you’ll probably think you’re still dreaming.
Pain And GainThere’s gotta be some sort of way you’re waking up, and there’s a good chance you’re experimenting with some shady methods of keeping your body upright. Which means there’s no better time to bust out Michael Bay’s absolutely insane black comedy about bodybuilding kidnappers so dense and so ridiculous that the cops wouldn’t even acknowledge their crimes. There’s a great deal that’s fabricated about this film, but some of the wilder details that Bay captures are totally true. Regardless, at this point it won’t matter, because you probably aren’t doing a great job maintaining the barrier between truth and fiction at this point.
RushBay’s movie was divisive enough that maybe you skipped it. Even if you didn’t, time to sober up and wake wake wake with this full-throttle Ron Howard film about the intense rivalry between two drivers and the races that defined them. Howard’s film, which boasts solid (awards-level?) work from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl, is just square enough to not spook you out of whatever mood you were in during Pain And Gain. But just enough to get you up in your seats, rooting, screaming and howling. You need to put some pep in your step, because the next movie is…
BreakfastOh. It’s not a movie. It’s not a movie at all. Take a half hour. Enjoy some eggs. Recharge a bit. Maybe a quick shower, you probably smell terrible.
Spring BreakersYou’re some sort of wild(wo)man, staying up so long for all these movies! This schedule takes into account minimal breaks of less than five minutes between each movie, so at this point it should be 8:30, and you deserve a bit of swag. Join should-be-nominated James Franco as Alien, corrupting four college girls into a swag-life of crime. By the time he’s screaming, "LOOK AT MY SHIT!" you’ll think it was a religion.
Drug WarMaybe some of y’all went wandering off. Maybe your significant other actually did go to sleep while you stayed up, getting sick just to screw over the Academy. But at 10:05, you should be ready for your final adventure, and it should be Johnny To’s Drug War. How does Johnny To not have a trunk full of Oscars right now? This movie is completely badass, and is filled with gunfights that are like a night at the ballet, filled with razor-sharp editing and breakneck pacing as it builds to a final bloodbath of cinematic excellence. Given a tight schedule, this should take you up to 11:50 AM, though the bet is somehow those "extra" ten minutes are bound to evaporate. Pat yourself on the back. You just finished the 24-Hour Non-Oscar-Thon.