I Went To A Megaplex To Watch Twilight For 14 Hours Straight
11:10 a.m. Arrival at the megaplex with my companion Cassandra Dusseldorf-McClanahan (name changed at her request). Megaplex nearly deserted. Make brief, furtive eye contact with a girl wearing a spirit hood.
11:12 a.m. Receive official Twilight Saga Marathon wristband and lanyard from ticket tearer. She assures me I may keep both.
11:14 a.m. Overweight man in Superman sweatshirt holds door for me on my way into the auditorium. Says, “If you take my seat I’ll have to beat you up” while grinning.
11:15 a.m. Theater contains ~12 people including Cassandra and myself.
11:20 a.m. Girl wearing spirit hood opens a 40, places it in armrest cupholder.
11:28 a.m. Man with intricately sculpted facial hair appears at front of auditorium. Explains the “basic scheduling” of the event. Says “We have 66 tickets sold for this… this doesn’t look like 66 people…” with grim facial expression.
11:31 a.m. Special Twilight Saga Marathon footage includes loose interview with the actors who play three secondary Cullen family members. They talk earnestly about finding the fans’ enthusiasm overwhelming.
11:35 a.m. “Twilight” title appears over sweeping view of Pacific Northwest. Feel calm and invigorated.
11:37 a.m. Jacob’s white teeth seem hypnotic. Forgot he wears a heinous wig for this entire movie.
11:39 a.m. A tertiary character assures Bella that her arrival at Forks High School is “news, baby, front page.” Feel intense nostalgia for high school despite or perhaps because of near total lack of similarity between my high school experience and the one portrayed in this film.
11:43 a.m. First giggles from audience as Edward initially smells Bella.
11:52 a.m. Edward abruptly leaves a conversation. Feel like I’m falling in love with him all over again.
11:56 a.m. Screen goes black for ~2 seconds. Can hear projectionist yelling.
12:00 p.m. Cassandra, re: Edward: “This is like textbook abusive behavior.” He seems unable to make eye contact… his hair… feel flustered…
12:20 p.m. A montage of Bella using the internet to discover Edward’s true nature. Suspect that montages of people using the internet will soon be the core of every movie.
12:23 p.m. Edward’s eyebrows look amazing…
12:33 p.m. “My family…we think of ourselves as vegetarians because we survive on the blood of animals…”
12:40 p.m. Solitary cackle from one audience member when Edward shows Bella his room and says “This is my room.”
12:48 p.m. No reaction from audience during Edward and Bella’s first kiss.
12:50 p.m. Bella’s dad is drinking while cleaning his rifle. Seems like the most depressed character.
12:56 p.m. Cassandra claims James the evil vampire is “so much hotter than Edward Cullen” and “looks like a revolutionary war fighter.” Feel alienated.
1:16 p.m. Bella being thrown through a window gets a huge laugh.
1:20 p.m. Jacob’s eyebrows are for shit.
1:21 p.m. Converse high-tops with prom dress make Bella look like a tacky Hot Topic bitch.
1:35 p.m. Sunlight in megaplex lobby is oppressive. People wearing lanyards wander aimlessly around large cardboard structures advertising Life of Pi and Red Dawn. Listen to disembodied voice advertising The Hobbit for ~15 seconds.
1:40 p.m. 5-minute discussion with Cassandra of whether to get lunch from Chipotle, Potbelly, or Panera, or forgo lunch to walk to the liquor store. We go to Chipotle.
1:46 p.m. Girl wearing spirit hood is ahead of me in line at Chipotle, with two companions. One companion is wearing a shirt with the word “dubstep” appearing twice. Probable age range 15-17. Don’t understand why they didn’t have to go to school today.
1:58 p.m. Return to auditorium. Closer inspection of other patrons, who have increased in number, reveals great diversity in age, race, gender. Three people wearing animal-themed hats in addition to girl wearing spirit hood. Collective mood seems calm, even sardonic.
2:02 p.m. Man with intricately sculpted facial hair appears and asks, “Is anyone experiencing the screen seeming like, dark?” Chorus of “yes.” Feel embarrassed and removed from group experience — had not noticed screen darkness whatsoever. He says they are changing a lightbulb and the film will start in 10 to 15 minutes.
2:11 p.m. Cassandra receives a call from her boss. Grins while explaining that she is not coming in to work today. Keeps telling her boss she has to go because the movie is starting.
2:13 p.m. Same group of secondary actors talks about filming New Moon. One of them remains silent for ~1 minute before stating his embarrassment at not contributing to the conversation.
2:18 p.m. Mysterious bright light appears from projection booth, shines onto seats.
2:21 p.m. Jacob calls his motorcycle “the rabbit”… vibrator joke?
2:23 p.m. Crowd seems more receptive to “on purpose” jokes like Edward saying, “Can’t trust vampires — trust me.” Unsure what has changed.
2:27 p.m. Edward’s hair, eyebrows, and American accent have all improved.
2:43 p.m. Someone nearby is weeping at continuous shot of Bella staring out the window over a period of months following Edward’s departure.
2:56 p.m. Cackling laughter from one audience member when Bella’s dad calls himself a “terminal bachelor.”
3:01 p.m. Audience catcalls when Jacob takes off his shirt seem forced, perfunctory.
3:03 p.m. I submit the film-within-the-film title Face Punch to anyone who assumes this series lacks self-awareness.
3:06 p.m. Cassandra and I get into extended whispered argument over whether Jacob is just as pushy and manipulative as Edward in his own way. Cassandra says she wishes Edward would never come back and the rest of the movies could be about Jacob. Feel alone.
3:25 p.m. Same cackling audience member laughs at the lines “Guess the wolf’s out of the bag” and “Is it possible that everything is true?”
3:44 p.m. Feel bewildered by huge laugh gotten by Jacob saying “Things are gonna get very ugly,” re: impending climax.
3:53 p.m. Murmurs of unrest in the audience when Edward takes off his shirt.
3:56 p.m. Dakota Fanning…
3:57 p.m. Extended fantasy of writing an 85,000-word Twilight/Richard Yates crossover fanfic and emailing it to Tao Lin.
4:16 p.m. No audience reaction to Edward proposing to Bella other than one woman in a cat-ears hat clapping insanely.
4:19 p.m. Pass man with intricately sculpted facial hair explaining to a disgruntled woman that he can’t fix the surround sound. Hadn’t noticed any problem with the sound.
4:24 p.m. Cassandra leads me to enormous liquor store I’ve never seen before. Become fixated on picture of Michael Bublé on six-pack of miniature wine bottles.
4:36 p.m. Return to auditorium. Woman has moved into the seat next to mine. Stares intently forward when I look at her as if to question her presence. She has a “My Pillow Pal” pillow. Impossible to tell what the “pal” is.
4:43 p.m. Man with intricately sculpted facial hair appears at the front of the auditorium and begins to apologize profusely for battery of technical problems I haven’t noticed. Says the electrical supply is failing in the auditorium. We will move to a different auditorium after the next film. In the meantime he will give everyone a voucher for a free movie “on us.” Biggest cheer from audience so far.
4:46 p.m. Cassandra transfers bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to Gatorade-branded squeeze bottle.
4:48 p.m. Pillow pal is a purple hippo.
4:53 p.m. Three secondary actors talk about paparazzi, seem discouraged.
4:55 p.m. Forgot about the random hot guy who takes up ~25% of this movie.
5:05 p.m. First signs of physical exhaustion. Contact lenses beginning to dry out.
5:11 p.m. The main “villain” vampire’s actress has been fired and replaced for this movie.
5:19 p.m. Cassandra mutters “I want a baby.” Think she’s talking about Jacob.
5:32 p.m. Claimed as recently as one month ago that this movie was better than New Moon and anyone who said otherwise was too Team Jacob to be objective. Suspect now that I was the one blinded by my allegiance. This movie is inessential as hell.
5:43 p.m. Random hot guy is acting really hard. Seems like he’s in a student production of “Death of a Salesman.”
6:00 p.m. Random hot guy seems like he tried out to play Troy Bolton in High School Musical and got through two rounds of auditions before losing out, became increasingly bitter over a series of years.
6:08 p.m. Cassandra, belligerent, whispers, “He looks so stupid” when Edward appears on screen.
6:11 p.m. Bella unsuccessfully tries to get Edward to have sex with her. Remember rereading this scene in the book like 10 times in 2007… but I already knew she doesn’t succeed after reading it one time…
6:18 p.m. Feel surprised that it took the series this long to employ “There’s a storm coming” in dialogue.
6:22 p.m. Edward and Jacob have a tense but witty conversation in a tent as Bella sleeps. These rivals have come together in the interest of protecting her. Remember thinking this scene was really homoerotic during initial reading of Eclipse and feeling “into” that. Doesn’t seem that hot anymore.
6:25 p.m. Projector bulb is visibly dying.
6:33 p.m. Random hot guy seems like he would play Edward once the show left Broadway and went on tour.
6:44 p.m. Cassandra is getting more depressed as possibility of Jacob and Bella getting together gets more remote; rest of audience becoming more vindictive toward him. Cackler laughs at silent shot of Jacob lying in bed with a cast.
6:48 p.m. Bella refers to “stumbling”/”out of step” motif that has been largely absent since the first film. Feel strong nostalgia for first film. Feel like that was days ago.
6:56 p.m. Move to new, much smaller auditorium. Girl wearing spirit hood stomps in while saying “Kiss my ass” to her companions. “You guys suck, you know that?” Her male companion asks, “Do you even know where we’re going?” to which she replies, “I know where I’m going.” He says, “I know where I’m going too — out,” and leaves.
6:58 p.m. Woman next to me loudly espousing theory that the story about the screen brightness was a ploy by the megaplex management to get us into a smaller auditorium for some money-related reason.
7:02 p.m. Cassandra refills the Gatorade bottle with a second bottle of wine. Gatorade bottle has “2 Corinthians 1:10″ written on lid.
7:09 p.m. Man in Superman sweatshirt leaning over seat in front of him to tell woman three rows ahead how to jailbreak a Bluray player.
7:12 p.m. Movie theater employee asks me if I’ve been here since the beginning of the marathon, seems surprised when I say I have.
7:20 p.m. Boyfriend (?) of girl wearing spirit hood is back. All three members of spirit hood party looking down at their respective phones.
BREAKING DAWN: PART ONE
7:26 p.m. Secondary actors arguing about not being invited to each other’s parties. “I felt really lonely while we were shooting this one,” says one of them in an accusatory tone.
7:40 p.m. Pretty sure I cried during this wedding the last three times I saw this movie.
7:42 p.m. Crying this time too. I love weddings…the song from the prom in the first movie…I love Twilight…
7:47 p.m. Intentional comedy firing on all cylinders with audience right now.
8:04 p.m. Can’t believe Edward breaking the headboard during the sex scene got a laugh…I love this sex scene…who are these people…feel…overwhelmed…
8:12 p.m. Intense feelings of gratitude for every frame of sex shown in this film.
8:16 p.m. Edward’s handwriting is magnificent.
8:29 p.m. Heated whispered argument with Cassandra about Jacob vs. Edward. Me: “Jacob looks like a Frankenstein.” Her: “Robert Pattinson is unacceptable.” “Poisonous language doesn’t soften anybody’s heart, it doesn’t change anybody’s mind.” –W.M. Romney, noted Twilight fan
8:38 p.m. Mental capacity diminishing. Feel like I’ve been reduced to thoughts like “It looks like a Barbie house,” “She has a big-ass forehead,” “Why is his ear pierced,” etc.
8:42 p.m. Cackler resurfaces when Carlyle tells Bella the prognosis for her botched pregnancy, mentions probable heart failure.
8:45 p.m. Feel scared of the upcoming shot in which Bella stands up and her spine visibly breaks. Feel like I’m a hostage to my fear of this shot.
8:58 p.m. Caught off-guard laughing at the baby name “Renesmee” when the spine snap happens. Fuck this bullshit movie.
9:05 p.m. Baby has an uncanny valley CGI face. Hate looking at it.
9:08 p.m. Wish Jacob was hotter as a wolf. Don’t know what my criteria is for wolf hotness, but pack leader Sam is the hottest wolf.
9:12 p.m. Crying during Bella’s recovery montage…
9:15 p.m. Michael Sheen explains with disdain to a dim-witted human that “Carlisle” is spelled with an S before killing her. Feel personally victimized.
9:22 p.m. “Don’t get me wrong I’m jacked all to fuck for Breaking Dawn Part Two. This is the first time all day the movie will have a true element of surprise for me. And doubly so since I barely remember the second half of the book. In fact I’ll be surprised to see what they even put in this movie, all the important stuff in that book happens in the first half. I’m really excited. But at the same time it’s like bittersweet. This is the last movie… the series will be over after this one… I feel a little skeptical about Twilight’s staying power in the culture y’know, I’m not altogether sure it will remain in the consciousness without new movies to sustain interest. I feel like Twilight is slipping through my fingers…I feel powerless against the inexorable march of time…I feel hyper-aware of death…” –me to Potbelly employee
BREAKING DAWN: PART TWO
9:45 p.m. Since this is the first and only current-release film we’re seeing, there are commercials. Feel like the concept of commercials is completely insane. The auditorium is nearly full.
9:59 p.m. “Everyone seems to really like these commercials.” — Cassandra between feverish handfuls of Chipotle chips
10:02 p.m. Boisterous clapping and cheering at lights going down. We have endured. We are entering the home stretch. “Abstinence makes the heart grow stronger” — poster at my middle school. I’m ready. I want you Twilight.
10:07 p.m. Series of trailers serve as jarring reminder that other movies besides Twilight exist. Feel unable to absorb their content.
10:16 p.m. Amazing Calvin Harris song in trailer for film in which Billy Crystal gets hit in the nuts with a baseball bat. Feel like it’s been months since I’ve watched Twilight. Need Twilight.
10:22 p.m. Finally the movie is starting. Concerned the coherence of my notes will take a huge dip because of extreme desire to earnestly enjoy this film.
10:23 p.m. Spectacular font-changing during these opening credits. From a serif to a sans serif… from red to white… purity… perfection in all things…
10:32 p.m. The baby is fucked and terrifying. Looks like an adult baby. Reminds me of those medieval paintings of baby Jesus.
10:35 p.m. Bella is doing her best acting in five movies while yelling at Jacob for being in love with the baby.
10:52 p.m. Audience member yells, “Take off your shirt” at clothed Jacob.
10:59 p.m. There are at least 500 secondary characters in this film. Cassandra has said “He’s hot” about the last 10 characters introduced.
11:12 p.m. Feel like there was a period in my life when every book I read had a character named Stefan.
11:25 p.m. Bunk is in this movie???? Extended fantasy of writing 200,000-word Twilight/The Wire crossover fanfic and emailing it to David Simon.
11:40 p.m. Renesmee is finally played by a human child but these long nails…
11:48 p.m. Complete game changer. This film has gone off-book. Two non-canon deaths and counting. Audience is losing it.
11:53 p.m. Man near me standing up, repeatedly screaming “KILL HER” re: Dakota Fanning. Crowd has become ravenous for bloodsport. Can I reiterate that no one dies in this battle in the book.
11:56 p.m. Eight-minute gory battle was a fake-out. Brilliant solution to book’s non-climax. Feel honest and extreme admiration for the filmmakers. Love this movie. Love everything.
12:04 a.m. Audio and visual repetition of word “forever” is working on me extremely well.
12:09 a.m. Movie is over. Each actor gets their own slide in the credits, including people who only appeared in one previous film. Even the actress who was fired and replaced is showcased. Extreme rush of emotion. Feel as though these are my closest friends. Keep thinking “Forever…” Feel drained and ecstatic. Feel despondent that Twilight is over. Forever. Cassandra and I are both openly weeping. Extreme feeling of satisfaction at having given myself to Twilight for the past thirteen hours. Feel unable to return to real world. Feel passionate, undying love. Forever. Forever…
A | A | A
Will it feel the same when you tell me you love me over the phone? Will the peacefulness of those words still floor me from thousands of miles away?
I was conflicted. It felt like one eye was trying to look away while the other soaked it up. I felt the heat rise in my face. This was wrong. But it didn’t feel wrong.
Any nervous flyer knows the progression of descending panic: bile, sweaty palms, social awkwardness and self-induced sedation.
I know how it feels when the weight of darkness crashes down onto your chest in the middle of the night, and how you wish things would stop spinning because the axis seems tilted now. I know, love, I know.