After Mimzy was IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON which is an absolutely riveting documentary on the Apollo missions where the participants themselves tell you the stories behind the moon shots. You should see it when you have the chance; it's that good. I'll also have to see it at some point because I missed it while trying to get some dinner down.
Then there was AFTER THE WORLD ENDED, which is a fictitious documentary about a devastating planet-wide plague, and the 186 survivors in the Bay Area. It played out amazingly real, and presented interesting, complex characters and their answers to many of the questions we'd have when considering a plague which left so few of the population standing. There's a woman who is looking for a surrogate father. There's a scavenger who has no qualms about breaking into homes of the dead and taking only the best stuff. There's a disturbed arsonist who's been run out of town once already and is still considered by most to be a true menace...
This is where we had one of those Marathon Moments, and while I'm loath to mention it involves an injoke, I'll just give you a quick history: We've watched PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES several times now, an Italian-made science-fiction flick dubbed into English. However, the translation makes sure that every character who addresses another uses that character's name in every sentence. Spatch, you can easily see how annoying that be. Don't you see how annoying it can be, Spatch? Hey, Spatch, hasn't it gotten annoying?
Well, the captain of the mission in this movie was named Mark. And in the movie people talked to Mark a lot. So much so, in fact, that the insouciant audience during the first Marathon screening began to echo every utterance. Every time Mark's name is mentioned, a cheerful MARK!! would go up from the crowd. One year there's an attempt to count the number of times "Mark" is said in the film (I think the figure ended up just under 300.) And now, whenever there's a chance in another film, someone might just curiously wonder if Mark is hanging out as well.
So it was with AFTER THE WORLD ENDED. We come across a scene where two characters have entered an inhabited home and hesitantly search for whoever's there. It turns out to be the arsonist. There's a tense moment when they discover him, and both sides regard each other warily. It is at this moment that several of us in the audience let fly with a well-placed "Mark?!"
To which the two searchers immediately ask the same thing. "Mark?!" And what do you know, it turns out to be Mark.
Marathon Moment. You Had To Be There. I'm Sure.
After after the world ended, we saw a short called EDEN which was this planet colonization mission-turned-Mexican standoff, and several people shoot several other people for no real reason, and then there's a twist ending and we all went "Uh, okay."
We were supposed to see A BOY AND HIS DOG next but owing to a UPS mixup the print (which the writer/director/producer L.Q. Jones actually struck just for us) is currently languishing in a UPS facility in Allston. Our esteemed and fearless leader Garen is set to call UPS first thing this morning to raise holy hell on a holiday and somehow get the print delivered in time to close the Marathon out, or at least procure a DVD. In the meantime we watched was supposed to be the Marathon closer, the George Pal WAR OF THE WORLDS. Such a compelling version! Alternates between moments of pure human reaction (the little kid and his dog happily noshing away at the contents of an overturned ice cream cart during evacuation) and somewhat cheesy dialogue. Of course the beautiful creepy color effects win out over all, and the now-terribly-familiar sound effects were fun to hear again.
Finally we got to 2001 and it is beautiful and ponderous and detailed and sharp and slow-moving and rotating and creepy and then trippy all at once, but it got the better of me. I realized I'd be much better off lying down in my nice warm bed than in one of the Somerville's side theatres. The movies in between aren't very happy films and no 5:30 am TOHO, so one of my favorite pastimes is shot. I might be up in time tomorrow to get to watch A BOY AND HIS DOG (one of the perks of living two blocks from the theater) but I'm not going to count on it. As far as I'm concerned, I had my Marathon and I enjoyed it greatly, and eagerly look forward to next year already.