movies

Well, great. There goes my shot at a world's record. Someone finally sets up a competition that's right up my alley, and I miss it. I could watch movies from dawn to next dawn without blinking. Granted, five DAYS of constant movie watching would have been a challenge, but, like Abe Lincoln said, anything worth doing is worth doing well.

(Actually, I have no evidence whatsoever that Abe said that, but I kind of feel bad for ridiculing his pennies in last week's column. What better way to make amends to the memory of an American icon but attribute motivational, yet completely fictitious, quotes to him? That being said, I still don't want his pennies.)

Recently a handful of finely tuned athletes — make that slug-like couch potatoes — wrapped up a competition in New York's Times Square during which they watched 57 consecutive films in 123 hours. They were allowed 10-minute potty breaks between movies, but other than that they had to sit there and watch movie after movie after movie, from beginning to end (including seemingly never-ending credits) without diverting their eyes from the screen.

No sweat for yours truly.

I am the guy who, at the end of a party, looks out over the living room at 1 a.m. to discover that everyone else has fallen asleep 20 minutes into "Airplane." Oh sure, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Everyone else said they were "up for a movie" and during the first 10 minutes, my fellow late-night revelers were laughing, quoting lines of dialogue, and adamantly insisting that I not call them Shirley. But the room fell deathly quiet before Ted Striker even buys his smoking ticket.

Pansies — and once again I am the last one awake, watching a movie in a room full of people with their heads back and mouths agape like smallmouth bass. That leaves me with the unenviable chore of waking people up and pointing them in the direction of the door so they can shuffle on home. They always seem so shocked, and sometimes a little irked, when I wake them, as if they can't believe they fell asleep during a movie. Best of all, they look at me like I'm the bad guy! Like I did something wrong! Hey, Rip Van Winkle, you're the one who fell asleep on my couch! You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. (I'll go ahead and attribute that line to Abe as well.)

My problem is that I can't sleep unless I'm horizontal, so, as long as I am sitting, I have no trouble whatsoever making it through late-night movies. If I were lying down, that might be a problem, but otherwise pass the popcorn. Do you want to watch all six episodes of "Star Wars" back to back? I'm there. How about the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy? Count me in. The "Batman" movies? The "Back to the Future" threesome? "The Godfathers?" Take the cannoli, I'm good to go. If the food and drinks are good enough, I'd even sit through the "Jaws" sequels that didn't include Roy Scheider because he was smart enough to get out with some dignity.

I'm not saying it would be easy, but I think I could hang with the likes of Suresh Joachim and Caludia Wavra. They were among the eight record-challengers who began the movie-thon, but they were the only ones who made it through the last flick. I'm sure they had some chemical help along the way — some nice, strong New York coffee and a few dozen Jolt colas. After hour 110, I think I might need something a little more powerful, like a high-amp ACDelco car battery hooked up directly to my armpits, but I'd still be up.

I remember a few Sundays in my BC years (before children) when I'd spend a whole day watching movies. It was glorious. I don't miss much from the BC era, but I do miss those lazy Sundays. Maybe when the kids get a little older, I'll rediscover my butt-on-couch skills and make a go at the record. Besides, 124 hours isn't that long for a late-night party animal like me.

David Spates is a Knoxville resident and Crossville Chronicle contributor whose column is published each Tuesday.