Movies

The Best Picture Showcase Once Again Tests The Spines Of A Weary Nation

Blue aliens in Avatar. i i

hide captionAvatar is one of the ten Best Picture nominees that our marathon coverage will bring you over the next two weekends.

Twentieth Century Fox
Blue aliens in Avatar.

Avatar is one of the ten Best Picture nominees that our marathon coverage will bring you over the next two weekends.

Twentieth Century Fox

Last year at this time, when our Twitter feed had about 8 followers, I live-tweeted my trip to my local AMC theater for the Best Picture Showcase, where they run through all the Best Picture contenders in one day.

Of course, that was when there were five of them.

Now, as you probably know, there are ten of them. That means that the Best Picture Showcase will take place this year on two consecutive Saturdays, the first of which is this weekend.

(There is also a 24-hour version on March 6, and while you're all lovely people, I would not watch a 24-hour movie marathon starting at 12:01 a.m. unless the entire thing consisted of Neil Patrick Harris doing magic tricks. Maybe not even then.)

I will, however, be watching five Best Picture nominees this weekend and five the following weekend in preparation for NPR's Oscar coverage. Quite honestly, I've already seen most of them, but there is something about this merciless schedule — this trying slog — that strikes me as my Olympic event. It is my ski jump. It is my triple lutz. It's also a good refresher and a reasonable chance to actually compare movies to each other. (The Reader looked especially slow and deadly up against the other far more absorbing films that were on last year's bill.)

Last year, my brain traveled through a fairly standard movie experience (watching Milk), to a period of pure gutting it out (watching The Reader), to a period of being surprised I wasn't more traumatized and thought perhaps I was beginning to go insane (watching The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button), to a period of fantasizing about leaving early (Slumdog Millionaire) to a period of feeling like a hero for still being present when many, many people had left (Frost/Nixon).

This Saturday's schedule: Avatar, Up In The Air, Precious, The Blind Side, and Inglourious Basterds. The following Saturday: Up, A Serious Man, The Hurt Locker, An Education, and District 9.

Tweeting in the theater is as frowned upon as it is anywhere else, but you can follow my every Diet Coke refill, random dash into the hallway to breathe fresh air, and quite possibly descent into madness, just by following along.

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