Surviving The 20 Hour Movie Marathon Challenge

I received the invitation from Citibank to participate in the 20 Hour Movie Marathon Challenge organized by them in conjunction with their 20th Anniversary celebration. The challenge was held at The Shaw Cinema (Lido) over last weekend.

150 contestants were selected to take part, but only some 50 over showed up, guess everyone else had something better to do. But to me, I took it as a very interesting way to spend the weekend, since I enjoy watching movies, and staying up for more than 20 hours has been something I do almost regularly, plus, the winner who survived through it gets to fly to Hollywood and stay for free for 4 nights. Given all the good reasons to be in it, who would say no?

The challenge began on 12 noon on Saturday. The first show being played was The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Followed by Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Million Dollar Baby, The Pianist, Lost In Translation, Crash, Pan’s Labyrinth and No Country for Old Men. I might have gotten the sequence messed up, but it is correct that 9 films were played in the span of 20 hours. There were 15-minute breaks between the show, and two 30-minute breaks for meals.

Besides Gladiator (which I have watched 4 times prior to that), all the other films were new to me, and apparently all of them were Oscar’s winners except The Mummy which was played out of the courtesy of Shaw, which is not the winner and I don’t think will ever be.

The Pianist was a true test of endurance. Good news is they played it before midnight, I managed to survive it without a blink.

But the ultimate showdown kicked in when they played Pan’s Labyrinth as the 8th show (played between 4.30am to 6.30am on Sunday). I was seriouly considering giving up as I rapidly dozed off (without getting caught) and I had absolutely no fucking idea what was going on in the show. If not because giving up has never been in my vocabulary, I would have dropped out. I kept reminding myself, if I have come this far, I might as well finish it.

No Country for Old Men was another boring film, but the shooting and blood spilling did help a lot in keeping one awake.

In the end, of all the 50 over contestants, only 10 did not make it to the end. In order to choose the winner among the 40 plus, we had to answer 20 movie quiz and the person who has the most correct answers in shortest time will win. Since speed is never my forte, I did not win. But I was happy enough with the experience, it is the kind of experience that does not come by easily. Now I have something to brag about when I get old.

But frankly, I was kind of glad that it wasn’t Citibank’s 50th anniversary.