dan had been talking about his 24 hour movie marathon since forever. so it was with great anticipation that i drove up to dan's new place in malden to kickstart an entire day's worth of movie watching. i arrived 30 minutes later than i planned because i spent a long time trying to catch the danios in my aquarium to give them to dan. with all the plant growth it was nearly impossible to see them as they hid underneath the aquatic vegetation. i ended up having to uproot everything in order to seperate out the danios from the tetras. as soon as i had all 4 in a bowl of water, i raced out to malden. i was the first to arrive.

jaws (1975): funny, but i don't recall ever seeing this classic uncut from beginning to end. i must've seen the entire movie when i was very young (i was still growing up in taipei at the time) and the story is familiar enough that even without having seen it in its entirety i still knew what happens next. i'd forgotten the story takes place on cape cod, and i cringe anytime any filmmaker tries to capture that new england spirit on celluloid, whether trying to get non-native actors to adopt a fake boston accent or playing local stereotypes, like the crusty fisherman or the blueblood snob. it's amazing to think people were terrified of jaws, which now seems so tame compared to the generation of new horrors after 30+ years of cinematic evolution. richard dreyfuss is awesome in his overacting, and i keep on waiting for roy scheider to climb into blue thunder and exterminate the killer sharker from his experimental law enforcement helicopter.

dan went to pick up elias and amanda during jaws, and cymara came back at the same time as well. earlier dan raided the nearby BJ wholesales in preparation for the marathon; we had enough food to last for days, not just 24 hours. taking advantage of the first break, we made sandwiches for lunch. dan put my gift of fish into his tank and i was happy to see the danios doing well. clarissa demonstrated her newfound walking ability as well as her amazing grip as she tried to grab the bowls of chips and dips on the coffee table.

24: conspiracy (2005): originally produced for the nascent video cell phone market, this "series" comprised of 24 episodes each a minute long, taking place in that high intensity 24 world of counterterrorism. it's expectedly bad, as the actors have less than 60 seconds to convey the story, so overacting heightened by loud suspenseful music is the norm. what's worse, each episode ends with a "coming up next" sneak preview, which pretty much gives up the plot of the subsequent episode. dan played a few episodes during movie breaks. it was just an appetizer as to the bad cinema that was to come much later.

central station (1988): how this brazilian movie made it into the marathon i'm not sure; there was nothing ironic about it, the story of a late middle age woman who takes a little boy crosscountry to find his biological father (who may or may not be a drunk) after his mother is killed in a car accident. it was a bonafide tearjerker (even said so on the dvd box) and we watched it mostly in silence. after the excitement of jaws and the baffling WTF of conspiracy, central station was a real downer and definitely a movie i'd never watch on my own. of course my idea of a good brazilian movie is the IMHO classic blame it on rio (1985), so you can where my taste stands. a more interesting "station" movie? try the station agent.

john miller showed up right around this time (cymara went to pick him up from the nearby T station) after taking the early bus from new york to boston. he brought some chocolate chip cookies made by deanna. dan played several more conspiracy "mobisodes" to cleanse the palate.

american ninja (1985): more than 4 years ago i was introduced to american ninja but never saw the ending. history has a funny way of repeating itself, since i had to leave before i could finish watching the movie, driving back home to have dinner with my parents and sister on her 30th birthday. however abbreviated, i did see more of the movie this time around though, getting as far as a michael dudikoff motorcycle jump out of the army base to hook up with the daughter of a superior officer. recipe for any successful movie marathon: more dudikoff!

sister's 30th birthday at pho republique

it took me 30 minutes to get from malden to cambridge, where i met my parents at the cafe closing the store, along with my sister. my parents were treating my sister to dinner so she could have her pick. this is the difference between my sister and i: she decides to go to a fancy restaurant, while if it was me i'd pick some place cheap. we went to the pho republique in the south end, a high end vietnamese slash thai fusion restaurant. we clearly didn't belong there, and both my father and i were dressed in jeans, and we were the only asian party eating there. i wanted to run when i saw the prices on the menu: a bowl of pho was $16, about 4x more expensive than what i usually pay for pho. since it was sister's birthday however, i gritted my teeth and played nice. if nothing else, the pho republique is probably one of the prettiest asian restaurants i've been to in the boston area. the pho wasn't anything nice, a lukewarm broth with thick overcooked slices of brisket, and no fan favorites like tripe or tendon (maybe the cultural elites that frequent these places don't look fondly to snacking on the lining of a cow's stomach). the appetizers were far better however, and one in particular, sort of like a big crispy rangoon but with cuts of salmon on the inside like a jumbo sushi. by the time we left i think my sister was thoroughly embarassed by us and hussled quickly back to the car on this windy and cold night. we arrived back at the cafe where i borrowed the car once more, returning to dan's place for more movie marathon moments.

oven baked pizzas were being served and fast, cheap & out of control was playing by the time i got back. john's cousin john was there (there for the ninjas i heard, i haven't seen him since john & deanna's wedding a few years back) but left soon afterwards.

fast, cheap & out of control (1997): this is one of those documentaries that people talk about all the time but i've never seen it before and personally i think all that accolade is a bit overrated. it was interesting however, although i prefer my documentaries in the linear style. i like the works of ken burns and david attenborough. errol morris is often mentioned alongside those other documentarians, but i think his work is more love it or hate it.

mitchell (1975): worst. movie. ever. even with the mystery science theatre 3000 crew's commentary, it still didn't make up for a film that seemed to be a waste of time. i don't even remember the story (was there even one?), spending most of the time hiding in the bathroom or drifting away to my happy place. about a detective on a stakeout which seems to last for the entire duration of the movie. linda evans plays a small role as a high class prostitute and the movie ends with a helicopter-boat chase. i don't think i can ever hear the word "mitchell" and not go into convulsions. (update: 061205: there's a great mitchell review over at the agony booth. now that i've had several days to think it over, i think mitchell is one of those movies that's so bad it's good if you love it ironically.)

earlier amanda had left to go home, and now john was leaving as well. i hitched a ride as dan drove him to the T station to catch the last train back into the city (back to new york via the chinatown express). now it was just dan, elias, and myself, brave enough to endure the second half of the movie marathon.

richard iii (1995): the only time i've ever liked shakespeare was in high school, when i had teachers and fellow students to explain his genius to me. all other times, nothing makes me feel more stupid and illiterate than when i see a work of the bard translated to film. am i the only person in the world who doesn't understand shakespearean english? fortunately i went online at the start of the movie and read up on richard iii so i wasn't as clueless. i think maybe after mitchell i was in a foul mood, and then to have to sit through another movie where i didn't know what was going on, i was teetering on the edge.

spirited away (2001): i seem like the kind of person who'd be into anime but animation doesn't turn me on in the least, unless there's a good story behind it. the last great animated film i saw was the incredibles (2004), and i don't consider cgi animation the same as hand-drawn animation (apples and oranges). playing at 2am, even dan knew that we'd probably be sleeping during this movie. once again, yet another movie where i wasn't sure what the plot was about. a little girl loses her parents and has to live in a fantasy world inhabited by weird creatures, a japanese version of where the wild things are. i wasn't sleepy but i forced myself to go to sleep so i could stop watching for just a moment and gather my strength. confined to the love seat, i moved to the floor for more leg room. it was a bit cold but i was too lazy to get my jacket so i slept with my arms folded tightly across my chest.