“A Million in the Morning” chronicles brain-addling marathon of movie watching
The only thing more mind-numbing than watching 57 movies over 123 straight hours without sleep would be watching someone else watching 57 movies over 123 hours without sleep.
That was the assignment given to Vice magazine editor and bon vivant Gavin McInnes during a five-day marathon of movie watching in 2008 that is weirdly documented in the off-the-reservation DVD “A Million in the Morning.”
Sponsor Netflix hired McInnes to report on the proceedings and Jason Goldwatch to direct a film documenting the event, billed as the Netflix World Movie Watching Championships. Contestants were vying for $10,000 prize plus a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most consecutive hours watching movies. Participants were sequestered in a plexiglass booth in New York’s Times Square where judges and spectators could observe them watching a non-stop string of movies, old and new.
Initially, Netflix reportedly planned to use the finished film as a promotional infomercial and to offer it on its website. But something went horribly and hysterically awry during the five days of filming that caused the DVD rental giant to back out of the project, leaving McInnes and the production entity Decon holding hours and hours of raw footage, which they’ve cut into a renegade DVD that’s by turns hilarious, profane, nonsensical and utterly delirious.
Disavowed by Netflix, “A Million in the Morning” slyly capitalizes on all that did go awry during the making of the documentary – namely that McInnes, having vowed to stay awake during the entire marathon, found himself going stark raving loony from sleep deprivation. As the host grew increasingly disoriented, he began wandering off into the streets of Manhattan on wildly incongruous tangents (a babbling confrontation with fitness guru Richard Simmons, an impromptu encounter with Times Square fixture, the Naked Cowboy, and so on).
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