How many movies can you watch in a row before they all begin to blur into one? As I'm sure many happy yet weary attendees of the Toronto International Film Festival can testify, it's very tempting to cram as many movies as possible into every viewing period at a festival. Beyond the confines of festivals, movie fans in general want to see as many good movies as possible, and time is short.
I sat through Rainer Werner Fassbinder's epic 15 and 1/2 hour Berlin Alexanderplatz during a very long night and a morning at a theater and felt drained, both physically and emotionally; I've watched seven movies in a row at Fantastic Fest and loved every moment; I've sat through eight movies back to back to back on videocassette in one day while on vacation. Lately, though, I find I'm lucky if I can watch even two movies in a row without interruption. Even if I had more unbroken availability, after two or maybe three movies I feel like I need a break, especially if they were good flicks. I want time to absorb what I've seen and think about them. That's especially true if I plan to write about them; the experiences begin to blend together, fusing themselves into an unholy viewing memory that is sometimes difficult to separate into individual segments.
How about you? I'm not talking about movies playing in the background while you do other things, but films that you're actively engaged in watching, either at home or at a theater. What's the most that you've seen in a row? Are some movies better as part of a double -- or triple or quadruple or whatever -- feature? When do they start to blur?