No matter your mood, we’ve got movie marathon ideas aplenty!
Is dolling up for a big New Year’s bash not really your thing? Well, how about celebrating the dawn of the new year with an epic movie marathon instead. Stock up on the snacks, put on the jammies, and snuggle in for a grand evening in. And pig out on some good films that will see you into a brand-new year.
Here are my movie marathon suggestions for 20 binge-worthy film menus to ring in the new year. With a good side of romance, naturally.
Happy 2020, everyone!
Movie Marathons: 20 Epic, Binge-worthy Film Menus to Ring in 2020
(In No Particular Order)
1. In Memoriam Menu
2019 saw the loss of more than a few familiar faces on the big and little screens. So, toast to the dearly departed while watching a few of their films.
Starter: Pillow Talk (1959 – 102 minutes) – Delight in the late, great Doris Day with this rom-com classic. Witty banter, deceptions, miscommunications, opposites attracting, and crackling chemistry, Pillow Talk has it all. Co-starring Rock Hudson.
Main: Two for the Road (1967 – 111 minutes) – Send a thought to the dearly departed Albert Finney while watching this dramedy of a marriage on the rocks. And the road trip through France that brings the whole relationship to an emotional head. Finney sizzles with his co-star Audrey Hepburn.
Side: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992 – 86 minutes) – See the film that kickstarted the whole Buffy world, which Whedon later explored in much greater detail in the popular series. And remember and enjoy the teen heartthrob in the prime of his life and popularity, namely Luke Perry. Co-starring Kristy Swanson, Rutger Hauer, and Donald Sutherland.
Dessert: Ladyhawke (1985 – 121 minutes) – Always together, eternally apart. Say farewell to Rutger Hauer in this magical fairy tale of transformations, curses, and star-crossed love. Oh, it’s a treat. Co-starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Broderick.
Total length: 420 minutes.
2. A Dinner of Drews
She’s been on the screen since she was a young’un. So why not do a retrospective movie marathon of the perennially appealing Drew Barrymore.
Starter: E.T. (1982 – 114 minutes) – Remember your Reese’s Pieces when you watch this tale of the lost, little alien just trying to find its way home. Drew, as the baby sister steals the show. Co-starring Henry Thomas and Peter Coyote.
Main: Ever After (1998 – 121 minutes) – This Cinderella retelling is enough to sate the diehard romantic. Co-starring Dougray Scott and Angelica Huston.
Dessert: Never Been Kissed (1999 – 107 minutes) – Laugh and lap it up when a geeky journalist finds herself back in high school to get a scoop. And maybe, totally inappropriately, fall in love with an English teacher. Co-starring Michael Vartan and David Arquette.
Total length: 317 minutes.
3. Victoria’s Victuals
Drooling over royal decadence? Have a thing for Victoriana? Why not settle in for an evening of flicks about Britain’s memorable Queen Victoria.
Starter: The Young Victoria (2009 – 105 minutes) – Bite into this delectable Julian Fellowes script, following the early life and reign of Queen Victoria, including her courtship and marriage with Prince Albert. Starring Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend.
Main: Mrs. Brown (1997 – 103 minutes) – Sup on this romantic dramedy about the grieving widowed queen and the special relationship that gets her smiling and living again. Starring Judi Dench and Billy Connolly.
Dessert: Victoria & Abdul (2017 – 111 minutes) – End on this heartwarming end-of-life depiction of the queen, and the unlikely friendship between her and an Indian Muslim teacher. Starring Judi Dench and Ali Fazal.
Total length: 319 minutes.
4. Guilty Twilight Pleasures
Embarrassed to admit it? Know it’s bad for you? Think that you should know better as a mature, educated, experienced woman? Oh, but do you love it, anyhow? Yes, do it, just do it. Watch the entire Twilight series. You know you wanna. Go on, sink your fangs into this tale of the star-crossed love between the living and the undead. Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Tyler Lautner.
Starter: Twilight (2008 – 121 minutes) – Human and vampire meet in Forks, WA, and fall in love.
Main: New Moon (2009 – 130 minutes) – Human and vampire separate and in steps a shapeshifter/wolfman as another potential paranormal love interest.
Side: Eclipse (2010 – 123 minutes) – Human and vampire are back on track, while wolfman licks his wounds.
Dessert: Breaking Dawn – Part One (2011 – 117 minutes) – Human and vampire tie the knot, and a little human-vampire half-breed is on the way.
Afters: Breaking Dawn – Part Two (2012 – 115 minutes) – Vampire turns human into a vampire, and there’s a vampire vs. vampire showdown.
Total length: 606 minutes.
5. Nighy Nibbles
Sighing for Bill Nighy? Anticipating his turn as Mr. Woodhouse in the latest Emma adaptation coming out in the new year? Well, if you enjoy that quirky, witty, funny, scene-stealing actor, why not sate yourself on a romantic movie marathon where Nighy plays pivotal supporting roles.
Starter: About Time (2013 – 123 minutes) – Funny and yummy! He’s the time-hopping dad trying to guide his son in the ways of time travel in this delectable Richard Curtis romantic dramedy. Co-starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams.
Main: The Bookshop (2017 – 117 minutes) – Cheers! Nighy plays a supportive, chivalrous recluse in this period tale of village politics and female independence. Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson co-star.
RELATED: ABOUT TIME FILM REVIEW
Dessert: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011 – 124 minutes) – Ooh, spicy! He’s Judy Dench’s budding, yet forbidden love interest in this delightful tale of retirees in India.
Afters (optional): The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015 – 122 minutes) – Ooh, even spicier! Nighy reprises his role, free to now openly court the woman he loves amidst the exotic sights and sounds and smells of India.
Total Length: 486 minutes.
6. Fast Food for Romantics on the Go
Enjoy a good road trip to bring out the romance? Well, munch on these films as you travel the cinematic world by boat, bus, car, and foot.
Starter: The African Queen (1951 – 105 minutes) – Whet your appetite with this classic WWI tale of a boat ride to remember. There’s an idealistic missionary and a rough-and-ready mechanic thrust together on a boat, trying to float freely through rapids, past enemy forts, and dealing with their mounting attraction. The film stars Humphrey Bogart (who won an Oscar for this role) and Katherine Hepburn.
Main: Letters to Juliet (2010 – 105 minutes) – Tuck into this rom-com ride through the Italian countryside. A fledgling reporter ends up on a road trip with an older woman seeking her long-lost love, as her irascible grandson chauffeurs. Reporter and irascible grandson grate each other, until they, well, don’t. Starring Amanda Seyfried, Christopher Egan, and Vanessa Redgrave.
Side (optional): It Happened One Night (1934 – 105 minutes) – Oh, take a chunk out of this Oscar-heralded classic. A tale of the spoiled heiress and the roguish reporter falling in love on a road trip to her own wedding. Starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable.
Dessert: Leap Year (2010 – 100 minutes) – Savor this madcap tour of Ireland, as the determined American decorator attempts to get to Dublin and the man she intends to marry. Except for the sardonic inn owner, she’s enlisted to help her get to Dublin, is perpetually getting under her skin. Starring Matthew Goode and Amy Adams.
Total length: 415 minutes.
7. War Rations
Hankering for a good bittersweet love affair? A love affair heightened by impending doom? A love affair that’s nipped in the bud by impending doom? An almost love affair of what-ifs and if only? Oh, get rationing.
Starter: The Last of the Mohicans (1992 – 112 minutes) – Break bread in the French-Indian War with the epic running love affair of Hawkeye and Cora. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe.
RELATED: ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY REVIEW – THE MOST ROMANTIC STAR WARS FILM SINCE ‘THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK’
Main: Gone with the Wind (1939 – 221 minutes) – Sup on this epic historical romance set during the American Civil War. Plantations burn, slaves rise up, and tomorrow is a new day. Gone with the Wind is a classic. Starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.
Dessert: Rogue One (2016 – 133 minutes) – Toast to what might have been in this Star Wars sequel about two rebel soldiers on a suicide mission during an intergalactic war. And to the friendship that might have, could have, should have become more, if it wasn’t for a Death Star. Starring Felicity Jones and Diego Luna.
Total length: 466 minutes.
8. Delectable Dickens
Dickens can dish out the romance when he wants to. And nowhere is that more evident than in Sandy Welch’s 1998 adaption of Our Mutual Friend. Yes, the same BAFTA award-winning Sandy Welch, who’s adapted to the screen Gaskell’s North & South (2004) and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (2006).
As with all of Dickens’ storylines, it’s complicated. But at its heart is a love story (or two). You just have to sift through the subterfuge and murder and miscommunications and class divides and twists of fate and on it goes. Stephen Mackintosh, Anna Friel, Keeley Hawes, and Paul McGann star.
Oh, it’s delish.
Total length: 360 minutes.
9. Star-Crossed Starters
O, Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Harbor a weakness for star-crossed lovers of the Romeo and Juliet variety? Well, sate yourself on a movie marathon of adaptations of William Shakespeare’s classic tale.
Starter: Tanna (2015 – 100 minutes) – Savor this exotic South Pacific treat full of intra- and intertribal strife, and two idealistic lovers trying to break cultural norms. Starring Marie Wawa and Mungau Dain.
Main: Romeo + Juliet (1996 – 120 minutes) – Relish this toe-tapping Baz Luhrmann take on the classic tale. And sing along to the soundtrack. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.
Dessert: Warm Bodies (2013 – 98 minutes) – Pick over some brains in this post-apocalyptic retelling of Shakespeare’s classic tale. Complete with a zombie named R and a zombie hunter named Julia. Starring Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer.
Total length: 318 minutes.
10. Tom & Meg Tantalizers
Tickle your taste buds with the screen pairings of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan with this movie marathon idea. There’s a reason why they were so often paired together.
Starter: Joe Versus the Volcano (1990 – 102 minutes) – Crunch into this cult classic, a modern-day fable of the downtrodden man finding adventure and love on his way to death. This film is in a wacky league of its own.
Main: Sleepless in Seattle (1993 – 105 minutes) – Oh, lick up the longing in this blockbuster of the widower, forced to open up his life to other loving possibilities. And of the letter-writing woman who’s the romantic possibility.
Dessert: You’ve Got Mail (1998 – 119 minutes) – Smack your lips on this remake of The Shop Around the Corner, where two openly hostile competitors woo each other anonymously online.
Afters (optional): Ithaca (2015 – 96 minutes) – A recent war widow still has children to raise in this poignant portrait of the ones left behind. The women and the children are waiting to hear of the news of their loved ones in faraway warzones. Co-starring Alexander Neustaedter.
Total length: 422 minutes.
11. Tucker from Down Under
Love a good barbie? Hankering for a vegemite sandwich? Well, tuck into some Australian fare.
Starter: Australia (2008 – 165 minutes) – Start with this romantic epic set during WWII. The story of prim and proper Lady Sarah – widowed in the Outback – and the cowboy Drover, and their growing dependence on one another. Starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.
Main: The Dressmaker (2015 – 118 minutes) – Revenge is a dish best served cold, they say. Bite into this quirky, bittersweet, romantic, revenge tale of the black sheep’s return to her hometown and the explosive consequences. Starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth.
Dessert: Strictly Ballroom (1992 – 94 minutes) – Be swept up in the transformative romance that is Fran and Scott and their forbidden steps. Starring Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice.
Total length: 377 minutes.
12. A Ringbearer’s Repast
Do it. Watch all of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic comes beautifully to life in this three-film series. An epic quest, a band of brothers, evil on the rise, loyalty and disloyalty, greed and compassion, duty and selfishness, action, lots of action, and even some epic love – it’s all there. And a Gollum, don’t forget Gollum.
It’s a veritable who’s who in casting: Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, Sean Austin, Andy Serkis and on and on it goes. Fantastic!
Breakfast: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001 – 178 minutes) – The fellowship bands together to destroy the ring of power.
Second Breakfast: The Two Towers (2002 – 179 minutes) – The divided fellowship sees its members fighting along both sides of the river against ever-darkening forces.
Elevenses: The Return of the King (2003 – 200 minutes) – It all comes to a head in an epic battle, a battle that keeps dark forces from discovering the hobbits on a mission in their midst. The fellowship reunites.
Total length: 557 minutes.
13. Gothic Goodies
Moody, windswept moors, isolated estates, dark passages, mysterious sounds in the night, and a heroine out to sus out the truth? And let’s not forget a brooding man of the shadows, a roguish Byronic hero. Yes, if you’ve got a sweet tooth for Gothic fare, then here’s the movie marathon menu for you.
Starter: Jamaica Inn (1983 – 156 minutes) – Bite into this overlooked adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s classic. It’s melodrama at its best with some sizzling chemistry. Starring Jane Seymour and Trevor Eve.
Main: Jane Eyre (2011 – 120 minutes) – A classic choice and a very poetic and sensual adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s classic. With a very fine, Mr. Rochester, I might add. Starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.
Dessert: A Duel of Hearts (1991 – 95 minutes) – Oh, delight in this frothy goodness, an adaptation of Barbara Cartland’s book. It’s giddily good, very silly, with family secrets, hidden identities, a reticent romantic hero. Slurp! Laugh and lap it up. Starring Alison Doody and Benedict Taylor.
Total length: 371 minutes.
14. Dumpster Dining
Looking for the forgotten gems? Those films relegated unjustly to the scrapheap of Hollywood history – overlooked, underrated, forgotten? Well, dive into that dumpster and find the delectable value of the discarded rom-coms.
Starter: Just Wright (2010 – 100 minutes) – Nibble on this tale of the straight-talking physiotherapist and the injured point guard in her care. Queen Latifah is in a league all of her own in this film, a refreshing and empowering romantic lead. Co-starring Common.
Main: Dan in Real Life (2007 – 98 minutes) – Feast on this sweet rom-com with an old Hollywood feel. All about connections and mishaps and seizing love when it presents itself. Starring Steve Carrell and Juliette Binoche.
Dessert: I Know Where I’m Going (1945 – 88 minutes) – Sink your teeth into this delectable gem about life and love happening, while a stubborn woman is busy making other plans. Starring Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey.
Total Length: 286 minutes.
15. Helena’s Nosh-up
Have a soft spot for the sparky, lively, quirky Helena Bonham Carter? Well, get noshing on some of her most romantic and feisty roles in this movie marathon roundup.
Starter: A Room with a View (1985 – 117 minutes) – Treat yourself to the Merchant-Ivory classic of a young woman coming of age. And to one of the finest kisses in screen history. Co-starring Julian Sands, Maggie Smith, and Denholm Elliot, among many others.
Main: A Hazard of Hearts (1987 – 90 minutes) – Dig into this frothy, Gothic delight, full of rakes, gamblers, smugglers, crackling romance. Co-starring Marcus Gilbert and Christopher Plummer.
Dessert: Cinderella (2015 – 106 minutes) – Find room for this Disney adaptation of the classic fairy tale. Co-starring Lily James and Richard Madden.
Total length: 313 minutes.
16. Whistle Wetting
Do you love a good rain scene? Where lips smack, and tongues taste, even as our lovers’ whistles are getting rather wet? Here are three films to wet your whistle.
Starter: Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994 – 117 minutes) – Treat yourself to this tale of would-be lovers, whose timing seems to be perpetually off until a final iconic scene in the rain. Oh, be still my heart. Starring Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell.
Main: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961 – 114 minutes) – Oh, smile as you savor this classic tale of the flighty girl, running away from her past and love. Until she’s not. Until she’s running to it in a delicious downpour. Starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard.
Dessert: Pride and Prejudice (2005 – 127 minutes) – End on the ever-lingering epic romance of Mr. Darcy and Miss Lizzie. And shiver at that rainy proposal scene and the crackling chemistry. Starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.
Total length: 358 minutes.
17. Lily’s Birthday Bash
The lovely Lily James celebrated her 30th birthday earlier this year. We’re hoping for at least 30 more from this fine actress. Celebrate her big 3-0 with a tasting of three of her fine films.
Starter: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016 – 108 minutes) – Start with this post-apocalyptic version of Austen’s classic, with a Darcy and Lizzie who exchange not only wordplay but swordplay. Delish! Co-starring Sam Riley.
Main: Yesterday (2019 – 116 minutes) – Dig into this paranormal tale of a world without The Beatles and the one man who remembers, who tries to bring their songs back. And the longsuffering woman in the wings, who’s been loving him always. Co-starring Himesh Patel.
Dessert: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018 – 124 minutes) – Put your dessert fork into this delicious tale of the displaced and burnt-out journalist finding her place and her story on the isle of Guernsey post-WWII. Co-starring Michiel Huisman.
Total length: 348 minutes.
18. Before Bites
Do you love long, flowing film takes, heavy on the dialogue? Well, (re)acquaint yourself with Richard Linkletter’s Before trilogy. A film series that follows the burgeoning, complicated and strained relationship of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy). Every nine years since 1995, the series has checked in with our protagonists, a day in the life of these aging lovers. They’re rather profound little bites. Can we hope for yet another bite in 2022?
Starter: Before Sunrise (1995 – 101 minutes) – They meet, wander Vienna, connect and go their separate ways with promises to meet again in six months.
Main: Before Sunset (2004 – 80 minutes) – They didn’t meet again until now – in Paris. Jesse is promoting his new book, a book about their one night all those years ago. They hook up, wander Paris, reconnect. But Jesse’s got a plane to catch.
Dessert: Before Midnight (2013 – 109 minutes) – They’re married, parents, on holiday in Greece. But they’re feeling increasingly disconnected as a couple as the responsibilities of everyday life pile up.
Total length: 290 minutes.
19. Musical Munchies
Looking to sing in the new year? Clean your pipes and sing along to a trio of toe-tapping, modern-day classics with this movie marathon.
Starter: Mamma Mia! (2008 – 108 minutes) – Treat yourself to this toe-tapping ABBA musical about the free-loving woman facing her past, as her daughter seeks to find her biological father. And sing along! Starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, and on it goes.
Main: Moulin Rouge! (2001 – 128 minutes) – Sup on this sumptuous, bittersweet tale of star-crossed love. Starring Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman.
Dessert: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954 – 102 minutes) – Smile, sing and savor this classic musical of the rushed marriage of convenience and its repercussions. And enjoy those dance scenes, while the inner anti-misogynist/feminist takes a break. Starring Howard Keel and Jane Powell.
Total length: 338 minutes.
20. Holiday Treats
Celebrate the holiday season with a trio of films that will surely hit the cheery spot without being too Christmassy. And they’re sure to see you sated and content into the new year.
Starter: Under the Greenwood Tree (2005 – 93 minutes) – She arrives at Christmas, and by harvest the next year, she’s found love. Yes, a classic marriage plot. Under the Greenwood Tree is a very romantic adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s book. Starring Keeley Hawes and James Murray.
Main: Last Holiday (2006 – 112 minutes) – “The secret to life is butter” is a line from this film, and that pretty much sums up this tale of a woman making the most of her apparently brief life. Starring Queen Latifah.
Dessert: Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001 – 97 minutes) – Oh, laugh and sigh as you partake of this modern-day coming-of-age course. About the perpetually discomposed and befuddled Bridget, so lacking in confidence, who finds her confidence, herself, and a man who likes her just as she is. Sigh. Starring Rene Zellweger, Hugh Grant, and Colin Firth.
Total length: 302 minutes.
Happy New Year’s! Best wishes for 2020!
What movie marathon ideas interest you? Leave a comment below.
Featured image: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Screen Gems), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Netflix) and Yesterday (Universal Pictures).