A Million In The Morning Jason Goldwatch

A Million In The Morning Jason Goldwatch
People tend to become so self-conscious in front of a camera that when something truly raw and unguarded is captured ― laughter, crying, physical pain, an orgasm ― it inspires a strange fascination: we are seeing a person in a completely unguarded state. In A Million in the Morning, a documentary in which eight contestants compete for the title of "World Champion Movie Watcher" (an actual Guinness World Record category) and a $10,000 prize by attempting to watch 57 films in 123 straight hours, we see people become so exhausted that they don't even realize they're on camera. When we see a contestant ramble, after over 100 hours without sleep, "I don't know what's going on now… I hate where I'm going now… Oh, love, love. I love to sleep today," we are granted such pure, unvarnished access into his thoughts that it feels like an invasion of privacy. A Million in the Morning chronicles a five-day event organized by Netflix in a makeshift screening room in Times Square; ten-minute breaks are allowed, but a single glance away from the screen can mean disqualification. Lingering around is Gavin McInnes, the film's host, an aggressive comedian with a handlebar moustache who also stays awake for most of the event's duration and looks as if he had been hit in the face with a shovel by the end. "World Champion Movie Watcher" is such a pitiful little title that A Million in the Morning sometimes feels like a parody of Super Size Me-type gimmick documentaries. This is one of those records that exists only so someone can have a world record; lord knows it isn't for the love of film, as I reckon things would get mighty incoherent around movie number eight or so (a contestant's review of RENT at the 48-hour mark: "None of that shit rhymes or anything! It's stupid!"). With the movie-watching event reaching a new depth of meaninglessness, and McInnes flailing as desperately as Jerry Lewis at hour 20 of the telethon, the events depicted in A Million in the Morning have a melancholy pointlessness that complements director Jason Goldwatch's dreamy visual representation of Times Square under sleep deprivation. Forget the often lame comedy: what makes A Million in the Morning fitfully engaging is the way it evokes desperate, delirious exhaustion. Stray observation: does this movie mean to tell me that Netflix programmed Memento at the 64-hour mark? What are they, sadistic?! The DVD includes deleted scenes. (Decon)