I Survived A Twilight Marathon And Came Out A Fan: An Ode To Vampire Wigs And Fandom

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I saw the Twilight marathon last night. I saw all five movies of the saga and furiously wrote down my thoughts in real time for you to read. I am not a Twilight fan, I haven’t read the books and up until last night had not seen any of the films. (Okay, okay, I saw the Breaking Dawn – Part 1, but I wasn’t paying attention and I didn’t know who was who or what was going on. So I’m saying it doesn’t count.) I’m not some kind of cynic ready to tear Twilight a new one. I love almost any movie I see in the theaters. I almost wept when Cher sang “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me” in Burlesque when I saw it opening night, so yeah, I am not a hard sell when it comes to the magic of the movies. So whether you saw Breaking Dawn – Part 2 last night or haven’t seen any of the films in years, please join me on my fantastically long life-blogging adventure. It’ll be like you’re there, except you don’t have to remain seated for eight hours after spilling soda into your crotch. Or maybe that’s how you roll too. No judgment! (Along the way, I’ll also introduce you, via video, to the other marathon viewers who joined me last night. They were a very diverse bunch.)

Twilight

11:38 a.m. Say what you want about Kristen Stewart (and I’m sure a lot of you have!), but she plays everything completely natural, and I think it’s what keeps Twilight from going completely over-the-top. (Also, nobody was booing Kristen at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13.0) You know what is over-the-top though?

11:40: Taylor Lautner‘s flowing mane (Insane Wig #1). Taylor looks about 14 in this movie, but I love that genuinely awkward moment when Bella accidentally opens a car door into him after seeing Jacob for the first time in a decade.

11:43: Whether it was director Catherine Hardwicke or the book that set it up first, I immediately feel protective of Bella when the high school kids hate on her old truck.  You kids can go to hell!

11:44: Well, now I know where Anna Kendrick came from. And why she is famous. She is the funniest part of this movie. Okay, maybe the only funny part, but still!

11:45: The Cullens glide into the cafeteria for the first time, and oh my god, all I can see is Dem Wigs. Each wig is a new and more outrageous monstrosity. Jackson Rathbone‘s wig looks like it would crawl onto your face at night and suck out your eyeballs. He’s still werking it though.

11:46: Bella finally plops down next to her lab partner Edward…who proceeds to writhe in exquisite agony for the next 50 minutes (90 if it’s a lab day). The faces Edward makes defy description. Oh wait, no, I can describe them: goofy evil-hot.

11:50: I don’t know about everyone else, but so far I’m Team Eric. Justin Chon can get it for sure. Wait, how old is he in real life? Let me check. Okay, he’s 31. We’re fine. It’s fine.

11:56: Edward saved Bella from an out of control car! I had heard this happened in the film, but didn’t realize it was so public/would be a major plot point. This cannot be good.

11:58: Paging Dr. Handsome! No, sorry, it’s pronounced “Cullen.” Dr. Carlisle sure is one nice vampire to be fixing all these hum…oh wait, does he steal blood from the hospital? He’d be a fool not to!

12:02 p.m.: Edward just yelled at Bella about walking correctly in the green house. Rude!  Oh, he’s purposefully being rude to drive her away. I see.

12:08: Jacob hints to Bella about the Cullens’ true nature via Quileute legend. Meanwhile, again, all the guys from the rez are smoking hotties. If someone passed up on this novel for a movie script, they must surely feel like a fool.

12:13: I think the backbone of any good YA series is a protagonist who has to do his/her research! Who doesn’t want to see the main character log a few late nights at the library or book store just to see a look of dawning realization crow their face? That’s why I love Bella’s visit to the bookstore.

12:15: Edward brings the number of Bella Saves up to 2, rescuing her from a drunken group of men because he is…um…apparently following her?

12:23: It’s surprising that Bella figures out the Cullens are vampires, considering how distracted she must be by the sweet guitar riff that plays every 20 seconds.

12:25: So Bella immediately goes into the forest with Edward? Bella is so trusting of him! I know he saved him from that car, but come on. We also saw the Yahoo search she did on vampires.

12:27: Maybe I’m the only one in the world (I’m not!), but I for one think Edward’s sparkling skin falls in between cool and awesome. He looks like a boyfriend you’d buy at Claire’s, in a good way.

12:28: “I wanted to kill you.” Aaaaaand suddenly I understand how these movies might be problematic from the feminist point of view.

12:29: “You don’t know how long I’ve waited for you.” And then now suddenly I understand why people might swoon over Edward, no matter how problematic the movies might be.

12:38: Okay, other than the influence of Carlisle, why are the vampires so nice to Bella? They are genuinely too kind. No wonder Rosalie crushed that bowl in her hands. Their aggression has to go somewhere. Maybe Jasper’s pent-up blood lust is mutating his wig?

12:45: Guys…the Bella/Edward smooching is drawing me in. Their faces are both so perfect!

1:00: Well, that baseball game escalated quickly. So now James is hellbent on killing Bella? This is probably where I would break up with my vampire boyfriend. You know, when other vampires want to kill me.

1:04: Bella is so harsh to Charlie! She’s killing me, but it’s working.

1:15: Carlisle is truly the vampire Mother Teresa. Jasper can barely keep it together around a scraped knee, and Carlisle can make a tourniquet for Bella’s injured leg. Where’s his spin-off?

1:19: The audience howls when we cut to Edward’s outrageously frantic attempts not to suck Bella dry once he’s drained out James’ venom.

1:23: Just in time for prom! The most true-to-life movie prom of all time! The small glimpse of Anna Kendrick makes me wish we had more of her. Oh, and Bella wants to become a vampire already. Wha?

Overall: A great intro to the series! I’m a little baffled why Bella is so immediately hot to become a blood-sucker, but then again…Edward is played by Robert Pattinson. His beauty adds a layer of credibility to the story.

Grade: A-

(Caroline, straight killing it)

1:50: I chill with Caroline, the first person inline for the 10:00pm Twilight showing. She’s a film student, and she would have had to set fire to my headless body if I had cut in front of her. She’s great!

2:00: I befriend Edward, the flight attendant sitting behind me. He is totally unfamiliar with the movies, and it’s a pleasure to listen to his gasps and laughter throughout the movie.

New Moon

2:09: Who are those people in red robes? Whose Gran is that? This is a very insidery way to start a movie. (That’s the dumbest sentence in my recap, I promise.)

2:10: Wouldn’t it be amazing if Bella actually did age naturally and the movie was about her relationship with Edward as an elderly woman? *Gasp* Like a vampirified Harold & Maude!

2:11: Washington State must be starting to worry when every year, some big animal eats a bunch of hitchhikers. Bad for tourism, I imagine.

2:12: Bella is back in school and watching her man in the parking lot. Dang. Slow-Motion RPatz is the best RPatz.

2:13: Jacob is adorbs. No wonder Edward is almost weeping when Jake talks to Bella.

2:14: In my totally subjective opinion, Alice’s wig has gotten better. Jasper’s, however, remains bizarre. Boy, that Jackson Rathbone is one hot creep. His eyes are open so much wider than is necessary!

2:16: We got seven minutes into the movie before Edward brought up suicide. I guess I’m glad they’re acknowledging it. It must cross every vampires mind at some point…

2:18: Edward explains the Volturi, and we get to see Michael Sheen in full Volturi fop regalia. Two words: Humina. Humina.

2:21: Mark this day in the history books: I finally get Kellan Lutz.

2:28: Edward Cullen is the original Claire Danes in Homeland. Their chin wobbles are virtually the same.

2:31: Oh no! Edward is headed out of town. “Don’t do something reckless. Think of Charlie,” he warns Bella. Jeez, again with the suicide.

2:34: Oh no Bella, where are you going? “Going to go collapse alone in the woods now K THX Bye.”

2:40: You would think Ghost Edward (that’s what I’m assuming that apparition is) would realize Bella is just getting on that motorcycle to conjure him up. Luckily Bella picked the most baby-faced biker imaginable to ride behind, but still.

2:42: Guys, I completely understand the Jacob/Bella dynamic. You could totally buy them being real friends. I kind of wish they had more chemistry though.

2:55: Oh poor dumb Mike. Give it up, dude! She’s already got her plate full!

3:22: The secrets, the refusing to see her, the hotness…Jacob’s story is just Edward’s all over again!

3:30: Poor Jacob! Still, he can’t be hanging up on Edward when Alice has come all the way because of her horrible visions. That’s just a jerk move.

3:45: Couldn’t Bella or Alice have just called San Marco to tell Edward she was right? Obvs that’s not as sexy, but less dangerous.

3:51: I hate myself for being three years late to the game, but man, do I ship Alice and Aro superhard. Superhard.

4:07: Ah, Edward proposes! The audience laughed at Bella’s post-proposal gasp but come on…it was pretty gratifying.

Overall: I mean…after all the meadow gazing in the first film, it’s hard to make a movie where Bella and Edward only spend about 15 minutes on the screen together.

Grade: B-

Eclipse

4:50: A tiny baby has arrived in the theater just in time to watch Edward and Bella argue between turning her and getting married! This baby deserves a medal for quietest baby in a movie theater ever. He or she screamed only twice.

4:55: Why will Bella never be able to see her family again? Because they will know she’s a vamp? She can’t do that to Billy Burke!

5:02: I am literally tearing up over the quilt scene with Bella and her mom. My heart is made out of mashed potatoes and sprinkled with pictures of Kristen Stewart.

5:07: More Jacob/Edward drama. Jacob is not getting it. Part of me is starting to wish Bella would buy a shotgun and ride around on her hog, dispatching evil vampires instead.

5:22: Fortunately, Jasper’s wig has dramatically improved! Unfortunately, evil vampires are out to get Bella.

5:30: “She broke her hand on my face.” I do not approve of Jacob’s pushiness, as hilarious as that punch is.

5:32: “I was a little theatrical back then.” Stephenie Meyer should produce spin-offs from all the vamp flashbacks in Eclipse. Who wouldn’t want to watch Rosalie’s Revenge? Dr. Handsome, V.A.M.P.? Cowboys And Vampires?

5:59: The awkward sex talk between Bella and Charlie is my favorite part of the series so far. And I say that as someone who loves vampire murders!

6:04: I also like Bella and Edward’s awkward discussion about sex before marriage. Hey, he’s waited this long!

6:06: The werewolves are also super nice to Bella, agreeing to fight a vampire army at least partly on her behalf.

6:13: Okay, guys? The tent scene? It is straight up kinky if you think about it. So much shirtless brooding mixed with angry mind-reading!

6:20: Whoa, Jacob kiss! I think Eclipse cracked the movie code and figured out to combine awesome things from all genres into one film.

6:26: Are vampires made out of ice? They are shattering during the fight!

6:40 Everyone bursts into applause at the end when Edward busts out the ring.

Overall: Pretty swoony! I’m sorry if I’m perving out here, but that tent scene alone makes it worth the price of admission.

Grade: A-

7:00: How is sitting in one place this tiring ? I let myself be talked into a large soda “since it’s refillable.” I thought this size wasn’t even legal anymore? Whatever, I need a gallon of Coke Zero to go with the APPLES AND PEARS I SNUCK IN, Y’ALL! Also cheese.

(Waiting fans a-sprawlin’)

Breaking Dawn – Part 1

7:21: Edward (the flight attendant sitting behind me, not the vamp) is slaying his fellow audience members with cracks about Nikki and Jackson.

7:22: Jacob is instantly shirtless. He is shirtless two seconds after appearing on screen.

7:26: Edward confesses to murdering humans, but Bella doesn’t care. She didn’t care after your second date, dude. People audibly swoon after his “I’ll see you at the altar” line.

7:31: Well, someone is getting married on a pile of corpses. Aw no…it’s just a dream.

7:33: “Just don’t let me fall, Dad.” “Never.” This is why I cannot be a film critic. Because I’m teary-eyed at Bella Swan’s wedding.

7:37: The two kiss, amazingly. I feel like it would behoove someone to watch these movies spaced out. As it is, I feel like, “OF COURSE they will have a beautiful wedding and nothing will stand in their way.” I envy those who saw these the first time around.

7:38: Jacob, while still extremely antagonistic, is a mensch for showing up to their wedding.

7:48: I would have done my heart well to see either of Bella’s parents ask her about their plans for college or jobs. You know Charlie is just dying to.

7:54: Vamp sex! I get that Edward might hurt Bella during sex, so why not wait until she is a vampire to go on their honeymoon? Doesn’t really seem worth the risk.

7:58: Especially with all the BRUISING. Plus, that bed was probably very expensive.

8:03: Luckily they are both chess pros now.

8:13: Oh girl, Bella is late. Ugh, it’s every woman’s worst nightmare: your fabulous honeymoon ends with a demon pregnancy. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.

8:21: “Needles can’t piece the embryonic sac.” That’s a phrase you never want to hear. Ever attuned to negative disturbances, Jackson Rathbone’s wig gets upgraded to Code Orange.

8:24: Guys, I know this is supposed to be an abortion analogy, but I’m with Jacob (and Edward and Alice) on this one. That being said, I respect Bella’s right to chose, even if she has to drink blood out of a takeout cup. Of all cups!

8:39: The audience laughed at Jasper’s rage face once it’s revealed Bella will get the Cullens’ remaining blood. Haha, seriously, Jasper also deserves a medal for not eating that baby as soon as it shows up.

8:52: The crunch of Bella’s knees on the ground is harrowing.

8:55: Wow, that demon birth escalated quickly. I’m way into these internal blood transformation shots though.

8:59: Renesmee is here and she’s…um….well, she’s beautiful. Like a model. Like a model on the cover of a magazine who’s been a little too Photoshopped. But a baby. No wonder Jacob imprinted on her! Which…lord, I need to talk to someone about that. A therapist, perhaps.

9:05: The crowd goes wild when Bella’s eyes are revealed to be red.

(Fan love)

Breaking Dawn – Part 2

*SPOILER ALERT* Do not read this if you don’t want BDP2 spoiled for you. I am not kidding.

10:15: And the crowd goes wild yet again! “It’s your turn not to break me,” Edward says while being crushed in a Bella hug.

10:22: I already love Vampire Bella. Scramblin’ up that cliff after a climber…

10:25: Bella meets her baby girl for the first time and she is just…beautiful. Beautiful and heavily, weirdly Photoshopped. Do you think they Photoshopped a baby’s face because a real baby’s face made audiences uncomfortable? Seeing as how Jacob is in love with her? On a related note, kudos to Taylor Lautner making that whole imprinting thing seem way less creepy than it could have been.

10:27: Bella is enraged and beats up Jacob for trying to place a claim on Renesmee, a.k.a. Nessie. “You nicknamed my daughter after the Lock Ness monster?,” she roars. Vampire Bella is the best!

10:30: Alice takes Edward and Bella to their adorable cottage in the woods, where they have a much sexier sex scene than previously depicted. Bella’s golden halo? Loved it.

10:37: Jacob is kind of a tool for going rouge and telling Charlie that Bella is back in town (while she is in the throws of new born blood lust.) Say what you want about Edward, at least he has realized that Bella is going to do her own thing at this point.

10:42: “I just watched a kid I’ve know his whole life turn into a very large dog,” Charlie sighs to Bella. Hey, at least you didn’t get eaten by your daughter! On a more sniffle-inducing note, I think once everything is said and done, you have to recognize that Bella and Charlie’s relationship is the best in the series.

10:50: Still peeved about the murder of her lover Laurent, Edward’s vampire cousin Irina sees the (freakishly mature) Renesmee and reports her to the Volturi, claiming that Bella and Edward must have made an immortal child. On a related note, I could watch Dakota Fanning thrown an immortal child into a fire for days.

10:57: Knowing that the Volturi will soon come after them (and apparently lacking the cell technology to call them,) the Cullen clan gathers friends and witnesses from around the globe. They all have different cool powers and even cooler wigs. The best are Draculas 1 & 2, Vladimir and Stefan. It’s hard for Stefans not to be great.

11:17: After Alice and Jasper disappear to parts unknown, Bella finds Alice’s secret clue leading her to…a man who has cash and passports for Renesmee and Jacob. Clearly Alice does not see this going well.

11:28: The Volturi meet the assembled vamps and their werewolf pals in a snowy field. Can Michael Sheen wear his Aro hood always? I’m team Michael Sheen for sure. Also, Aro’s insane cackling upping meeting Renesmee is the new Voldemort laugh.  ‘

11:36: Aro says, “For the first time in history…” and you know my brain filled in “It’s gonna start raining men.” He proceeds to rally the Volturi around the idea of killing Renesmee just in case she’s a future risk. “Only the known is tolerable,” he simpers.

11:40: Alice arrives to show Aro that Renesmee is no threat to them. Unfortunately this leads to all hell breaking lose. Carlisle is immediately beheaded and burned in a horrible sequence, Jasper’s head is wrenched from his body, a wolf who might be Seth dies and a canyon filled with lava opens under the battle field. Needless to say, I am in love with this fight sequence. After sending away Renessmee and Jacob, Bella (using her new-found shielding power) and Rob take on Aro. Just as a victorious Bella applies fire to Aro’s decapitated (but still very much alive) head, we realize…

11:49: Guys? It was all a dream. Or a vision, to be more precise. Aro snaps back to reality and we realize that the entire bloody battle scene is a vision of the future show to him by Alice. He is still standing on the snowy plan, with the Volturi and the Cullens waiting for him to decide. It is a flawlessly executed twist. I am agog. Aro wisely decides not to tangle with the Cullens today, and the Voluri shuffle off. The End.

11:56: But not before the fans get an Edward and Bella montage! It’s sweet, but perhaps only for the more dedicated fangirls and boys out there.

Overall: My favorite Twilight flick by far. It makes me wish the other movies had been full of Bella kicking Volturi in the face, but that would be a totally different series, not the one that people know and love, and I have to accept that.

Grade: A, baby! Bella straight kicked a guy in the face!

So what have I learned? Absolutely nothing. Okay, that’s not true. I learned perhaps the two greatest lessons of fandom: 1) It’s easy to like virtually anything if you are surrounded by people who are passionate about it and 2) It’s easy to make friends over a shared obsession. Thank you to Edward, Caroline and everyone else who let me get in their face about their Twilight love. I tip my wig to you. “Werk!” Edward shouted at Kristen Stewart from behind me during the final credits. And wouldn’t you know it? Twilight did.