It could be said that Jeff Goldblum is a staple of the current pop culture society. Beloved by many, star of numerous cult films, and affectionately known as the Internet’s boyfriend (look, I don’t care how adorable Keanu Reeves may be, it’s always gonna be Jeff Goldlbum). For this years’ Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), The Astor theatre played host to a 12+ hour all out, all amazing Jeff Goldblum marathon. And I managed to sucker encourage some friends to join me in battling out this overnight Goldblum-athon. Is this the best use of a Friday night? I say yes.
We prepared ourselves well for the night – all came laden with multiple snacks, thermoses of hot water for cups of tea and even some yoghurt and fruit for when the morning came. There was a fast realisation as we entered the large, cavernous theatre that is The Astor, that none of us had really thought to bring a blanket, and that we were likely to spend most of the night shivering. We persevered however – what’s a little chill when you’ve got a thirteen hour Goldblum guarantee in wait ahead.
The theatre was surprisingly crowded for such a event, and you had to feel a flash of pride for the city of Melbourne and it’s committed occupants who chose to spend their Friday night this way. The night started with a surprise video from the man himself. That’s right, Jeff Goldblum being his delightful, quirky self as he gushed to the camera about the marathon. Before proceeding to hurriedly tell a nearby stranger about what a genius Wes Anderson and Taika Waititi were and then going in for a slightly awkward, rejected hug.
The first film that started off our marathon was one that neither I, or any of my friends had seen or heard about. This is clearly going to change because the 1988 film Vibes is an absolute masterpiece, and I will not rest until every person I know has appreciated the genius of it. Starring Jeff Goldblum (of course) and Cyndi Lauper in the roles of two psychics hired to find a lost temple that holds the source of all psychic power. It’s as brilliant as you may think and so very much worth the watch. When the credits finally ran, there was a joint look of amazement on everyone’s face as we turned to each other- unsure of exactly how to describe what it was we had just experienced.
Also worth noting is that we had a strategised snacking schedule throughout – we started with the sugary items before settling into our second film with a cup of tea and some homemade cookies.
Our second showing was a more recent film, Thor: Ragnarok. Despite already having seen it a few times, I feel like it’s not a film that can go wrong. A fantastic cast outside of Goldblum makes this film endearing and humorous – with many of this attributed towards writer and director Taika Waititi. At this stage most of the theatre seemed awake, with our own little group commenting that we felt barely tired. Maybe it was the countless sugar sour worms? Maybe it was the adrenaline from the Goldblum overload? Either way, we were awake and committed to this endeavour.
It was around 2-3am that we reached the third movie in this challenge. One that, surprisingly, none of us had seen before – The Tall Guy. Starring Jeff Goldblum, Emma Thompson and Rowan Atkinson, The Tall Guy is the first film from Richard Cutis (known for Love Actually, Notting Hill, and About Time). It was within this film that I drifted off for the first time, somehow closing my eyes for what seemed like only a second to find myself waking up to a naked Jeff Goldblum and Emma Thompson rolling around an apartment together in one of the best sex scenes I’ve ever seen. I still don’t really know how they got to the point within the film as the last thing I remember is them introducing themselves to each other.
This was around the point that the chocolate came out – we were maybe all feeling a little tired eyed at this stage and that sugar rush was exactly what we needed to wake up for possibly the best film of all time: The Fly. A classic remake that is both horrifying and perplexing. I’ve seen The Fly multiple times, and I felt it was my responsibility to give a slight warning to those in our group that had not seen it (just so they knew what was coming). I drifted off again during this film, waking up at the pivotal moment towards the end that the mutated form of Goldblum was vomiting up acid on another characters limbs. A glance to each side of me showed those new to the film peeking through their fingers, a horrified and disgusted look upon their faces. I stand by what I said – The Fly was the best film of this marathon.
Sorry, did I say The Fly was the best film of this marathon? I spoke too soon. Next up was Earth Girls Are Easy, a film that a coworker the previous day described as one of the most terrible films ever made. It’s pure fantastical ridiculousness – bringing together Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans as vaguely pervy aliens that just happen to turn into incredibly attractive men after a makeover.
At this stage the night had finished and the MIFF volunteers informed us that it was morning. This did come as a surprise to one in our group, who had clearly been napping as we announced we were going to grab a quick coffee, we were treated to the reaction of, “What? It’s like 3am, where are you going to get coffee?”
Fueled by coffee, pre-made bagels, and more chocolate (it may be the morning but it’s still a marathon, junk food is allowed), we dived into the classic itself, Independence Day. Oddly I’d never seen this somewhat cult film before, it delivered everything I imagined. Over the top, cocky Will Smith as a pilot? Yep. Jeff Goldlum as the bike riding, recycling hipster dude (I love you, Jeff)? Yep. I think it was this stage that our group became a little restless, leaning back and forth to whisper conspiratorially about how the president from the film was totally Lone Starr in Spaceballs (it was, it was a highlight revelation).
It’s probably worth noting at this point that the majority of those that had joined at the beginning of the marathon had remained to the end – with still the same energy and spirits. A rousing cheer sounded at the first appearance of Jeff Goldblum in each movie or at the appearance of his name in the credits and the closing moments of the famed speech in Independence Day brought around a chant of “USA, USA, USA.”
It was with a shuffling and gathering of leftover snacks that we settled into the final movie in this tremendous feat, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Perhaps not the best movie to end with, it’s somewhat relaxed and slow pace wasn’t the best to end a thirteen hour stretch of sitting in a cinema. While it is a great movie, I feel like many of us were eagerly waiting for the end so we can stumble blinking into the bright lights of the day.
There was a sense of achievement as we filed out (weirdly enough, we were ushered out of the side door of the cinema – do I sense a bit of shame at the rumpled way we looked perhaps?), tiredly dragging ourselves down the stairs until we emerged into the daylight. While the idea of spending a Friday night in a thirteen hour Jeff Goldblum marathon may seem like a waste of time to some, there seemed to be a proud atmosphere amongst those trailing out into the daylight. Revisiting my claim at the beginning of this piece, is an all out Goldblum-tastic marathon the best way to spend a Friday night? Of course it is.