They came. They saw. They conquered.
Every year around Groundhogs Day, Gateway Film Center holds a chance to win 24 free movie tickets for the year. How? By sitting through 12 back-to-back screenings of the film Groundhog Day. If you can make it through the grueling 24 hours without leaving, sleeping or playing on your cell phone, you’re awarding a thick envelope containing the coveted prize.
I stationed myself outside of the theater around the time the brave viewers were set free from their 24-hour prison to hear about the experience. I met Sean Reagan, @scpmrh098, a second-year in computer science and engineering, and Alexa Elizondo, @lexithelexicon, a third-year in material science and engineering, two very tired students very excited to see the light of day.
Is this your first year doing this?
How’d you hear about it?
Alexa: I heard about it actually when I was in high school because my high school math teacher came to OSU and talked about this crazy thing he used to do with his friends, he’d go and get free movie tickets and I looked into it and found out they still did it. I was like, ‘heck yes i’m going to do that.’
Sean: [Alexa] kind of roped me into the whole thing.
Did it take a lot of convincing?
Sean: Uhh, not that much when I heard about the free movie tickets. It’s an experience I have to at least try once.
Tell me about the experience.
Sean: I feel like we were a little underprepared going into it. Mentally we weren’t all there. I think we got to about the fifth showing and then it really hit us that, ‘Oh, we’re going to be watching this seven more times.’
Alexa: Yeah, and it’s crazy, people show up and they’re bring these big bags in with tons of blankets, pillows and snacks, and we did not do that. Next time we’re definitely going to come more prepared, but it was very intimidating at first. The first showing was okay, it was fun, the second showing was still fun, then when it was like midnight and then 2 in the morning you’re like ‘wow, we’re not even halfway done,’ and it really hits you.
Did they ever allow you breaks?
Alexa: They show a showing of the movie and then you get a 24 minute break. All the showings start on the hour. So you get a little bit of time if you want to go get food, or go to the bathroom, or stand.
Sean: you get a good amount of breaks, but it’s the lack of outside world that really hits you.
Was it worth it?
Alexa: I think so. I don’t know if i would necessarily do it again, I’d have to debate that, but it was worth it for having the one time experience.
Sean: It’s definitely something you have to try once.
What do you think about the movie now that you’ve seen it 12 times?
Alexa: I feel like i have learned more about that movie than i ever possibly needed nor wanted to know, but that’s okay! I still think it’s funny. It’s hilarious.
Sean: All the people that have been here multiple times have their traditions that they do and rope everybody else into, it’s amazing. Everytime the clock switches over to six they scream ‘six.’
Alexa: Certain lines that everyone yells at the same time. It’s really cool because you go into the theater with a bunch of strangers and then by the end everyone’s laughing and screaming and having fun together, so it was a really neat experience.
What was the last 10 minutes of the last showing like?
Alexa: So much yelling. People were standing, screaming the lines, cheering. In the last scene [the characters] go down the staircase and then it’d the end of the movie and somebody counted all the steps they took out loud.
Sean: People called out every action… insane. It was great because it was like 300 to 350 people that got the shared experience together.
How do you feel finally emerging into the sunlight right now?
Sean: My eyes are adjusting.
Alexa: It’s so nice to be outside, I was like ‘oh my gosh, fresh air!’ As soon as I stepped outside I was like ‘wow, I didn’t think i was going to make it, but I made it! It’s okay!’