By Lanford Beard
November 16, 2012 at 05:15 PM EST

When I volunteered to watch a five-movie Twilight Saga marathon, I’ll admit I didn’t fully anticipate the challenges and doubts I’d encounter along the way. As the weeks, then days, then hours ticked down, I realized I’d need to get my head in the game. I trained like any marathoner would, honing skills appropriate to the course — subsisting on a diet of carbohydrates, carbonated drinks, and stale air; sitting on my rear for long periods of time, and abandoning all thoughts of age-appropriate content or cinematic quality. Also like any marathoner, I blacked out for long periods of time between the start and finish lines. But! Here’s what I do remember…

10:01 a.m.: Wake up. Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose. Twilight day!

10:07 a.m.: WWACD (What Would Alice Cullen Do)? Use way more sparkly highlighter on my face than usual.

10:11 a.m.: Packing my provisions for the day, largely cribbed from my Hurricane Sandy war chest, I face a dilemma. Do I bring everything I think I’ll need and risk confiscation? Or do I err on the side of caution and pack only as much as I’m willing to lose? Into my bag go two granola bars, a container of mandarin oranges, and a liter of water.

10:17 a.m.: Begin the two-mile walk to the theater — stretching is essential so my legs so don’t cramp in the clutch.

10:49 a.m.: Five blocks away from the theater, as if by providence, Edward and Bella’s de facto love theme (Iron & Wine’s “Flightless Bird, American Mouth”) begins to play on my iPod. The stars have aligned! I cruise into the theater with a tranquil only marimba-tinged emo can offer.

10:53 a.m.: Theater employees didn’t even bother checking for contraband snacks. I wonder if I’ll regret not packing the admittedly disappointing leftover mac ‘n’ cheese from Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar. (Yes, I’m the girl who took home leftovers from the culinary equivalent of Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.)

11:15 a.m.: Alyssa Feliciano, a 20-year-old in the next seat (Team Jacob!), tells me she arrived at 8:30 a.m. “The theater was closed!”

11:22 a.m.: Behind me, 22-year-old Laura Cruz (Team Jacob!) and 25-year-old Yokasta Veloz (Team Edward!) embark upon the last of many Twilight premieres together despite being in opposing camps. Veloz plans to address the dearth of Edward in New Moon (Cruz’s favorite so far in the pentalogy) by taking a nap. Pacifist conflict resolution and relationships that cross party lines? The Beltway could learn a thing from these two.

11:30 a.m.: It’s starting…

11:32 a.m.: Before each film, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, and Elizabeth Reaser will reminisce on their experiences filming the Saga. As we know, the first movie was super-janky, so there isn’t much to report. Moving on!

11:35 a.m.: Twilight is here!!! Everybody claps as I tuck into the water and the first granola bar. Gotta keep my energy up!

11:31 a.m.: Overheard — “I’m gonna cry!” All good(?) things must come to an end.

11:51 a.m.: I look back fondly at the time when Robert Pattinson’s hair was truly magical.

12:22 p.m.: Bella is encircled by a pack of thugs in Port Angeles. Wow, I had forgotten how objectifying and rape-y this movie is. It’s the central problem of The Twilight Saga — why are people so fascinated with Bella? It’s certainly not her elegant eye makeup. It’s like Catherine Hardwicke was her yokel stage mother who thought the only way to make eyes pop! is with poorly smudged blue liner.

1:05 p.m.: If this theater is any colder, will be the temperature of a Cullen.

1:15 p.m.: All due respect to Cam Gigandet, a.k.a. that guy from Burlesque, but his supposed arch-villain James makes me seriously question my commitment to Sparkle Motion this marathon.

1:35 p.m.: Movie 1 wraps up. Fact: The number of kisses in Twilight (2) is directly proportionate equal to the number of evil vamp Victoria’s shawls that look like they were made of murdered Muppets.

NEXT: Rollin’ deep…

1:50 p.m.: I spot a girl in red contacts, vampire teeth, and a wolf hat. She is my hero.

1:51 p.m.: My hero’s name is Ashley Barreto, and she’s 20. She and friends Sara Sanchez, 21, and Jessica Hall, 19, have made a tradition of seeing all the Twilight premiere together. Hall wears a T-shirt emblazoned with the wolf pack tattoo from New Moon (her favorite). She admits watching with a crowd changed her perception of the first film: “I never thought it was a comedy. All the times I watched it at home, I never laughed as hard as I did today.” Presumably some of this laughter wasn’t ironic.

2:00 p.m.: Theater attendants appear to host a trivia contest. Our grand prize? A bookmark! They promise there will be more prizes.

2:03 p.m.: In the next pre-show stroll down memory, Jackson Rathbone recalls the “puffy wig” he had to wear in the series’ second installment, compares it to a “dead cat.” Judge for yourself.

2:05 p.m.: New Moon, y’all. Fortified by movie theater popcorn, I am ready to get 50 shades of emo.

2:23 p.m.: Choice clunky dialogue — “You won’t like me when I look like a grandma.”

2:42 p.m.: Trend watch — evil vamps in the Twili-verse all have long, stringy hair. Is denouncing evil the proper conditioner true face of evil?

3:05 p.m.: First Taylor Lautner ab sighting! The audience is instantly reduced to teenage girl tittering.

3:35 p.m.: Second Taylor Lautner ab sighting! Ding dong, the wig is dead!

4:20 p.m.: Kiss count for New Moon rises to 5.5 (Jacob and Bella’s lips touched once), which means there were more kisses than shirts worn by both Pattinson and Lautner in the entire movie. I like them odds.

4:25 p.m.: I learn that the 10 p.m. screening of Breaking Dawn — Part 2 is spread over five theaters and panic that I won’t be able to connect with my Sparkles and the City posse. After five solid hours of internal snarking, I’ll need back-up soon.

4:33 p.m.: Edward loyalist Rachel Ikie, 20, has invited forced her 17-year-old brother to join her at the marathon. He’s still in good spirits after two films, especially since Eclipse — his favorite of the films — is up next. He says he hasn’t seen Breaking Dawn — Part 1, and I worry that seeing those honeymoon scenes for the first time will lead to a seriously uncomfortable brother-sister bonding moment.

4:41 p.m.: Trivia folks are back, and the natives are getting restless, demanding new questions when no one has the correct answer. I’m pretty sure that’s not how this works. Then again, the prize isBreaking Dawn — Part 2 calendar. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

4:45 p.m.: Excitement grows palpably as Eclipse begins.

5:18 p.m.: Well into the third film of the day, it’s safe to declare that, Team Edward and Team Jacob aside, everyone is Team Charlie. Billy Burke gets a laugh (and even a few tears) every time he appears on screen.

5:36 p.m.: Remembering Kristen Stewart’s awful punk rock hair while shooting Eclipse, I’m pretty sure Bella’s wig is a not-well-maintained hand-me-down from Jacob in the first two movies.

6:05 p.m.: Edward proposes. Sniffles staccato the air.

6:09 p.m.: We have continuously seen the wolves’ clothes bursting into a confetti-like explosion when they phase, and yet they always have on at least pants when they phase back into their human forms. Are there random pairs of cut-offs scattered all around Forks?

6:25 p.m.: Victoria is no-more-ia. Random Twihard dude outburst — “Take that, b—-!”

6:46 p.m.: With the end of Eclipse, the kiss count rises to 13 in one film. Even Jasper got his fair share of action — though the kiss that motivated Bella to punch Jacob in the face (and break her hand in doing so) was the hands-down crowd favorite.

7:23 p.m.: With five hours and diminishing provisions left, I dash off a desperate e-mail to friends attending the 10 p.m. screening the gist of which is, “Please. Bring. Food. Anything. Please.”

7:24 p.m.: Realize that missive should have also included “And. Wine.”

7:25 p.m.: Fatigue sets in throughout the theater. Do we really have to wait two more hours for sparklevamp Bella?

7:30 p.m.: It is getting real in this trivia contest. Am considering grabbing the plastic fork I brought for protection if another tough question inspires a riot. Luckily the question of who sired Jasper prompts this mood-lightening answer — “The Spanish girl and the two white chicks!”

NEXT: Hitting the homestretch…

7:32 p.m.: Breaking Dawn — Part 1. Bed breakin’, here we come!

7:45 p.m.: Finish my rations, including the mandarin oranges. Suck it, scurvy.

8:03 p.m.: Cease to maintain the kiss count during Edward and Bella’s Isle Esme honeymoon. Too much sexiness!

8:37 p.m.: Between the wedding scene and Edward’s first time hearing Renesmee’s thoughts, an unfamiliar moisture clouds my vision. Must have been caused an errant sparkle that flew off Edward’s chest.

8:54 p.m.: Bella will never stop looking horrifying in these final scenes. It’s like they put all the budget from the first three movies (certainly from the wolves) into producing one good effect.

9:14 p.m.: Ack! CGI baby! It’s no surprise Jacob eventually nicknames her Nessie because that’s about how real she looks.

9:20 p.m.: Vampire Bella! Audience members are too excited to wait to clap until her red eyes pop open.

9:23 p.m.: Rapturous applause as BD1 wraps up. I momentarily feel bad leaving behind my war buddies to move to another theater, but then I remember this kind of thinking is how cults are populated.

And that’s where I’ll hand over to my colleague Erin Strecker, who fearlessly joined me for the bedlam-esque 10 p.m. Breaking Dawn — Part 2 premiere. For now, I can say this: 13-plus hours watching only Twilight films can pass surprisingly quickly when you’re in it to win it. “It” in this case being bragging rights with Hot Topic loiterers.

Read more:

‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn — Part 2’: On-the-scene for midnight fan reactions

Owen Gleiberman’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2′ review

Box office preview: Will ‘Breaking Dawn — Part 2’ be the biggest ‘Twilight’ yet?

EW Special Coverage: The ‘Twilight’ Saga

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