Owen Gleiberman
January 05, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

What’s the most movies you’ve seen in one day?

What’s the most movies you’ve seen in one day? —Michael

When I was 12, I went to a marathon of all four Beatles films — A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, Yellow Submarine, and Let It Be. (I should be grateful they didn’t add Magical Mystery Tour.) It was exhilarating and exhausting; what I learned is that with movies, more is generally less. At film festivals, I try to see no more than three films a day (occasionally four), a schedule that inevitably results in my being mocked as a slacker by festival attendees who take excess pride in how many screenings they can cram into a single day. Yet I stand by my more relaxed schedule — an attempt to let each film have its full impact. The holiday release schedule now requires everyone — critics and Academy voters — to take in dozens of films within the space of a few weeks. I ran into a colleague who was heading into her fifth screening of the day, and while I admired her Energizer Bunny tenacity, I wondered: Would that fifth movie get the same chance as the first?

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