Fan Watches ‘Star Wars’ for 46 Straight Hours

Star Wars Trailer
Courtesy of Disney

Like a long distance runner training for a 10K or a mountain climber steeling themselves to conquer a towering peak, Jim Braden prepared for a grueling endurance test that would challenge himself physically and mentally.

His mission: tap into the Force to prove to the world that he was, indeed, the ultimate “Star Wars” fan. Instead of a sheer rock face or an uphill course, the gauntlet he had to pass through was outfitted with over-sized chairs and cup holders. But it was no less a trial.

“I wanted to demonstrate my passion,” Braden told Variety. “I grew up with ‘Star Wars.’ As a kid, the simple morality just appealed to me. Everybody likes a white hat hero they can get behind.”

Braden, a 40-year-old content strategist at Dell, was one of seven contestants who had signed up for the Alamo Drafthouse’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” marathon. With the promise of seven years of free movies, a boatload of collector’s items, and the chance to be mythologized along the lines of a certain ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, being dangled tantalizingly before them, Braden and the contingent of George Lucas disciples agreed to sit through all six previous “Star Wars” films and an endless loop of “The Force Awakens.”

“We had a nifty trophy with the words ‘ultimate champion’ on it,” said John Smith, creative manager at the Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse that held the contest. “It’s odd. We had prizes that were worth tens of thousands of dollars, but at the end of the day, they just wanted that title.”

When the lights finally went up and the last contestant had tapped out, Braden had spent a total of 46 hours watching “Star Wars.” He had set through nine straight showings of “The Force Awakens.”

“We put ourselves through hell mentally and physically,” said Braden. “Watching it became almost a hallucinatory experience… one other guy complained of having chest pains and dropped out.”

His body may have been taxed, but not his enthusiasm for the return of the Skywalker clan. In fact, Braden plans to see “The Force Awakens” with his parents when they come to visit him for the holidays.

“I came out of it saying that I still enjoyed the movie,” said Braden. “That’s how you know it’s good.”

Michael Roberts, a friend of Braden’s since their days working together at an ad agency, said that he wasn’t surprised about the outcome. Braden’s super fandom had spilled over to his work place, with “Star Wars” paraphernalia adorning his desk. At home, his office is adorned with a life-sized replica of Han Solo frozen in carbonite, along with Darth Vader and Storm Trooper masks and Millennium Falcon and R2D2 models.

“He’s not just a fan,” said Roberts. “He’s a legitimate fanatic.”

When Roberts picked up his friend to drive him to the theater, Braden told him that he had been researching breathing exercises and Navy SEAL training for tips on how to make it through days of sitting in the theater. He’d decided to space out his caffeine intake by six hour increments; to subsist on fruits and nuts, so he’d stay hungry; to wear shorts and flip flops, so he’d be cold in the air-conditioned theater. The idea was that if he was uncomfortable, he wouldn’t doze off and forfeit his chance to win the crown.

“When Jim does something, he goes all in,” Roberts said. “The other people weren’t prepared for him.”

Going into the contest, Braden had one stipulation for the Drafthouse team. He wanted to sit next to his six-year old son Kyle during the first screening of “The Force Awakens.”

“I’d always dreamed that I’d be able to take my son to a new ‘Star Wars’ movie,” said Braden.

Watch the cast of “Star Wars” sing the iconic theme music:

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  1. John Borcia says:

    Wow, how do you even do that for 46 hours straight?

  2. Heaven forbid that anyone by white males be cast in any roles! Where is this information?

  3. henry says:

    “I came out of it saying that I still enjoyed the movie,” said Braden. “That’s how you know it’s good.”
    studios still shilling

  4. Ed says:

    Nope, I might watch it when it comes out of TV. I won’t pay to see this PC fest.

  5. Someone needs to say it: The Force is strong with this fan.

  6. Anonymous Isn't Anonymous says:

    This movie was terrible. Its a carbon copy of A New Hope with a slow moving plot, ‘diverse’ stormtroopers, and one of the dumbest major character deaths I’ve ever seen. Its only saving grace is that it isn’t as bad as the prequels.

  7. CavScout25 says:

    This guy is so awesome and deserves to be plastered all over the news. I wish we could all emulate his dedication. I mean I remember staying awake in Iraq for almost 3 days on an exposed OP (Observation Post) with a few other guys watching routes for insurgents setting IED’s. Did that around 50 times during our 15 month deployment, but was nothing compared to this newsworthy hero. GTFO

    • With all due respect and gratitude for your service…

      You DO know this is Variety you’re commenting on, right? One of the go-to publications for the, you know, entertainment industry? This is an interesting story, and it’s in their line of reporting. I see no cause for complaint here.

      Now, if this story were running in, let’s say, the A section of Pravda-on-the-Hudson, then yeah, I’d take issue right along with you. But it’s an entertainment story, in an entertainment publication. And it’s informative and amusing, even for someone who’s not a Star Wars fan.

      LIGHTEN UP, man. Life’s too short to spend it all acting like Statler and Waldorf.

  8. epiminondas says:

    This is the audience for its content that Hollywood is creating. Now all they have to do is churn out copious amounts of this dreck.

  9. That Guy says:

    This is news?

  10. Disc-0-duc says:

    Star Wars 7: reboot, rehash, redeux, re-up, rewind, restart, reconstitute… re-diculous.

  11. My guess is that he was waiting for the good part of the movie….

  12. TwazkemUSAbi says:

    How has he not also received a caytlyn jenner award for bravery and been invited to the white house by obama?

  13. kimdi01 says:

    This beyond “fan” an more towards obsession. The “fan” needs to get a life, a REAL life and not that of a fantasy movie. I have not seen one Star Wars movie from the beginning and am not missing anything, especially the dollars I would have considered wasted.

  14. appleforaface says:

    Whatev, it’s his life.

  15. John says:

    The movie wasn’t even very good. Sitting through it once was enough for me.

  16. Luke Bottomdweller says:

    And every minute this idiot was doing nothing, we were losing our Nation…..
    and empowering the Evil Senate.

  17. Chewy Granola says:

    If along time ago, far from here, those people were fighting for an over-abundance of complete future idiots, they may have well just given up right then and there.

  18. Bennett N. Broaket says:

    I bet he hasn’t read the Constitution even once.

  19. David Hedricks says:

    You just can’t fix stupid …

  20. Mark says:

    File this under; I need to get out of my mom’s basement once in a while.

  21. Mike Pilot says:

    Watching Star Wars for 46 hours isn’t easy, i’ll concede to that since I too watched the marathon followed by watching The Force Awakens twice in a row.

    However, I traveled from Philly to SLC by the way of Dallas on two flights. I didn’t sleep the night before we left and the day before that. Overall I was up for 66 hours. (execute Order 66)

    Although I was mentally and physically exhausted, it didn’t make me enjoy any of it less. Since I had my wife and 10 year old daughter with me, it made everything that much more special.

    My daughter is a huge fan as well and she’s never had a chance to experience waiting in line for days or anything along those lines like we did back in the day. She enjoyed being in the theater with all these fans and seeing everything as much as when I took her to Celebration.

    So while this 40 year old guy (my age as well) did accomplish something grand (I tweeted several times that being up that long, sitting in a movie theater was a young mans game), I just don’t see why he would be singled out in a Variety article seeing that there were thousands of people doing something similar. They just had to do other things in their lives as well.

    I’m more impressed that a 10 year old got thru the marathon and episode vii screening without sleeping, getting grumpy or breaking down. She made it 48 hours as well and she was happy and excited and all in on the entire experience. Should she receive congratulations and praise? No, because she is a fan and she chose to do it, just for the love of it… and she wasn’t alone.

    There were MANY Younglings at these marathons around the country. That’s the story, that is what’s “Most Impressive”. The new generations of Star Wars fans, out there, enjoying their time and making life long memories.

    This comment in the article bothered me…

    “He’s not just a fan,” said Roberts. “He’s a legitimate fanatic.” – Seriously? Many people have rooms of Star Wars toys and memorabilia in their houses, many missed work, sleep and so on… Does this mean if he has more money to buy things and more time to watch movies, that he’s more of a fan than anyone else? That’s ridiculous thinking. It’s not about money, stuff and time spent.

    Someone watching Episode VII 4 times in 2 days doesn’t make them any more of a fan than someone who will watch it over their Christmas break. Everyone has their own story, responsibilities, issues and whatnot in their lives.

    Congrats to him. Congrats to her. Congrats to us all! MORE STAR WARS!!!

  22. Ric says:

    This guy needs some help from a Mental Health professional. And the sooner the better!!!

  23. Cris says:

    Ok I have a question. What is Chewbaca’s belt for? Is it just for decor or does actually do something. I’ve never seen him use it before, just wondering.

  24. sby1977 says:

    The new Star Wars is LAME!!!!!! Aside from great special effects…. zilch….

  25. Not sure, but I think you spelled idiot wrong…It’s not “f-a-n” silly!

  26. Rex says:

    Is stupid spelled with one p or two?

  27. dreamingscreenwriter says:

    This is not hard. I’ve done this with the 6 regular movies several times. Obviously not putting the right people into these contests. “superfan” my ass.

  28. Maria says:

    Harry Knowles didn’t win? Alamo Drafthouse is the best theater in the country by the way, bar none. They use full lumen projector bulbs and will kick anyone out who talks out loud or lights up a phone.

  29. JD says:

    Since when is mental illness a new story. This guy needs professional help and encouraging psychotic behavior should not be an option.

  30. Thomass Steel says:

    What a dick. Who was watching mommies basement for him during this?

  31. DesertEagle76 says:

    Does Star Wars have anything to do with the US Economy (or lack thereof) or the current political climate in which only the well connected benefit? I’ll wait until it does before I buy into this or any other Disney production anytime soon.

  32. i dont give a fuck about these overrated star wars movies. never even seen a single movie or owned any star wars merchandise. what the hell is the hype behind this crap. i would rather watch a wwf divas title match between charlotte and tamika snuka

  33. Professor Fate says:

    When I saw the first ‘Star Wars’ film in 1977, I was blown away. The second one wasn’t bad, the third one was okay. I read the reviews of the fourth one and decided I’d pass. I haven’t seen one since. IMO it’s been done to death, they’ve wrung out every drop of series merchandising and the plot lines are getting thin. The CGI and 3-D effects are taking the place of any coherency or good dialogue. The franchise’s best years are behind it. Let it go.

  34. Rick4982 says:

    Must lead a very boring life.

  35. Wallythedog says:

    That’s nothing, I’ve actually gotten out of bed at 6:00 am every week day and many weekends and gone to work everyday since 1981.

  36. cadavra says:

    Don’t you people ever get tired of yourselves?

  37. Methusula says:

    They really need to stop accepting ebt at theaters…

  38. schm0e says:

    …and then what did he?

  39. Jamesben says:

    What’s scarier is that guy can vote…

  40. AZWarrior says:

    Voice over Police Bullhorn, “Put down the Ju-Ju Beans and step away from the Snack Bar!”

  41. gmailuser says:

    I think he needs to get a life. In fact there are lot of them in need of professional help.

  42. Darth Hussein says:

    The Star Wars devotees are a religious cult.

  43. he is an idiot and should be watched. unstable idiot….

  44. albert8184 says:

    He’s incredible. I fell asleep halfway through the new movie the first time I saw it. What a dud.

  45. notafan says:

    That’s nothing. There are homeless people going on 3 weeks of living in a Laguardia Airport bathroom.

  46. Phil Hearn says:

    Just in time to win “Moron of the Year” award for 2015

  47. John_M_B says:

    This is particularly remarkable considering I wanted to walk out after the first 15 minutes. From the complete lack of character development to the silly dialogue, this movie was to the Star Wars franchise what “Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein” was to the original Frankenstein movie.

    • Lincoln Robertson says:

      Fifteen minutes isn’t enough time for character development nor even a whole lotta dialogue, so I’m kinda wondering if you even went.

      • John_M_B says:

        Would you like to hear about the last scene? In time, I will be able to watch the first 15 minutes again. I will get back to you on why I was so disappointed with what I saw.

    • Did you actually watch the original Star Wars? They were just as silly and required almost as much suspension of disblief as this one did. The only big downside to this movie (other than its obvious plagarism of A New Hope for plot) was how many “coincidences” took place. But that’s it. It was an excellent movie otherise.

      • Lincoln Robertson says:

        “…suspension of belief?” You do realize it’s science fiction? So yeah, I would think we all go in for the escapism. I’m 54 and found the quality of the 3D generation nothing short of miraculous.

      • John_M_B says:

        I did watch the original Star Wars and looking back I think it should be redone with a “Luke” that isn’t such a cry baby this time. But at least in that film there was a story line that developed enough so that they were able to make several more decent movies.

      • albert8184 says:

        If you think this was excellent, I’m scared to see what you hate.

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