The Happenened

February 16, 2009


Well, that sort of semi-worked! True, I broke Twitter, probably lost a few hundred followers, was utterly confounded by the whole hashtags business and never properly coordinated proceedings with @badmovieclub, but people seemed to have a good time anyway. (More details here).

Pressing the ‘play’ button at exactly 9.00 proved a MASSIVE rush, for some reason, and by the time my heart rate had slowed to a manageable gallop, we were fifteen minutes into the film. The rest of the evening was insane–my focus was constantly torn between laptop and movie, and I never really worked out a good way of staying abreast of things. (Monitter, for example, was just a blur!). I hadn’t seen the film before and I presumed I’d be able to wing it, but I just couldn’t catch up with all the silliness. Nothing makes sense in ‘The Happening’! Every time I looked up, something  preposterous was, well, happening, and by the time I’d thought of what to say about it, typed it, and looked up again, it was a new scene. I still feel like I only half-saw the film. (I want to go back and hear that whole speaking tube/mood ring conversation. Holy cow, that sucked!)

And there’s a Tweet limit! Who knew? I wasted a lot of Tweets by nattering on about the countdown etc and one hour into the film, Twitter shut me out without my knowing it. This was really disorienting because I was sending stuff out and getting no feedback. After a few minutes I realised that I was doing the written equivalent of talking to myself like a crazy person.

I don’t want to sort out another one until I’ve had a bit of a think about how to improve it. The BMC is a nice idea but the implementation was all over the place. That said, I am deliriously happy about the way other people took the idea and ran with it…Kat’s brilliant badmovieclub site, complete with GMT countdown clock (so we could all ‘synchronize our watches’)…  Lauriepink’s cheerful logo (and T-shirt!)….the thousands of tweets that everyone contributed….even the ways people chose to enjoy the evening. It truly felt like a happening, in the hippy sense of the word, and I was absolutely chuffed to be part of it.

Ah! By the way, the super secret competition was won by @lauriepink. I was looking for the most creative take on the experience and I could not let her go unrewarded for the logo/t-shirt/cartoon comments. A signed box set of ‘IT Crowd’ 1-3 will be in your hands very soon, Laurie.


  1. I still have no idea what happened in that movie except for the best damn nostril acting I ever saw (and I’ve seen Dawsons Creek.)

    Was it the bees?

  2. There was ‘The Happening’ rage in my household. Other half refused point blank to watch it. Hence huge sulking for Valentine’s Day. Over a film I didn’t actually want to see. Other than to be part of it all, man.

  3. It was like being blindfolded and rolled down a steep hill in a shopping trolley whilst your friends ride beside you in cars yelling out the window and hooting horns. Totally bewildering and lots of fun.

  4. It was horrendously enjoyable. The movie defied all my expectations.

    Yes, I agree the mood ring bit was possibly the best part. Although the bit where Marky Mark pretends to his estranged wife that he once chatted up a woman pharmacist “and I didnt even have a cough” was just beyond comprehension. Im hoping it is on YouTube because I have been having trouble explaining to friends just how awful it really was…and I dont want them to have to go out and rent it. We need not be responsible for Mark Wahlbergs career revival…

  5. I’m still not sure of exactly what happened in the film, due to my OCD-like attention to the #badmovieclub Twitter stream.

    I am disappointed there wasn’t a subplot like this one, though:


  6. I have to admit I gave up after half an hour because it was just too confusing trying to follow the film and the tweets. It would be really good fun to do with maybe 20 people but it was just too damn popular lol

  7. The whole evening was great! I really hope we get to do it again, although I agree. more planning is required next time. Not least, watching the movie ahead of time!

    BTW @lauriepink winning the competition is well deserved!

  8. Who knew being confused could be so much fun! And congrats to @lauriepink, that really is the cutest turd I ever did see.

  9. It was amazing to watch this event, even thou i didn’t see the movie itself. It was immediately the most (or one of the most) popular terms/keywords/items on twitter. Anyone looking at search.twitter.com or hashtags would have seen it at the top of the list.

    I was following using monitter and like you say, you couldn’t read the tweets such was the pacd
    Monitter - twitter app
    (this was taken next day when things had quietened down.

    It was the 2nd most popular thriller on itunes

    the power of badfilmclub

    and the 25th overall

    the power of badfilmclub

    The way an event like this had such an affect on such global sites in amazing. Could you have imagined this even a year a go?

    People having fun, for free (or very cheap, or not so cheap if you are a wine snob) and no beer bottles were thrown. probably.

    good stuff

  10. Good times. My housemate’s think I’m mental, but they’ve never been in a cinema where everyone was voicing their opinions throughout the movie. Neither have I to be honest but it felt a bit like it.

    lauriepink’s flickr set is well deserving of the prize.

  11. I think the chaotic nature of it added to the experience. Trying to read every tweet was never going to be practical, no matter what the software used, you just had to spot good ones every now and again, and rely on people re-tweeting the best. It would, perhaps, be a good idea for the “host” to have viewed the film in advance, but I’m not sure it’s vital.

    I also have the feeling of not having really seen the film though, I kind of feel the urge to go back and watch it again (surely it wasn’t so stupid? surely it didn’t make that little sense? surely it wasn’t that awful?), am managing quite easy to resist so far though.

    I look forward to the next one. Personally I think you should nominate the next “host” and they they should pick the next film from all the nominations, and then pick the next host when it’s all over again.

    Oh, and I vote for monthly!

    More on my take on the experience and film here:


  12. We need a film that everyone has seen before (or can watch on fast forward in advance).

    Then we can sit around making fun of it.

  13. Just to relive the highlights…and lets face it, who wouldnt want to?

  14. The film was about Night’s eternal wanting to scare the pants off the world population, but in fact this movie just made you want to throw pot plants at shurbs. And without sound it looks like a suicide party with 10 points for falling off buildings.

  15. I also took an age to realise you had to preface tweets with #badmovieclub to post them in the right place,instead of having to toggle backwards and forwards on the “tweetdeck” One guy,i cant remember his name cracked me up,berating us all to “tag your tweets if you can be arsed!”..YorkshireLen was my favourite tweeter. I really enjoyed it,sad,stop at home git that i am.

  16. I really enjoyed the whole experience, though it might work better if the film in question is a proper enjoyable b-movie, rather than a genuinely confusing/dreadful piece of movie-pointlesssness.

    I can remember the previous week Graham watching A Few Good Men on the TV and commenting on it. I was watching it as well and found the whole experience very amusing and communal – like having a free show of Ted/Roy watching the telly. I think this works much better just because the scale is so much more managable.

    I will continue to have twitter open at 11pm-2am to see if Graham is watching a film on TV, and then tune in myself to share the experience. Last night ‘we’ watched Mission Impossible 3 :-)

  17. I absolutely loved it in all its chaotic madness. I really wouldn’t change a thing. What was great about Bad Movie Club was that a large number of people were doing something together simply for the sake of having a laugh. That Glinner got booted, broke twitter and lots of people lost their way only made it so much better.

    I vote weekly. Lets replace traditional broadcasting with simultaneous playback for the sheer hell of it!

    I wasn’t around for the moon landing, but BMC was a worthy runner up.

  18. I thought it was great. Without Twitter crashing towards the end then the tension would have been lost. I am not sure if Graham may have scripted that just to add to the experience, you know what these writers are like! I think it would be good to have some closure though. I personally won’t be watching it again and maybe a ceremonial mass destruction could be just the thin, with the most novel method getting a New Kids on the Block CD?
    Disturbingly I found this photo (thanks google!), it’s not fair to keep it all to myself… http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z109/nelly225/Mark-Wahlberg.jpg

  19. Cheese and crackers! I loved being part of the happening, as our TV and PC are in different rooms I was zipping from one room to the other as if I were in an outrageous farce! Nice to know it was confusing whether you were in the same boat or not. The sheer amount of nonsense in the film and the unintentional laughs it provided was breathtaking. I could watch it again and again. But I won’t.

    Sure, there are things that could be done differently but that’s all the more reason to have another!

  20. I had a great time. You provided an amusing commentary for the most part.

    Perhaps for a future event, you can set up an IRC channel for everyone. This worked out great when 50+ people and myself did a Star Trek Voyager marathon (one season per day). God awful series and we had a great time poking fun at each scene. It can also handle the stress of several hundred people connecting at once unlike other web-based chat rooms. Please consider.

  21. Just wanted to drop that in before it got tooo tooo late. For all those who’ve had the song buzzing around their heads all week. I’d have edited my own version but I couldn’t be ballsed.

  22. I have to agree – I just loved the chaotic, crazy rush of loads of people simualtaneously trying to cue up a DVD, twitter and follow other tweets, pay attention to a plot (in the loosest sense of the word) and wonder WTF they were seeing! Glinner’s subsequent trip on the wall of Twitter (who knew!) only made it more hysterically funny. Monthly screenings (I think weekly would struggle organisationally) is something I would totally be into. I would also like to say how proud I am to be part of this massive and genius communal mind-meld.
    Love you all #badmovieclub tweeps!

  23. It was fun, but you cant watch the movie ahead of time (at most 75%!), it’ll be just wrong! the wtf moments were great and a few seconds later someone had posted enough details to understand it. Maybe an interval though! with 30 mins mid film discussion! you can’t do this if you know the ending…

  24. BTW Well done to @lauriepink well deserved! Those Cartoons on Flickr were ace! cant get over the Bee trend graph! excellent work!


  25. Chris Morrell >>> YorkshireLen was my favourite tweeter.

    Thank you Chris, I can only hope you were sober whilst making that assessment.


    Really enjoyed #badmovieclub. No, it wasn’t perfect, but who expected it to be? I hope it can be arranged again, as somebody’s got to break the Internet, why the hell shouldn’t it be us?

    Suggestions for next time, for whoever has the time and inclination to organise it:

    # A wee bit more notice would be nice, so people can find as cheap a copy of the film as possible. I almost came unstuck after realising that Woolies, Zaavi and cash converters had all closed in my town.

    # Using monniter.com didn’t really work for me – far too much information was streaming down the three columns. It felt like I was trying to read the matrix whilst wearing someone else’s glasses. I can’t remember the name of the app I did use, but it’s the one that automatically puts in the hashtag for you and displays all other messages with that tag. Simple, but effective. A bit like twitter itself.

    # Having a ‘name’ hosting the screening does seem to get peoples interest, even though the ‘name’ doesn’t actually have to do anything different to anyone else. They’re really just someone you can follow separately. If Graham is reluctant to host again, perhaps he could persuade someone else?

    # Have to agree about the countdown clock, a brilliant idea that really added to the night. In fact, a big thanks from me to the people behind the badmovieclub site and whoever else put time and effort into making #badmovieclub night work as well as it did.


  26. It’d be far easier to do it using a irc room and something like vidsync to keep everyone in sync.

  27. Well it was a fantastic night which was superbly organised (fab website) and mostly well orchestrated (hurrah for two screenings).

    It’s great to see people so eager to join together and watch something so dreadful.

    Having never seen the film before, I’m still completely confused by it. Most of the time I was more engrossed by the constant stream of comments. I’d look back and forth between the laptop and screen, and the film had taken even more leaps into the realms of madness.

    Here’s hoping Bad Movie Club Round 2 is even more successful.

  28. I couldn’t say this until you’d seen the film, but when you said “Be part of a HAPPENING” a week ago, I thought you were going to arrange to have a bunch of people hanging out in a public square, and then at the prearrange signal you’d all suddenly go all still and quiet and then start slowly walking backwards…

  29. I think this has made me realise the power of Twitter … I can’t wait for the new series of ‘The Apprentice’ to start … it’s the ultimate RantTV programme and if we can all agree to use #theapprentice as our tag; I’ll see you there! Other suggestions for TwitterTVRantTags include #eastenders, #dragonsden #celebritychef etc etc … :-)

  30. It was hilarious.
    My new favourite comedy film.

    Looking forward to round 2 at some point.

  31. Really enjoyed watching the midnight show, maybe it was less busy so easier to follow? Or people were more mellow so slightly more laid back.

    I used Tweetdeck with an extra column open for the #badmovieclub. One of the funnier moments was early on, Phil J realising he could not find # on his macbook keyboard.

    The movie itself was dreadful. The trees were less wooden than the actors. And the fixation on tiramisu was interesting.

  32. I loved it – appalling film but enormously entertaining tweets.

    @Len – I think you mean tweetchat.com which was very easy to use.

  33. Watching the movie ahead of time would, IMHO, be a mistake. The joy is to try to duplicate the effect of having a bunch of dudes and dudettes flopped in a room on a Friday night muttering, ‘what *is* this shite?’

    You’ve described the mayhem very well though – I was nearly tempted to watch it again on Saturday. ‘Didn’t though, go figure. :)

  34. Tremendously great fun thanks to you and all involved. Was honoured to have been part of it and look forward to the next one :D

  35. You can’t beat a live event! # needs to be short as someone said, very short, or is there a way to get it under one key? At first tweet I realised I could not watch the film and tweet, it was one or the other. A second time we would all have thought about technicalities. At the start I was excited and full of enjoyment at all the tweets. However this went in a de-cresendo until nearing the end I started feeling depressed. I started to realise the tweets talking of suicide might not be joking and that indeed our Graham might have already gone.

  36. It was mental, both the twitter feed (thank dog for twitterchat) and the film.

    I kinda agree that it should be a monthly thing. I’m sure some would like weekly, but afterwards i felt all tweetered out and was wandering around in a net-less haze for 2 days.

    Also agree that its best if not too many people have seen the film, and you shoudn’t watch it before, as half the fun is just expressing “What, The, Fuck?!” at stuff, rather than reading everything.
    Wickerman for beginning of March!

  37. This can’t be crappening man!

  38. This was sweet! I mean, Tweet!

  39. I’d like to 2nd the suggestions for IRC or another chat-room solution. When I was a teenager, I used to listen to They Might Be Giants albums with other nerds on IRC.

    Starting chat rooms on AIM is easy, too.

  40. I never got to take part either due to a very emotional pregnant wife, a dress that had shrunk in the wash, a wobbly coat stand and a broken door.

    lamentable all round. Especially as the dress went back to it’s actual size when it dried.

  41. Such a great idea! Do it again!

  42. Graham… I know everyone is having a lot of fun on twitter. Just don’t abandon this lovely place completely in favour of tweeting at those with more free time. I like keeping abreast with your blog, but I tried to work twitter and just can’t. (is there any way to just ignore the messages directed at certain people and just view the ‘main’ ones, you posting nice links & such…). As you can see, I don’t know any of the terminology and was overwhelmed by just looking at your page and attempting to follow you.

    I’ve strayed from my point… All I meant to say was don’t abandon the blog! I kinda like it here…

  43. i think this sort of thing would be better suited to good old IRC… then again, it’s not as ~cool~ as twitter, who uses irc these days, right?

    i might participate in the next one if there is one

  44. [As Roy from THE IT CROWD].

    So how exactly was this different from going to a very noisy cinema with people talking all the way through the filum?

  45. the man can howl
    i’m glad to see that shaun ellis aka “the wolf man” was back on the telly tonight channel 5 8pm (dont miss the second part next tuesday).
    if you dont know who i’m talking about you really should see this :

  46. Dale, if you go to Settings > Notices > @Replies: Show me > select ‘no @replies’, it’ll just show you the people you’re following’s updates, not their messages to other people.

  47. Dale, however if you do that you’ll be missing out on following through conversations. By clicking on the @person your followed person is speaking to it sometimes gets very interesting!

  48. I won’t neglect WTD, I promise. It’s actually work that’s taking up most of my time at the moment, not Twitter.

  49. If twitter ever took over your life that’ll give the internet an extra win. It’ll be a win I, and many of us, will possibly maybe positively hate.

    I tried playing with this bad movie club, but I saw the movie when it came out. It’s not a movie anyone can watch twice. Maybe for the next twitter outing, there’ll be a movie that isn’t truly bad. Please?

  50. Why would you submit yourself to such torture! Id rather have my eylids ripped off than watch that film again…

    A seriously bad film is called ‘the machine girl’ had me in stitches

  51. […] unimportance of most tweets, and the plain pointlessness of many, were unfounded.  And when somebody starts tweeting every minute about the film that they are currently watching (a film that I am not […]

  52. […] night whilst keeping an eye on the footie, as a follow up to The Happening, which I wrote about here, I decided to try and create a tool that would improve the experience of […]

  53. […] unimportance of most tweets, and the plain pointlessness of many, were unfounded.  And when somebody starts tweeting every minute about the film that they are currently watching (a film that I am not […]

  54. You could also try http://www.scribblelive.com/ which we Irish Twitters have been using to tweet Questions and Answers among other things. Works really well.

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