Four Hour Party People


  1. Firstly, lay out some red carpet in front of your house: any old material will do – velvet, silk, a tea-towel... If you live in shared accommodation, paint a doormat red and stick it outside your room.
  2. Clear your front room of the usual attractive sofa/chairs arrangement and set things up cinema-style so everyone has a good view of the telly. Keep it intimate: don’t invite people who know nothing about films and will make everyone fume by constantly asking: “Who’s that?”/“Never heard of it!”/“Haven’t seen it”/“Who’s the bloke cracking all the bad jokes...?”
  3. Get some decent champagne in for starters – it makes everyone cheery and dizzy-drunk, and you can all live vicariously through the stars you’ll be watching by pretending you can afford it – and stockpile plenty of chic nibbles. You could always theme these cinematically: Brokeback Mountain pork ribs, Syriana kebabs, Crash dark and white chocolates and so on...
  4. There must and shall be dressing up. Not wearing jeans is not dressing up. We’re talking hiring stuff – sharp and dignified for male guests and glam/sexy for the laydees. You may scoff, but it’ll feel special and the early morning, glitter-turns-to-trash phase will be much more authentic. Anyone who turns up in a default Reservoir Dogs outfit, however, should be slapped hard and turned away.
  5. Fill the inevitable lulls by inventing a few categories of your own. Suggestions: Most Ill-Advised Dress (Female); Wackiest ‘I’m Too Individual To Do The Black-Tie Thing’ Get-Up (Male); Most ‘Can-I-Go-Now’ Award-Presenter; Longest List Of People Thanked (count ’em!).


The Drinking Game

Red Carpet

It begins. Steel your system with a few splashes of Red Bull then allow yourself a tentative sip of champagne whenever one of your guests uses any of the following phrases:

“Matt Dillon! It’s Matt Dillon!”
“Ooh, it’s Judi Dench. I hope she wins. She deserves it. She’s old.”
“Is that Charlize Theron? She’s scrubbed up well since Monster.”
“Ha, ha, ha. Look at Heath Ledger. He looks homeless.”
“Isn’t William Hurt TALL?”
“Is that the bloke from Brother Bear? Ah. Benicio Del Toro...”
“Isn’t Jake Gyllenhaal gorgeous?”

Opening Ceremony

Jon Stewart wows ’em. Move on to a hearty glug of Foster’s at the appearance of:

  • Clint Eastwood in the front row, grinning at Stewart’s near-the-knuckle jibes.
  • A-listers suffering sense-of-humour failure at Stewart’s too-near-the-knuckle jibes.
  • Audience members whom none of your party can name.

Just to keep the party going, knock back a healthy swig of Stella for:

  • Jon cheekily introducing the year’s movies with an “I wish I could quit you!” quip aimed at Clint Eastwood.
  • Clint Eastwood in the front row, grinning at the above.
  • Susan Sarandon, genuinely appalled at the above.
  • Stewart appearing as King Kong in unfunny but technically impressive King Kong pastiche.
  • Stewart doing a genuinely funny Russell Crowe/Paul Giamatti impersonation in Cinderella Man pastiche.
  • Stewart appearing in monkey suit again, expressing comedy fist-shaking outrage at Andy Serkis not being nominated.
  • Stewart appearing as Russell Crowe in a boxing ring with Clint Eastwood, expressing comedy fist-shaking outrage at having been ignored in the Best Actor category for Cinderella Man.

Treat yourself to a big ol’ double rum or straight vodka for uncommon glimpses of:

  • An official seat-warmer easing into an A-lister’s pew at the precise moment of vacation.
  • Mickey Rourke, looking tanned and aglow with a sense of belonging.
  • Woody Allen, laughing with an easy, infectious joie de vivre.
  • John Travolta, attacking some kind of florid-looking gateau on a paper plate.
  • Tom, Katie and Nicole, all together like one big, happy dysfunctional family.

The Awards

Down to business: crack open the Jack Daniels and down a resolve-stiffening shot for:

  • Anyone caught using the word ‘Tinseltown’ unironically.
  • A lengthy, self-congratulatory montage celebrating whichever unsung, behind-the-scenes heroes weren’t celebrated last year (editors, projectionists, ushers...).

Treat yourself to a dizzying double tequila if you witness any of the following:

  • A charisma-free winner of a mystifying technical award being allowed to stand in front of billions of people and talk about how much he enjoyed doing the mystifying technical thing.
  • Steven Spielberg clapping passionately at the above.
  • Any executive producer hogging the microphone to deliver a sphincter-twitching ramble about how everyone he worked with on the film deserves an award for DOING THEIR JOB PROPERLY.

If you’re still not feeling merry, take a public-spirited measure of absinthe on sight of:

  • Very, very poorly concealed resentment from any losing actor/actress.
  • The Best Actress or Supporting Actress thanking her mother.
  • The Best Actor or Supporting Actor thanking his dad.

If you’re feeling slightly worse for wear at this stage, top yourself up with a soothing gulp of Evian for:

  • Over-enthusiastic, compensatory applause from any losing actor/actress with “You talentless bastard!” clearly shining in their cold, resentful eyes.
  • The Best Actress/Supporting Actress not crying.
  • The Best Actor/Supporting Actor crying.
  • Any famous director who doesn’t have a beard.
  • Anyone who takes to the stage to collect a Best SFX award who doesn’t have a beard.
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman winning Best Actor and missing the opportunity to tell everyone how hot his wife is again.

The Aftermath

Dawn is breaking, and the world doesn’t look any different. Put yourself back together with a gin if:

  • On top of being ignored for Cinderella Man, Russell Crowe wasn’t even invited to the ceremony.
  • Reese Witherspoon didn’t win Best Actress.
  • Ang Lee didn’t win Best Director.

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.