I feel like over the last decade or so, the number of movies with lengths well over 2 hours have steadily increased. In theory, I suppose the Hollywood forces think more movie = more entertainment value. Or, perhaps those temperamental directors have the final word and believe the story can’t be told without all those superfluous scenes.
Movies are by far my most valued form of leisure time (get your heads out of the gutter!) I don’t watch TV, I read only for my business, I don’t take dancing or cooking classes and I refrain from 1-976 calls. So I know movies.
It’s a simple equation, one that more financial backer sin Hollywood should use: a movie’s value is measured by how much it entertains.
The more I forget about my life outside the theatre, the better the movie. If I’m captivated and immersed, big thumbs up. But the more moments that I look around, fidget, think about other things, or predict the end of a scene means the movie is failing at its job, it’s failing me…the audience.
So, by definition, the longer the movie, the greater the chance of failed entertainment moments. For the 40 years I’ve been watching movies and I’m sure for decades prior, movies have stayed between the 90 to 120 minute mark, with relatively few exceptions. There is a reason behind this. It is battle tested with audiences. No need to bathroom breaks. No fear of wandering minds or restlessness.
Now 10 or 15 minutes over is no big deal…again, depends on quality of the movie. But once you cross the 2:20 hour mark, the law of diminishing returns kicks in with logarithmic intent. 2:40, 2:45 are insane lengths for a movie.
I often re-watch movies. If they are good, I’ll watch up to 10 times. Sometimes I may skip to the entertaining scenes. But I won’t endeavour to re-watch long movies because it is too great a commitment. Even for the great ones such as Titanic and Avatar.
It boggles me why Hollywood doesn’t get better feedback from test audiences, or maybe they don’t listen. At the end of the day, Hollywood is controlled by Wall st. so..
Better entertainment = more trips to the theatre = more dollars in their pockets.
Exceptionally few long movies are so engaging that they can hold an audiences’ attention and make me want to see them again. Some examples include:
Shawshank Redemption, Matrix, Inception, Gladiator, Green Mile, Forest Gump
Examples of good movies that are long…and thus I often won’t watch them again:
Titanic, Avatar, Dances with Wolves
Examples of good movies that have no business being longer than 2 or so hours (note how often Tarantino shows up).
Inglorious Bastards, Django, Hunger games (all), Lord of the Rings & Hobbit movies (all), and most recently Fury.
Note: I could have listed many many more in those categories but you get my drift.
So cut out the fluff Hollywood, I can help show you the boring, drawn out and unnecessary scenes! My time is worth money…well to me it is. ;-)