I finally got around to watching Gravity. I enjoyed the film. The plot was thin. And you're telling me that an American medical engineer knows how to fly a Chinese space station module back to Earth? That seems unlikely. Was there a deleted scene where they showed her reading the manual? Plus, Sandra Bullock overacted a bit. I suspect that if you're alone in space, rather than crying and screaming and going through a full range of outward emotions, you would just stoically do what it takes to survive... sort of like when I lost my virginity.
No, the reason I liked Gravity is because it was short. The entire movie clocks in at 85 minutes. I pressed the "play" button on my DVD remote. And an hour-and-a-half later I was back at my job as Jaden Smith's personal assistant.
Movies have gotten too long. "Long" is bad. Tall is good. Big is good. But long is bad. Long lines are bad. Long waits are bad. Long Dong Silver almost ended Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' legal career. And, yes, it would've been good had Thomas not been nominated to the Supreme Court. He's just awful. But it will be a long time before he retires, and that's bad.
There's a reason why McDonald's doesn't offer "Long Macs." (reason: It's hard to find long kangaroo meat.)
When did movies get so long? And why?
The original horror classic Frankenstein had a running time of 70 minutes, including the scene where Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm at the diner. I bet nobody left the theater in 1931 thinking, "It needed more time for character development. What was the corpse's backstory?" And Frankenstein was legitimately scary. The horrendous Kenneth Branagh re-make, starring Robert DeNiro as Frankenstein's monster, was over two hours long. And that didn't even include the time it took to complain to the theater manager and demand your money back.
The great romantic comedy Annie Hall was barely an hour-and-a-half. The romantic crapfest 27 Dresses clocked in at 111 minutes. That's more than 4 minutes per dress. Does 27 Dresses really think it deserves to be longer than Annie Hall? These newer romantic comedies have a real chip on their shoulder.
Noah, the biblical story currently in theaters, is 2 hours and 28 minutes long. The actual story itself, in the book of Genesis, is a couple of pages. Why would two pages ever take that long to explain? (unless we're referring to my Match.com profile) In 1966, famous film director John Huston directed The Bible, which was only a half-hour longer than Noah, and yet it managed to cover not only the story of the Ark, but also Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Abraham, and how God decides which team should win the Super Bowl based on players pointing to the sky during their touchdown celebrations.
Dumbo has a running time of exactly 64 minutes. And Dumbo is the most perfect movie ever made. I mean, not counting Road House. "A man puts a gun in yer face, you got two choices -- stand there 'n die or kill the motherf**er!" (note: That's a quote from Road House, not Dumbo. Although little Dumbo could've used that advice during his scenes with the clowns.)
I enjoyed Nebraska. But it was 15 minutes too long. They could've trimmed Silver Linings Playbook by at least 20 minutes. I saw Man of Steel when it was in the theater. That movie was 141 minutes too long. (The film itself was 143 minutes. But I went to the restroom for a couple minutes at one point. So, in fairness, it's possible that those two minutes I missed weren't as hideously terrible as the rest of the movie.)
I'm a fan of Judd Apatow, director of such entertaining films as Funny People and Knocked Up. But once the story is resolved, the end credits should begin rolling. Once the story is resolved, you don't throw in another 18 minutes of screen time for your daughters. I don't even like watching my own home movies. Don't make me watch yours.
There are epic films whose stories justify their lengths. Lawrence of Arabia, the Peter O'Toole classic, probably deserved its three-plus hours. It takes a lot of time to conquer the Ottoman Empire. I loved Gandhi, especially now that it's part of the Marvel cinematic universe. I give Gandhi a pass because it's of historical importance. But The Wolf of Wall Street was of no historical relevance and it most certainly was no "epic." I just spent three hours (!) watching Leonardo DiCaprio have sex with prostitutes. And I haven't even seen the movie yet.
Frankly, though, it's not easy to sit through any three-hour movie, regardless of its significance, or even its entertainment value. Schindler's List was riveting, but tell that to my cramped legs and sore ass. Also, by the third hour, my arm was falling asleep and my shoulders were starting to tighten up and relative to the horrific atrocities committed in the film these whiny complaints are making me look really bad so I should probably stop writing and wrap things up now.
The most important person in the making of any movie is not the director or the writer or the actors. It's the editor. Well, also the fluffer. Gravity may not have won the Academy Award for Best Picture. However, it did bring home the Oscar for best film editing. Specifically, the award went to a guy named Mark Sanger (along with director Alfonso Cuaron, who also shared in the editing duties). Most people have never heard of Mark Sanger. But at the awards show, he deserved a standing ovation.
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