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I prefer other people start topics, but I was wondering if anyone ever posted about the length of movies (especially today).  Many non-epic movies on TCM finish in under two hours.  When I went to see Wonder Woman with G. Gadot, it could have been cut.  Same with Black Panther (even though I enjoyed both).  I like Martin S., but three and a half hours for The Irish Man (name?)?  There are reasons to watch epic movies such as Lawrence of Arabia (or even Gone With The Wind).  Charlton Heston is not how I envision Moshe or Moses; however, De Mille did manage to make the long film watchable.  However, my Mom saw the musical My Fair Lady on Broadway.  The movie, while I still enjoy it (though not as much as Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller in Pygmalion), goes on too long (I'm Getting Married in the Morning seems to drag on).

 

I'm wondering what other people's opinions are.  I wouldn't want to be a parent dragging a child/children to a movie in a movie theater (when they reopen) today.  Not only are the films long, but you have to sit through advertisements as well as coming attractions.  One funny story (off topic).  When my girlfriend and I went to see a movie a few years ago, there was an advertisement for a movie with Warren Beatty - he was playing Howard Hughes, but movie really wasn't about him.  My girlfriend said, "Is he still alive?"  I saw the movie on a premium channel and liked his Hughes as opposed to Leo's in The Aviator (another film that went on too long).  Don't remember if I ever saw Melvin and Howard (I think I did - Jason Robards Jr. was a tremendous actor, who was very cordial to me when I met him after seeing him on Broadway in You Can't Take It With You).  Excuse typos and please excuse if this has been covered elsewhere.

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I suppose it depends on two things: how one's attention span can extend itself and the quality of the movie also plays an important part of it.

I myself can sit through GONE WITH THE WIND, SPARTACUS, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, A STAR IS BORN (1954), to name a few, time and time again. The stories are so enthralling it makes me lose track of the time.

On the other hand, I would never want to sit through the Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton/Fox fiasco that was1963'S  CLEOPARTRA ever again because I felt every second of that drag of a movie.

Certainly small children wouldn't be able to sit still through a 3 hour movie or longer (and I am doubtful of 2 hour movies as well), but pre-teens might be a bit more willing to give them a chance.

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It feels like I'm discussing some long-ago era, but I'd certainly noticed increasingly bloated running times for superhero fare in recent years. That last Avengers movie was three and a half hours. I thought it could have had an hour cut out of it and not lost any coherence (not that it had a lot). I saw it in a packed house (wonder if such a thing will ever happen again), and everyone seemed really enthralled, so I suppose such a thing is possible, even for the young. Anything other than a superhero movie, though, and I seriously doubt it.

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It really depends on the film. There are some films that run about two and a half hours or maybe even three that feel like they need every minute of that time. But others with long runtimes begin to really drag about 30 minutes to an hour before the end. Films years ago generally handled the longer runtimes better. Quite a few films nowadays run for considerable runtimes but the results are hit and miss. i do tend to prefer efficency.

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I believe that director's ego is the main cause of longer movies today. "If that person's action movie sequel lasted two and a half hours, then mine has to last two and three quarters hours," and so on.

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A movie should be long enough to reach the ground.  

(Unless it's one of the Transformers sequels, where they could chop out literally the first hour with no damage to the story...)

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I think this sort of thing all depends on if the complete story can be told within the length of time the filmmaker has chosen to tell it.

Take for instance the following story which I believe its filmmaker has chosen just the the right amount of time to tell...

 

 

(...yes, as Mr. Newland here clearly demonstrates, I believe it quite often behooves a filmmaker to dispense with the unnecessary flourishes of an overwrought style and thus the needless additional time to include them just in order to convey its narrative to an audience)

 

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Yeah, there are some movies that could benefit by a longer run time(of course, if they fill the time with material that adds clarity to the plot or other interesting footage.  And we all have our particular examples.

I've always felt(and voiced here) that THE DEER HUNTER could have had 45 minutes of what I considered wasted film footage cut out and still  would have had a good movie. 

But in reading newspaper movie reviews(which too, I only read to get an idea of what the movie is about) I've read several critics call two hours a "long running time". 

Sepiatone

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7 hours ago, chaya bat woof woof said:

Close Encounters and The Right Stuff were both long, but I didn't find the length a problem.  I have only seen pieces of Heaven's Gate (but length was noted as part of the problem).  

Has anyone who ever tried to give "poor, picked-on" Heaven's Gate the benefit of the doubt ever gotten past the opening Harvard scenes, with the debates and then the waltzing?

(And waltzing....And waltzing...)

 

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The longer the movie, the harder it is for me to watch it, which is why I struggle with watching Epics. I can sit through a 2-3 movie if the story is good, but if the story is terrible, I won't hesitate to shut it off. I'm not someone who will sit through a movie they don't enjoy 

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There are some long movies which are good once, but can't sit through them again even when can control showing.  But there are not really that many.  Most movies today could use some serious editing.

For me, anything over 120 mins. is doubtful.  Of course, now you have extremely long introductions of all the production companies, producers, actors, etc.  Credits at end last longer than some TV shows.

90 minutes actually is my preferred running time for a movie.  The quality of the screen play, acting and direction is a major influence on whether or not the length is appropriate.  But still, over two hours - not likely.

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51 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Some of my favorites over 2 hours long

over 2 hours but less than 2 1/2-

Rosemary's Baby (1968) 138 min

over 2 1/2 hours but less than 3-

Nashville (1975) 159 min

Over 3 hours-

Barry Lyndon (1975) 183 min

Barry Lyndon yes also The Good The Bad And The Ugly (1966  -178 min  )- and Leone's other epics. 

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In this day and age, where we can pause a DVD or something we're streaming and finish watching something later (maybe even a day later or a week later) there is no reason to gripe about the length of a movie.

Also I find it ironic that people who complain about the length of a three hour movie have no problem whatsoever watching 300 episodes of Gunsmoke or Law & Order.

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16 hours ago, EricJ said:

Has anyone who ever tried to give "poor, picked-on" Heaven's Gate the benefit of the doubt ever gotten past the opening Harvard scenes, with the debates and then the waltzing?

(And waltzing....And waltzing...)

 

Yep, and for that matter, is there ANY scene in HG that couldn't have been shortened by almost half its length and in the process would have lessened the film's overall quality?

Nope, not as far as I'm concerned, and as I remember it after my first marathon viewing of it years ago.

(...I remember thinking many times while watching it something like: "Okay Michael, you've made your plot point here already, and so MOVE ON, dude! AND, stop being so damn enamored with your visuals here, and yes, even as lovely as they look!")

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30 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

The Good The Bad And The Ugly (1966  -178 min  )-

The version I first saw was the 161 minute one. I always thought that was the best, the 178 one was still great but the added scenes with Eastwood and Wallach dubbing in their much older voices and an imitator filling in for the late Van Cleef seemed unnecessary. 

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I don't binge watch Law and Order (and like the earlier episodes).  I didn't like Barry Lyndon (but Thackery isn't the most riveting author).  Read Rosemary's Baby and saw the movie years ago.  Watched some of the Leone spaghetti westerns.  I liked Nashville for many reasons.  I think part of what I was referring to was thinking of films and movie theaters as well as those on TV.  Basically, I tend to have remote control attention of a gnat.  And, when I'm reading newspapers, etc., I enjoy reading in silence.  On a different note, while people remember An Affair to Remember (largely today due to Sleepless in Seattle), the movie can't compare to Love Affair (which is considered a better film).  It is on right now as I type this.  Tonight, I love Two for The Road.  A great film about the ups and downs of marriage.  I have On Demand, and I watched HBO's noir Perry Mason.  I want to know what happens but I find it has nothing to do with Perry Mason (either books/stories or old Raymond Burr series).

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

In this day and age, where we can pause a DVD or something we're streaming and finish watching something later (maybe even a day later or a week later) there is no reason to gripe about the length of a movie.

Also I find it ironic that people who complain about the length of a three hour movie have no problem whatsoever watching 300 episodes of Gunsmoke or Law & Order.

It is not necessarily the length of the movie, but how the screen writer and director d  r  a  g it out.  L&O on the other hand gets the whole story done in about 50 minutes with tight screen writing, directing and acting.  Same with Gunsmoke and other TV series.  Same for many other movies.

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13 minutes ago, TheCid said:

It is not necessarily the length of the movie, but how the screen writer and director d  r  a  g it out.  L&O on the other hand gets the whole story done in about 50 minutes with tight screen writing, directing and acting.  Same with Gunsmoke and other TV series.  Same for many other movies.

You totally missed the point of what I said. But that's nothing new. :) 

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Some 3-4 hour movies, like The Right Stuff (1983) or The Seven Samurai (1957), you literally never look at your watch for at least two hours of it.

And then there are those like Gone With the Wind and Lawrence of Arabia, where the plot sprawls on so long, they work better on disk as half-hour serialized miniseries.

(Which, I'm pretty sure, was Cid's point and TB's about disk.)

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1 hour ago, EricJ said:

Some 3-4 hour movies, like The Right Stuff (1983) or The Seven Samurai (1955), you literally never look at your watch for at least two hours of it.

And then there are those like Gone With the Wind and Lawrence of Arabia, where the plot sprawls on so long, they work better on disk as half-hour serialized miniseries.

(Which, I'm pretty sure, was Cid's point and TB's about disk.)

Thanks Eric. My point was really about time investment. Investing in a three hour movie, even a slow-moving three-hour movie, is substantially less than investing in 300 45-minute episodes of a long-running TV series. If you think about it, Gunsmoke is an epic story about Matt Dillon's career. Each episode is a chapter, and audiences spent 20 years investing in that. 

The ironic thing is that the final episode of Gunsmoke has no real conclusion to it, which is probably why Arness and Company came back for a few TV movies in the 1990s to provide some long-awaited closure for the character.

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5 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Also I find it ironic that people who complain about the length of a three hour movie have no problem whatsoever watching 300 episodes of Gunsmoke or Law & Order.

What I took this to mean is the 21st century phenomenon called "binge watching".  Which for me(at my age) means sitting through an entire 60 minute episode without needing a bathroom break!  :D 

Like several others here, I don't mind a lengthy movie as long as it stays interesting enough to where it doesn't seem that long.  I'm sure there's been times when some of us were stuck sitting though 90 minute movies that SEEMED three or more hours long!  :huh:😪

Sepiatone

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19 hours ago, TopBilled said:

You totally missed the point of what I said. But that's nothing new. :) 

No, once again you said something you understood, but was not clear to others.  I copied your post below.  My post was about not having to pause a DVD or DVR or other device and then come back to a lengthy movie some time in the future ("a week later").  As for Law and Order, as I said you can see a whole episode in 60 minutes and each episode is self-contained.  There may be ongoing story lines, but they are fairly simple to understand if you missed an earlier episode.  Same for Gunsmoke, etc.  No one watches "300 episodes of Gunsmoke or Law & Order".     No one watches 300 episodes at one time! 

Incidentally, you are one to talk about other people missing the point of posts.  You totally missed my point.

TB posted:  "In this day and age, where we can pause a DVD or something we're streaming and finish watching something later (maybe even a day later or a week later) there is no reason to gripe about the length of a movie.

Also I find it ironic that people who complain about the length of a three hour movie have no problem whatsoever watching 300 episodes of Gunsmoke or Law & Order."

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