Saturday, September 17, 2005

No Such Thing as Overlong

I’m getting really tired of critics complaints about movies being too long.

They said that about Pirates of the Caribbean, and I couldn’t see it. I wanted MORE of that movie. They say it about a lot of films I’ve wished didn’t end (though no one could really say Lord of the Rings should have been shorter).

They’re saying it now about Elizabethtown, which is two hours and 13 minutes. I think that’s a good length for a movie that costs $8 to $15 to see, and that’s really the bottom line.

I haven’t seen any movie in the theater that I really could say was too long, unless by too long you mean “should never have been made.” If I don’t like a movie, making it shorter wouldn’t have made a difference. If you cut all the bad parts out of War of the Worlds, you have a 15-minute alien-introduction sequence and nothing else. Making it shorter wouldn’t have given me any better feeling about spending the money.

A lot has been made of the summer box office slump, and the discussion mostly centers on the high price of tickets and concessions and the inconvenience of sitting near talkers and chair-kickers. But making movies shorter will only make those things more important, because we’re getting even less for our money in the place it most counts, up on the screen.

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