A disturbing new piece out today from the Hollywood Reporter confirms what we all know in our hearts to be true: all movies now are way too long.
Check out these statistical facts from THR (emphasis mine):
A decade ago, the top 10 movies of summer 2009 had an average running time of 116 minutes. In summer 2019, that stat soared to 125 minutes as Hollywood studios sought to keep filmmakers happy and lure audiences from their homes with supersized visual effects extravaganzas.
At an estimated 210 minutes, or three and a half hours, Martin Scorsese’s Netflix mob drama The Irishman easily eclipses the 180-minute runtime of his 2013 Oscar-nominated The Wolf of Wall Street to mark the longest narrative feature of his career. The Irishman will screen exclusively in select theaters for four weeks beginning Nov. 1, and may test the bounds of consumer patience.
In fact, a slew of awards contenders run well past two hours, including Bong Joon-ho’s acclaimed black horror-comedy Parasite (132 minutes), Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story (136 minutes) that stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as a couple going through a harrowing breakup, Destin Daniel Cretton’s civil rights legal drama Just Mercy (136 minutes), David Michod’s period epic The King (133 minutes) and James Mangold’s racing car biopic Ford v. Ferrari (152 minutes).
In recent times, the average length of an Oscar best picture nominee has hovered around the two-hour mark. Now, that average is on the rise.
Folks!!!! This is simply not acceptable. It is a truth universally acknowledged—or it should be, at any rate—that no movie should be longer than two hours. Yes, yes, throw your exceptions at me, whatever. It is true that you can make a great movie that runs longer than two hours, but the question is, SHOULD you? Hell no!
And the vast majority of movies absolutely do not earn their bloated running time. I will never get those endless minutes of my life I spent watching Quentin Tarantino work out his foot fetish in Once Upon a Time In Hollywood back. I cannot believe I am going to have to give almost four hours of my existence watching Robert De Niro be Irish or whatever. I will be on my deathbed reflecting that, as THR notes, I spent 2 HOURS AND 10 MINUTES of the precious time I had on this earth watching Green Book! Even Parasite, which I just saw and which I loved, was about 15 minutes too long. I felt the “too long” moment happening to me. It was almost a physical sensation.
This is even before we get to all the 2-hour-and-beyond comedies, which is just a crime against humanity. If you can’t get a comedy done in 90 minutes, leave Hollywood forever!
I won’t say that I will vote for any presidential candidate who promises to make movies shorter—sorry, Joe Biden, even if I bet we agree on this point—but I will certainly think they are wise to do it. Let’s make this shit happen people.