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Zzz... Movies I Thought Would Never End

  • Dec 8, 2010
Aside from the alarming new trend for people to watch video at twice the speed, the optimal length of a film has always been set one important measurement: the average size of the human bladder. Some directors, however, feel that their masterpiece is more important than your bladder.
1
Australia poster


Australia
might be the longest film ever made - even though the box claims 165 minutes, it lies. These are 165 minutes in the first dream level, but the film is watched in limbo, so it translate to 190 years.

Baz Luhrmann attempted to make Forrest Gump Down Under and managed to create a hybrid genre project that simply didn't do anything right. The one thing it could have done right - namely, actually ending - was also skipped. It just goes on and on. And on.

For comparison:

Australia is like filling out one of those Federal forms that you think you've completed but then realize it's double-sided.
2
Titanic


As any die hard Cameron fan knows, all his films are about 20-25 too long, and you can see when the special editions are released what a good job his editors do in try to protect everyone's bladders. It's one thing to have an overly long film when you need the bathroom - it's entirely another when the movie's all about water.

Another difficulty here is that, well, we kind of know the ending. So it's great fun watching the boat splitting up and the flooding and special effects. And it's less fun watching them sing hymns and chat around the dinner table.

Bonus information:

Titanic is proof of the cinematic revenue power of teenage girls, as the Twilight franchise has discovered. Teenage girls increase audience numbers by watching a movie over and over obsessively, and dragging their dates along too. I should write a movie that teenage girls will like - Twitanic.

Twitanic is about star-crossed vampire lovers and - you guessed it, they're "on a boat".


3
Forrest Gump


Apart from being one of the subversively dishonest films since Pretty Woman, Forrest Gump attempts to cram most of America's 20th century history into the life of a guy who has done nothing to be part of it. Celebrating idiocy and the redeeming power of "being good" (without ever mentioning religion), Zemeckis shows us that he confused "epic" with "too freaking long" while simultaneously paving the way for the Bush presidency.

For comparison:

Forrest Gump is like an average ballet: it's very clever and cute to look at, and while you like it you just wish it was finished 20 minutes earlier.
4
Godfather Part III


It's not that the Godfather Part 3 is a massive disappointment, or that Sofia Coppola somehow had a sparkling wine named after her, it's more than this is too damned long. 162 minutes is the wait line at the DMV - it's not an acceptable running time for a film.

Enter my editing alter-ego Clippy McClip:


5
King Kong


I don't know when epic became a euphemism for "too long" but holy crap this is epically too long. At 3 hours and 7 minutes long, I skipped the 9pm showing because I wouldn't get home until 1:30am. What's wrong with you, Peter Jackson? 

In the end, it hit the Netflix queue. True story: my wife took a 1-hour break in the middle of the film to take a phone call, and had missed nothing by the time she returned. That was the hour that should have been left on the editing room floor.
6
Harry Potter Movies


Admittedly I'm in the minority of people who really don't enjoy Harry Potter and his world of magical fantasy Potter Porn.

6 minutes of Charlie the Unicorn can save endless hours of amulets, wizards, spells, goblins, and fugu fish. Despite this, every one of the Potter films is too long, and it really adds up when you consider that it's about to beat Police Academy for the most number of pointless sequels.

Ok, I'll stick a banana in my favorite ear and shut up about Harry Potter.
7
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End


The Pirates movies have been getting steadily longer: the first weighed in 143 minutes, the second at 151 minutes and the third is a whopping 169 minutes, which about 60 minutes too long for the A.D.D text message generation. 

The third film, wildly touted as the final installment before Bruckheimer realized he could just keep wringing dollars out the franchise in perpetuity, was an incredible collection of scenes and ideas that just need a plot to organize them.

I've seen it twice - which is nearly a full six hours of life -and still have no idea what happened. I actually wondered if I was having a stroke or something, since I literally don't understand what was going on. And to think I quite liked the first one...
See the full review, "Does anyone even know what happened?".
8
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence


Spielberg and Kubrick working together? It's little like Pavarotti starting a band with Kanye West - I'm morbidly interested in what happens but my gut says it's not going to work.

A.I. suffers from having two endings. Ending number one is complete with a pull-out shot and fade to black and all the indications that you're about to go to the restroom. Just as you've got one arm in your coat, ending number 2 happens and to quote somebody sat behind me: "What the f***?"

*** SPOILER ALERT! ***

The problem with ending number two is there's no foreshadowing in the previous 2+ hours that aliens were going to show up (yeah, I know about the fourth Indiana Jones). It's like watching a Nightmare on Elm Street film and watching E.T. descend in the finale and give Freddy a good de-clawing. "Excuse me, you're in the wrong film!"
9
Heat


I'd like to have a beer with Michael Mann - Heat is a fantastically good film, and a truly original spin on a depleted genre. But while we're ordering the second round, I'd like to ask about length, since I think Mann's been given a hall pass for making 3 hours films.

Heat suffers from having too many characters have secondary storylines. Did we really need to see Natalie Portman's suicide attempt? Or what about the Amy Brenneman's romance subplot? Trim, trim, trim - it could have been delivered at 2 hours and still have been an excellent film.
10
The Matrix Reloaded (Widescreen Edition) (2003)


Oh Lord. In between Zion raves and philosophical rants, I'm pretty we can get 60 minutes shaved off this puppy. Next!

What did you think of this list?

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Post a Comment
December 16, 2010
Your Clippit was hilarious, thanks. I hate that thing on MS Word. Some of your films you list I actually liked, but that's fine. Oh, and I don't drink soda during movies, which keeps me from getting up in the middle of a film. Great clips!
December 17, 2010
Thanks! I should remind myself about holding off the soda...
 
December 15, 2010
Glad to see that at 216 minutes, "Lawrence of Arabia" still isn't on this list. I loved that film. I would however add "Gone with the Wind".
December 16, 2010
There are definitely some movies that can justify the length - like Schindler's List or Larry A. And I think Gone With The Wind could definitely benefit from some MTV-style edits to get that thing down to 2 hours. Apparently it's the most watched film of all time - but it was in the theaters for about 200 years!
December 16, 2010
I thought "The Wizard of Oz" was the most-watched film of all time. I remember being so disappointed with "Gone with the Wind". I think that "Giant" was much better.
December 17, 2010
I think there are various ways of measuring it (inflation-adjusted dollars vs. seats etc) but GWTW allegedly has the most numbers of tickets sold... but you know how these stats are always hard to prove!
 
December 15, 2010
Muahahahahha, I love what you had to say about Titanic, water, and bathroom runs!  If you haven't already checked it out, I think you would really appreciate RunPee ;)  Thanks for yet another hilarious list!
December 16, 2010
Thanks! I forgot to mention that the running time directly correlates with my choice of soda size:

- <90 minutes: Jumbo
- <2h 15m: Regular
- <3hr : small - and share.
- >3 hr - drink nothing all day

Love RunPee - what a great idea!
 
December 14, 2010
LOL! another entertaining list! I liked most of the movies here since I do like long movies and Korean drama is usually a marathon but I see what you are saying. I own the extended cut of # 5 (yes, it stretches to 3.50 hours), # 1 I saw with friends and family and I kept on saying "longest movie in the world" and I was totally bored with # 2 till the iceberg. Great List!
December 16, 2010
Thanks! I also like most of these films but they deserve a good poking. :-)

For instance, I loved Inception but now I've seen it 3 times I think it could use a little editing on the James Bond/Nintendo snow level. 

The very idea of an extended King Kong is baffling... how does that even work?! 
 
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James Beswick ()
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Lunch.com's "token Brit".
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