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Top Five Good Movies that are Just Too Damn Long by Ivan Kander

The grammatically challenged Inglourious Basterds has just nazi-scalped its way into theaters, and word on the street is that it’s a bloody, brutal, and visceral epic from famed director/coke addict Quentin Tarantino. Now, that’s all well and good, but according to IMDb this sucker clocks in at a whopping 153 minutes (that’s over 2 hours for you mathematically disinclined people [i.e. gym teachers] out there.)

As I was sitting at my computer today I began to ponder the perplexing issue of movie length. “What other good movies seem to go on for a bit to long?” I asked myself.  “More importantly, why am I not wearing any pants?” Well, the answer to that first question is compiled in the nifty top five list below. The answer to the second is: “because I enjoy the breeze.”

Funny People
Funny People
This movie just came out, so it may seem odd that it already has managed to inch its way on to one of these pointless coveted lists. Well, having just seen it, it happens to be really fresh in my mind. If there ever was a case of something that needed a damn good trimming (besides your mom’s pubes) it would be this film. I wanted to like it…I really did, but the movie’s last hour/fourth act/story deviation is just damn brutal. I honestly think an even better movie could have been salvaged with the exact same footage and script, just with a more streamlined approach (either introduce Leslie Mann’s husband and kids sooner, or chop them off completely). At the end of the day, there’s enough of Apatow’s trademark dick joke /heart tradeoff to make this film worthwhile. Close to perfection, I tell ya. Just needed  a talented editor.

*Call me Hollywood. I’m available.

Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown
Oh, look! A Tarantino movie that’s too long? Who would of thunk it? Now folks, I understand that Jackie Brown certainly has its detractors. When it came out in 1997, I remember people were pissed because it wasn’t as good as Pulp Fiction. Well, to be fair, what is? As a whole, however, it’s still a solid piece of filmmaking and certainly something I would quantify as a “good” movie—it just happens to be too long. If Tarantino has an Achilles Heel, it is certainly his obsession with dialogue. Sometimes his long-winded witty character conversations come out as cinematic gold. Other times they feel like the meandering and unbearable drunken interactions often found at office Christmas parties or women’s book clubs. Pick up the pace Tarantino…I’ve got important things to do (i.e. masturbate).

We all know that director Michael Mann is incapable of making a film under 3 hours. It’s actually in his contract right next to a legal obligation to shoot everything in handheld, grainy HD just to piss off film students and people who drink Frappuccinos. Well, Heat is no different. This 1995 “classic” is certainly a good flick. But, at a grand total of 171 minutes, it needs to be about an hour shorter. Heat is the type of movie where you can watch an action sequence, go to the kitchen, fix yourself a sandwich, and then come back without missing a beat. In such a tense crime movie, WAY too much time is devoted to Al Pacino’s and Robert DeNiro’s personal relationships. Hey Mann: how about less yelling at women and more gunfights please? K. Thx. Bye.

Lord of the Rings
Lord of the Rings: Return of King
Okay, I realize I’m about to lose a ton of geek cred with this one. *takes deep breath* Here. We. Go…

While the Lord of the Rings trilogy is rightfully lauded as a glorious cinematic achievement that is impressive both on a visual and narrative level, it certainly isn’t known for its brevity. You better avoid any form of liquid sustenance before sitting down to watch one of these suckers because each movie will make your bladder scream in pain. For me, the biggest offender of the trio is the Return of the King. Not only is the movie long, it has the audacity to pretend to finish on multiple occasions (just like my girlfriend). Near the end of the movie, Jackson fades in and out of a black haze more often than the chloroformed hookers in the back of my van. End the movie already, Jackson. I’ve gotta pee…

2001: A Space Odyssey
Yeah, I know it’s a classic. But, don’t try and pretend that you actually sat through that entire ending segment where for a seeming endless string of minutes we’re treated to a hallucinogenic spiral of colors and sound. Yeah, I know that everyone in the 60’s was high and listened to Pink Floyd, but when viewed from a modern vantage point, the ending “color swirl” just does not hold up.  In retrospect, it probably seemed like seconds to viewers back then. Nowadays, though, my ADD riddled brain just can’t take it. It’s almost like Kubrick is just daring you to reach for the remote and hit fast forward. I can almost hear his voice yelling at me from beyond the grave. “What’s the matter, punk? Don’t you appreciate art? Scan forward just like the cretin you are…”

In conclusion, if I’ve learned anything from this, it’s that you really can have too much of a good thing. That’s why sex with me only lasts 2 minutes and thirty seconds. Really, I just do it for the ladies…

Ivan Kander

Ivan is a filmmaker, video editor, and motion graphic artist from the Washington, DC area. He is an avid movie watcher and podcast listener. He’s also quite handsome and charming (at least that's what his Mom says). For more information about Ivan, visit Lucky 9 Studios.

Posted  Mon 24th Aug 2009 Modified  Wed 11th Jan 2012
  • DNA

    Thinking THE MASTER’s 2001 is too long is why YOU will never make a great, or even good, or even crappy movie. It’s only too long if YOU DON’T GET IT.

  • HollywoodNeedsHelp

    There’s nothing to get. Kubrick was trolling people before it was a thing.

  • Allister Cooper

    I’d rather watch Heat again than Jackie Brown, Gone With The Wind, and 2001. Give me Event Horizon any day.

  • Luis Cordova

    You forgot Avatar

  • imsmi

    Haha, but he said “good movies!” Also, Heat and 2001 aren’t too long.

  • Michael Allen

    Dances With Wolves? About three hours long?

  • Luis Cordova

    Most people loved that movie. I thought it sucked. I was cheering for the bad guys so I could leave, lol.

  • imsmi

    Yeah, unfortunately we were in the minority which means tons and tons of cash will be spent on more derivative and uninspired sequels. Fortunately, I’m pretty sure I know what to expect and know in advance that I will most likely not be seeing those sequels.


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