Just returned from a viewing of Zero Dark Thirty — about which film blogger JustMeMike and I will have a convo tomorrow! — so for today I just want to say one shallow thing: this year’s films are long. I mean, it was 3 full hours before I left that theater. Is this a ploy to make us think their films are “serious”? To soften the economic blow of the cost of a 3D ticket?

Let’s make a chart, shall we?

  • Cloud Atlas, 172 minutes
  • The Hobbit, 166 minutes
  • Django Unchained, 165 minutes
  • Zero Dark Thirty, 160 minutes
  • Les Miserables, 157 minutes
  • Lincoln, 150 minutes
  • Skyfall, 143 minutes

Speaking as one who really wants to try to see these films, I don’t see how I can manage it — my schedule is already bursting at the seams. Even Jack Reacher (which I don’t plan to see) is 130 minutes — coincidentally, the same length as Anna Karenina (which I do rather want to see, despite myself). Let it be noted that if Tolstoy’s original novel is 976 pages long (my edition, anyway), I don’t understand why the Tom Cruise movie based on novels less than half the length needs to be so long.

I will note that every once in a while I fantasize about sneaking between theaters to catch my own double bill. I never do it — who has the time? also: the fear of getting caught — but in truth I really, really couldn’t handle the 5 or even 6 hours of sitting. So perhaps I’ve answered my own question: long movies help theaters cut down on freeloaders.

I think I’ve also answered the question of why David O. Russell was nominated for a Best Director Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook: it’s a comparatively svelte 122 minutes. You gotta appreciate the courtesy.

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