I Love It (the song)

Changing reels, excessive lengths, the underappreciated death of 35mm prints, and the experience of seeing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on film by Alec Kubas-Meyer

In the past week, I have seen three movies that push past the 150-minute mark: American HustleThe Wolf of Wall Street, and The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. Of them, American Hustle is the only one that doesn’t drag, but The Hobbit is the only one that feels as long as it is.

Last year, it struck me as a trend that films were getting longer and longer. Many of the biggest films stretched well past the two-hour mark, and while I don’t have a problem with long films, I do find myself less attracted to them. There’s something alluring about a film that’s less than 100 minutes, even more so if it’s less than 90. I see those runtimes and I think, “I can do that right now. What else am I doing? Nothing important, probably.” Television is the same way. I can marathon three hour-long episodes of an HBO show more easily than I can sit down to watch a movie more than 100 minutes. It’s just a quirk I’ve got.

(Admittedly, as films grow bigger, so do their credits, and most big films nowadays seem to be about ten minutes shorter than their runtime would indicate. So 100-minute movies may actually more like 95 minute ones.)

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