MOXIE WONDERS … Why Are Movies Getting So Long?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

My husband, the literature professor, has complained for some years that certain movies went on for 15-30 minutes longer than they should have to be. At first I disagreed. Give the artists license, I thought. Now I am beginning to see his point, although I think his point has changed.

There’s been more than a bit of attention to attracting the old folks back to movie houses with the demographics changing. I think “Grumpy Old Men” was the first to recognize this. Then “The Notebook” touchingly acknowledged the new nightmare for us, Alzheimer’s Disease. Last year “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” was a huge hit with us “seniors,” and, less talked about, but understood, was “Hope Springs.”

It’s the “less talked about” aspect of movie length I want to bring out into the open. A 90-minute movie is just about right between bathroom visits for those of us over 65. Once you have prostate problems, IBS, or simply flaccid nether regions, a trip to the loo becomes necessary within that time period.

GOM ran 103 minutes in 1993. “The Notebook” (2004) ran 123 minutes. “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2011) was 124 minutes. “Hope Springs” (2012) was a happier 100 minutes, perhaps because it was about physical changes as we age. Last week we saw “A Royal Affair,” a Danish film not intended purely for old folks, yet attracting those of us who value history. It was 137 minutes long. Tonight we saw “Lincoln,” which runs 150 minutes.

I am beginning to think there is a conspiracy between film producers and manufacturers of elderpants. But never-mind; we made it.[1] And we loved the movie, though not without some apprehension that the drama of the “lobbying” was exaggerated. Of course the U.S. Congress in those years might well have mimicked the British Parliament’s boisterous behavior – far better than leaving empty seats, as they do today.

If the movie moguls don’t wake up and see a problem with the growing length of movies, even with special prices for 65 and older, they are going to have many more empty seats as well – or worse.

Come to think of it, maybe there’s a conspiracy between TV manufacturers and Netflix.



[1] However, if we hadn’t needed the toilets, we could have saved time by leaving through the closest exit onto the parking lot. Think of people who are arthritic or in wheel chairs struggling to get to the restrooms and then doubling back to get to their cars.

1 comment to MOXIE WONDERS … Why Are Movies Getting So Long?

  • Mary Lee Winnie

    We just accept that we will take turns trying to make a quiet exit 1/2 way through the film. This is possible when you go to the movies on Friday afternoons which is senior day every week. The whole audience is sneaking in or out.

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