Martin Scorsese’s new movie, The Irishman, stars Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci and is probably very good. It is also 210 minutes long. That is too many minutes, no matter how good the minutes are.
Film at Lincoln Center released their screening info for The Irishman’s inclusion during next month’s New York Film Festival, and hidden somewhere in all the praise and ticket info and De Niro-ing is the horrifying revelation that this movie is three-and-a-half hours long. Titanic, a movie so long my 1998 VHS copy consisted of TWO videotapes, was only 195 minutes long, i.e., three hours and 15 minutes.
Doctor Zhivago, a movie that is allegedly good but that I fell asleep during, is three hours and 20 minutes long. Gone With the Wind is racist for a very long and miserable three hours and 58 minutes. Somewhere in here is a lesson.
Short movies are very good. Goodfellas, another Scorsese film starring De Niro and Pesci, is only two hours and 28 minutes, which is slightly too much time to spend watching a movie, but certainly bearable. The Departed, a movie that won Scorsese an Oscar, is two hours and 31 minutes long, which is slightly longer than two hours and 28 minutes, but certainly less long than The Irishman. The Birdcage, a perfect movie, is one hour and 59 minutes long, which is all you really need to know.
I realize that in the binge-watching era, 210 minutes is not very many minutes at all. Just last week, I watched 33 out of 40 episodes of Love Island’s second season (UK, of course, I have taste). Each episode is at least 50 minutes long. I will not do the math. But each of those 50-minute episodes beheld a self-contained plot and singular drama, and also absolutely none of it was important, so I could zone out for half of it.
This, on the other hand, will require the entirety of one’s attention span:
Update (11:15 p.m.) I have just been informed that Bring It On, another perfect movie, is only one hour and 40 minutes. I rest my case.
Update (11:32 p.m.) Hot Rod, yet another exemplary piece of cinema, has a mere one hour and 28 minute runtime.