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Thread: 28 Film Discussion Threads Later

  1. #70476
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    It obviously all started with Jaws and Spielberg.

    What a jerk.

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  2. #70477
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Jackson didn't have much choice to go long on "Rings." The books are immense.

    So I blame Tarantino. "Kill Bill" didn't need to be 2 movies and 3 hours. Ditto the grindhouse thing with Rodriguez. "Hateful 8" and "Basterds" are both overlong for what they're meant to be. Trashy movies work better when they're short.

    I think there's a direct line between "Bill" and the 2 part, 5 hour experience of "Avengers: Endgame."
    Didn't even consider that.

    I think you're onto something there.
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  3. #70478
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    Holy crap, Nighthawks was fantastic. How have I not seen this before now?

    Stallone, Billy Dee Williams and Rutger Hauer in a tense NYC cop thriller, whose script was actually French Connection 3.

    Filmed all on location in NYC. Feels authentic, grimey, gritty and dangerous.

    That nightclub scene with Brown Sugar is like...maybe one of my favorite scenes ever.

    Amazing stuff.
    Last edited by megladon8; 02-12-2021 at 03:25 PM.
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  4. #70479
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Think we're already seeing a change in film lengths. At Sundance this year, there were hardly any movies in my list that were longer than two hours. Some were even 70-80 minutes.

    I think streaming services is causing this.

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  5. #70480
    not to be taken seriously Skitch's Avatar
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    I mean, Lawerence of Arabia had giant sweeping battle scenes and 3 hour length. Spartacus? Ben-Hur? This happened long before Kill Bill.
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  6. #70481
    I could lay some blame on the Harry Potter series: the first two are 157 and 161 minutes!

    And Pirates of the Caribbean: 142, 157, and 167 minutes!
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  7. #70482
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    I don't see what Tarantino has to do with mainstream blockbuster movies. Personally I think it was the Titanic-Gladiator-LOTR trifecta that did the damage, everything else was just following in their footsteps.

  8. #70483
    Putting aside blockbusters like The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter films, since as has already been noted, blockbusters have always been long (that's one of their defining characteristics)--and what's more, it's simplistic to claim that there is a single film that is responsible for what is a general trend--the real question is: Why has the length of the average Hollywood feature ballooned to 135 minutes in this century (e.g., every Judd Apatow movie)? Broadly speaking, the length of Hollywood films has been increasing since the late 1940s, due to the demise of block booking--and with it the disappearance of the double feature--and people going to fewer movies as a result of white flight to the suburbs and increased competition from television, meaning that each film had to be an "event" in its own right. I think what's different about American films made in the last twenty years is their utter lack of discipline and basic filmmaking craft, which I think can be attributed to the following causes: (a) the decline of the studio system, and with it, the system of apprenticeship that trained film workers, the disappearance of which brought about (b) the rise of film schools in the 1960s, which in turn promulgated (c) the cult of the Auteur, which in a sad parody of 18th century Romanticism, conflates self-indulgence with artistry, and additionally, (d) the turn to the digital in both production and post-production, which has fostered a lazy, "we'll fix it in post" attitude at the shooting stage and has resulted in every movie being shot and cut like a TV show. Indeed, (e) most commercial directors today get their start in episodic television or music videos, and since any film will be seen by more people on a TV screen than in a theatre, (f) there's an imperative that the action be legible on a smaller screen (hence, more close-ups). In sum, most contemporary commercial filmmakers don't know how tell a story or stage a scene in an economical manner, so it takes them much longer to tell a story badly.
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  9. #70484
    You guys are using blockbuster and epic interchangeably and I think that's a bit dodgy, but whatever. ("Star Wars" and "Jaws" are the original contemporary blockbusters and neither is overlong. "Reds" and "Godfather III" push the 3 hour mark, but living under the shadow of "Heaven's Gate," I don't think their respective studios expected either one to be a box office smash. A little later there's "Silence of the Lambs," which was a huge commercial, critical, and industry hit, based on the trashiest of novels, and clocks in at just under 2 hours.)

    I think it's instructive to pinpoint sources because Hollywood (and Silicon Valley) work mostly as giant photocopiers, where models that generate cash are duplicated ceaselessly until they don't. This creates a system where the only way to survive is to declare yourself the next "Uber for X" or "Netflix for Y." Hence every studio streaming service oh so creatively named BrandName Plus and running on Amazon servers.

    Tarantino might not work on CGI driven franchise films with huge budgets, but he's very definitely a mainstream filmmaker. Pretty sure if anyone checks they'll find his movies habitually receive simultaneous release into 3,000 domestic theaters. All of his films, outside "Death Proof," generated a healthy return. (ffs, the dude's publicly complained about Disney cock blocking his releases; you don't get to that level outside the mainstream.)

    For some reason in the 2000s a trend started where so-called blockbuster sequels were shot concurrently ("Matrix Revolutions," "Dead Man's Chest/ At World's End", "Deathly Hollows," "Mockingbird," etc.) and adaptations of longer works were arbitrarily split into 2 movies.

    But "Kill Bill" was the first genre piece I can remember that wasn't originally intended that way. It wasn't meant to be 2 films and it wasn't meant to be a sequel to itself. Unlike other examples, it wasn't an adaptation or a prestige film, either. It was gutter fantasy and intended to be gutter fantasy.

  10. #70485
    not to be taken seriously Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Tarantino might not work on CGI driven franchise films with huge budgets, but he's very definitely a mainstream filmmaker.
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  11. #70486
    Get back to me when you understand the difference between "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Amazing Spider-man 2" ... k?

  12. #70487
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    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    Putting aside blockbusters like The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter films, since as has already been noted, blockbusters have always been long (that's one of their defining characteristics)--and what's more, it's simplistic to claim that there is a single film that is responsible for what is a general trend--the real question is: Why has the length of the average Hollywood feature ballooned to 135 minutes in this century ...
    I think it's because there's less interest in telling a story - it's just plain over-indulgence.
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  13. #70488
    Producer Yxklyx's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting megladon8 (view post)
    Holy crap, Nighthawks was fantastic. How have I not seen this before now?

    Stallone, Billy Dee Williams and Rutger Hauer in a tense NYC cop thriller, whose script was actually French Connection 3.

    Filmed all on location in NYC. Feels authentic, grimey, gritty and dangerous.

    That nightclub scene with Brown Sugar is like...maybe one of my favorite scenes ever.

    Amazing stuff.
    Where did you get to see this? "Location NYC shooting" always reminds me of Mann's Side Street with shots of car chases in empty Manhattan streets.
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  14. #70489
    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Get back to me when you understand the difference between "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Amazing Spider-man 2" ... k?
    From the perspective of economics and cultural prestige (rather than aesthetics), I'm not sure the differences matter all that much. Hollywood doesn't really make films like Lawrence of Arabia anymore (in retrospect, Titanic feels like something of a last hurrah). The most expensive and profitable films now are effects-heavy science fiction and fantasy films, and they've become increasingly prestigious over the last two decades, as evidenced by the Oscar nominations for films like The Dark Knight, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Joker. In other words, the industry's conception of what constitutes quality filmmaking has begun to shift from lavish historical dramas about white people on a boat and chatty rom-coms about Jewish neurotics hooking up with blonde shiksas to comic book movies and low-budget indies about gay black men.
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  15. #70490
    Columbia these days would just take everything after the intermission and release it a year later as Lawrence of Arabia 2.

  16. #70491
    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    I think it's been a rule of blockbuster filmmaking since at least The Birth of a Nation that length equals expense equals prestige (see also Gone with the Wind, The Ten Commandments, The Sound of Music, The Godfather Part II, Titanic). Where The Lord of the Rings differs from earlier blockbusters is that it's a fantasy film rather than a period drama, and in that sense, the trilogy paved the way for the Stalinist monumentality of subsequent science fiction, fantasy, and super-hero movies, which don't set out to entertain their audience so much as cow it into submission.
    I might agree with you there, as long as we clarify that it was an accidental paving, the same way that, even though the original Star Wars helped make the modern blockbuster into essentially its own genre, I'm not going to blame it for the eventual existence of mediocrities like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. And, while you can certainly draw a line between the LOTR trilogy and subsequent top-grossers, the key difference between Jackson's films and a lot of the popular films it influenced is that the Rings films never forget to retain a personal, emotional focus on its main characters, never allowing them to become lost and swallowed up by the sheer scope of the films, no matter how massive the CGI battles got, which is the thing that ultimately makes us care which side wins in the end. By contrast, a number of recent blockbusters have had (some of) the spectacle, but nowhere near the heart, and there's nothing in something like Justice League that can compare with the pure emotion of a scene like this (or a number of other examples from Rings), IMO:

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  17. #70492
    Just going for a drive DFA1979's Avatar
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    When I went through my backlog last year I thought Spartacus was too damn long and Ben-Hur (1959) in some respects could have been longer. I'm fine with 90-110 minute movies, too, although those are easier to watch.
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  18. #70493
    Just going for a drive DFA1979's Avatar
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    Also the LOTRs is a pretty good sized trilogy so no wonder all of the movies are as long as they are. They also could have split up the 3rd book into two movies if they had decided to do so. Then again I'm biased....
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  19. #70494
    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    From the perspective of economics and cultural prestige (rather than aesthetics), I'm not sure the differences matter all that much.
    It matters in the context of the current discussion about LOTR and Jackson's influence on blockbuster filmmaking, which didn't exist as we understand it when some of these old-time movies were made.

    I think the obvious differences, other than the ones you pointed out, involve intent and presentation. All those historical melodramas strived for some measure of authenticity along with their spectacle, and even though may have contained massive set pieces, those set pieces didn't drive the story.

    Compare that to the Marvel universe, where the script is written to meet the needs of the set pieces, not the other way around.

    Hollywood doesn't really make films like Lawrence of Arabia anymore (in retrospect, Titanic feels like something of a last hurrah). The most expensive and profitable films now are effects-heavy science fiction and fantasy films, and they've become increasingly prestigious over the last two decades, as evidenced by the Oscar nominations for films like The Dark Knight, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Joker.
    The Academy has always had a bit of a hard-on for technologically ambitious movies. (Hence the eventual nod towards LOTR.)

    People forget "The Exorcist" and "Star Wars" were nominated for Best Picture, or that something as currently trivial as Warren Beatty's "Dick Tracy" received 7 nominations and won 3 awards.

    See also various forgettable craptaculars like "The Greatest Show on Earth" and "Forrest Gump." If something makes a lot of money, Hollywood lets shit slide if a movie has any technical ambition at all.

  20. #70495
    not to be taken seriously Skitch's Avatar
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    this started with
    single handedly responsible for what is now the new norm in blockbuster filmmaking - 2-1/2-3 hour runtime, enormous scope and scale, action/battle scenes lasting upwards of an hour?
    Followed by
    Quote Quoting Irish
    So I blame Tarantino.
    To
    Quote Quoting Irish
    Get back to me when you understand the difference between Lawerence of Arabia and Amazing Spider-Man 2....k
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  21. #70496
    Just going for a drive DFA1979's Avatar
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    Forrest Gump is many things but forgettable is not one of them. People will be enjoying that movie long after this message board is gone and we are all dead.
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  22. #70497
    Just going for a drive DFA1979's Avatar
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    I have no idea why Irish hates Tarantino but I'm amused by it.
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  23. #70498
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting DFA1979 (view post)
    I have no idea why Irish hates Tarantino but I'm amused by it.
    I don't think that's what he's saying.

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  24. #70499
    Quote Quoting Skitch (view post)
    Do you ever get tired of moving the goal posts?
    Oh, Skitch. It wasn't a serious response.

  25. #70500
    not to be taken seriously Skitch's Avatar
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    <--------------------------
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