Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Comedies shouldn't last more than 90 minutes.

Lately I've managed to watch a lot of comedies that in most cases have managed to entertain me and have managed to put me on a good mood. Almost every film that I have watched has been - if not great - at least okay qualitywise.

When it comes to these films, many of the movies that I have watched were comedies. Hotel Transylvania, Hotel Transylvania 2, Shaun The Sheep and The Nice Guys were mostly fairly solid films that I would recommend for others to see.

In any case, when it comes to me liking these movies, I liked most of them because they kept my attention and weren't too long as films. In most cases I didn't get too bored and didn't start to think about other things outside these movies.

When I thought about this a little bit more, I noticed that the shorter the comedies were, the more positive thoughts I had about them afterwards. It made a lot of difference whether the film was a 90 minute movie, or a 2 hour movie.

For example, Shaun The Sheep's running time without closing credits was only a bit over 75 minutes. Compared to some quality dramas like 'Bridge of Spies' (running time 2h 15 min), the movie about sheep was only half of that.

Yet, its short running time didn't hurt the movie at all, because everything in the film was so well thought out and felt perfectly natural. I felt that I got everything that I could have wanted from this wonderful little film.

Hotel Transylvania animations didn't have that lengthy running times either. Since both of these Sony's animations were close to 80 minute movies without end credits, they were only a bit longer than Shaun The Sheep.

When it comes to the quality of these vampire animations, I managed to like both films quite a bit. I liked them, even though film critics (45% and 54% respectively at rottentomatoes) hadn't liked these movies that much.

That is not to say that Hotel Transylvania 1 or 2 were masterpieces as animations, but they were good enough to entertain me. They had a premise that was plausible enough and had scenes, story beats and funny moments that made me happy.

On the other hand, when it comes to a comedy film that is clearly at least 20-30 minutes too long, is there a better example than Shane Black's movie 'The Nice Guys', that was recently released on dvd & blu-ray. 

When it comes to the movie as a whole, there are a lot of good things that you can say about the film. In theory, 'The Nice Guys' has all the elements to be a movie that you could even compare to some of the classics.

Yet, once the film had most of the things wrapped up and reached its climax at the 90 minute mark, it didn't end. It added another 20+ minute final act to its story, even though there was no real reason to do that.

At least in my view, you need to have exceptionally good reasons to keep your comedy going once you go past that 90 minute mark. There has to be something that absolutely has to be seen, or else you need to wrap things up quickly.

Considering that comedies are usually faster paced than dramas, have quicker cuts and use all kinds of storytelling tricks to keep us entertained, every single minute and moment counts a little bit more than in dramas.

Let's not forget that after a certain point, the longer the movie keeps going, the less excited and the less happy it makes us. Our attention spans get shorter and we care less about what is happening on screen.

In the case of 'The Nice Guys', since the last act didn't bring anything new to table, it made the film worse. Every single extra minute that kept the movie from ending made me more confused and made me like the film less.

In that sense, if only 'The Nice Guys' would have ended sooner like Hotel Transylvanias and Shaun The Sheep did. In that case, not only would it have been a shorter movie, but it would have been a better movie too.

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