The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
With Christmas week approaching, I am looking forward to finally making a date with our 16th president and Middle-earth.
The movie Lincoln, of course, has been out over a month and I’ve yet to see it. Last weekend, I was one of the potential (but, in the end, absent) viewers of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey who kept it from bringing in more than its disappointing $84.8 million opening-weekend box office.
I was psyched to see director Peter Jackson’s latest vision of a J.R.R. Tolkien classic, but there were family events to attend to, gifts still to buy and other holiday responsibilities. Between the job, the kids’ school activities and other demands, it was hard to come up with the time needed to take these cinematic journeys.
Why? Lincoln is two hours, 30 minutes. The Hobbit is longer: two hours, 49 minutes.
Then there’s Les Misérables, another movie on my to-see list. It opens Tuesday, Christmas Day, and clocks in at two hours, 37 minutes. And that’s not even counting the 10 to 15 minutes of commercials, previews and turn-off-your-cell-phone messages tacked on to the front of features these days.
But this is just part of the contemporary holiday movie season: Prestige flicks stalk for awards, opening just days before the Academy Awards’ Dec. 31 deadline, and challenge our appointment calendars and bladders with their prestigious running times.
This year, I actually started thinking about extensive movie running times in an odd place: while writing about performances of Handel’s Messiah and how Lexington music directors edit that epic piece to make it more palatable to audiences. The top reason they say they edit Messiah is because it runs nearly three hours when done in its entirety. Nobody wants to sit through something that long, the directors think.
Clearly Steven Spielberg and many other film directors believe otherwise. More and more, it seems, any film with a tinge of gravitas clocks in at well over two hours.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich