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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old February 11th, 2011, 12:14 AM   #1
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Tired of movies. . .TV is where it's at.

Wanted to post about something that's been on mind, or what little there is of it, for a while.

So, in the last couple years, I've found myself increasingly bored while watching feature length movies. Regardless of genre, there seems to be a pattern that the first 45 minutes, maybe hour, is very engaging. Then the movie gets reaaaaaaaaaaaal sloooooooooooooooooow, and MAYBE picks up toward the end. This is not helped by the fact they movies for some reason seem to be getting longer and longer (2.5 hour Judd Apatow COMEDIES? WHAT THE HELL????)

This is not a Hollywood-bashing thing. . .doesn't matter if it's mainstream, indie, comedy, drama, etc.

Also in the last couple of years, me and the girlfriend have started renting TV shows on DVD (only way to watch a lot of stuff since I don't even have basic cable). I would generally say that everything we've seen is pretty good, and and four approximately half hour episodes or two one hourish episodes of any of these series provide a much more engaging experience than the same length feature film.

I also find myself less and less interested in movies coming out, again, regardless of genre and whether they're mainstream or indie, etc.

Anyone with me? Am I alone?

PS. . .you may be saying "Bass, aren't you yourself a filmmaker? Doesn't this make you a huge hypocrite?" Well, not really. I've never made a "film" over 35 minutes (and that one came to rest at 17 after the dust cleared), and have no plans or desire to do a feature. So maybe it's in my blood.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 07:23 AM   #2
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Hi:

Do you also find yourself only reading half a news article? or even less? never care to scroll down a page on the web? maybe you prefer one line tweets and quick facebook updates? Do you get bored when somebody's talking, start looking around for an excuse to escape a conversation?

Since the TV, but much more with the web, with quick flicks on youtube, one lines on twitter etc our attention span has shrunk, "get to the point don't waste my time", as soon as you get minimally bored you click away to see if something better is on elsewhere.

It's not that feature length movies today are worse or TV shows are better, more likely a result of the reduced attention span that we all suffer to some degree. TV shows are more compressed because of the format, leaving less time for deep drama and dialogue as action takes the lead, they need to keep people to the screen, in a 30 min show they can't afford you to leave to make coffee and come back 10 min later only to learn that nothing happened.

Don't take this as an offense, we may spend less time on any one single thing but we are much more aware of everything else going on in parallel.

If the above is the case, maybe you will enjoy a movie more if you actually sit down and pay attention instead of thinking of the 117 other things you should have done or can do instead. Or you can go with it, no one said everyone has to like a full length movie.

BR, Erik
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Old February 11th, 2011, 09:04 AM   #3
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I agree, while he may have come off a little blunt, while reading I did think myb it was in part saying something about your attention span.


Out of curiousity, what TV shows are you watching? I would guess alot of HBO, SHO, FX, TNT. I don't have cable either but I cannot watch much on broadcast at all. NBC is just annoyingly atrocious with all their office style shows on Thursdays.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 10:51 AM   #4
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TV programmes have to avoid you hitting the remote, which isn't a factor for a theatrical feature film. This means they really can't slow the the pace down, at least on commercial channels.

Also, the commercial TV hour lasts 40 to 50 mins, with breaks and they're more a 4 act structure than a classic 3 act structure. In a way, they can be like long shorts. If you go beyond 50 mins, things start to change again, that extra 10 mins can be a real killer.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 11:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Norgaard View Post
Hi:

Do you also find yourself only reading half a news article? or even less? never care to scroll down a page on the web? maybe you prefer one line tweets and quick facebook updates? .........
Sorry, too long a post to read to the end...



just kidding
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Old February 11th, 2011, 07:57 PM   #6
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Wow. Ouch. I guess I am alone.

I DO get bored somewhat easily, and my attention span is not the greatest, however, I read novels, have worked on short films for ridiculously long amounts of time to finish them, been with the same girl ten years, etc.

But there is something up with these movies. There are always slow parts. Even in "fast" movies. Take Scott Pilgrim, a, by all appearances, fluffy entertaining movie. But at a certain point, instead of any story or plot advancement, it just becomes a series of action/fight scenes. This becomes a Bass-boring film at that point. I'm not saying I didn't like it, but shaving half an hour wouldn't have hurt. On the other hand, while "Youth in Revolt" was not a particularly great movie (decent though), IT WAS NICE AND TIGHT AT 90 MINUTES!

Can you guys tell me that, even when you see a movie you thought was good, that there aren't stretches where you're a little less engaged and your mind wanders to your upcoming dinner that night? Why is that acceptable?

What kind of shows am I watching? Yes, you got it. . .all the pay cable channel and some basic stuff: Weeds, Dexter, Carnivale, Extras, Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad. . .etc.

I disagree about the NBC Thurdsay lineup and networks in general, there are some very funny shows. Office, Parks &Rec, and Community are generally very good. I just meant that I have to rent shows on DVD to see things like the above mentioned cable/pay channel stuff.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 08:45 PM   #7
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Josh--there are some people who sound like total goofballs when they refer to themselves in the third person, and others who pull it off admirably. You've always been in the latter camp. "Bass-boring"--classic.

best,

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Old February 11th, 2011, 10:07 PM   #8
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You can blame a short attention span on being from a younger generation. Or as you get older you can blame it on not having time for nonsense. Either way I agree with you Josh, many movies could be improved with several passes to tighten up the pacing, which can be a whole art unto itself.

I can power through 13 episodes of Doctor Who in one sitting, but many movies have me fast forwarding to the next scene.

One of my favorite examples of good pacing is Cocaine Cowboys, they do a great job of keeping the audience wanting to know what's going to happen next.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 10:39 PM   #9
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See, and I have one up on Michael here. I FINISH all those movies (except, if I recall, some Indian movie my dad and I walked out on years ago. . .pre high school, "Touch," with Johnny Depp, and Naked Lunch.

I guess I'm "younger", but I've only started feeling this way in the last few years, as I, surprisingly, continue to age, or "get older."

Don't get me wrong, I still see movies, and there are still a few I look forward to, but I swear just a few years ago I was seeing about one a week. I think I made it OUT to three last year.

And seriously, these 2.5 hour comedies have to got to stop. I think we can all agree that's not right.

And thanks Charles. I would only ever refer to myself as such in a playful manner. Or when I finally get to storm out of my first meeting with some high powered TV execs ("Bass don't play that! I made the **@^@^^$@&@& Ninjews!")
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Old February 15th, 2011, 07:13 PM   #10
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More often than not i find myself enjoying the weird obscure indie films that nobody has ever heard of, those little gems that fall through the cracks. I agree the length of films is getting beyond a joke...i'm looking forward to the hobbit but you know its gonna be a 3 and a half hour ass numbing session.

Here's a couple of great little indie films that might cheer ya up...

The Troll Hunter (2010) - IMDb I loved this film, its shot in a mockumentary style like cloverfield or blair witch but its way better.

Ink (2009) - IMDb again low budget indie but great cinematography and a unique surreal story

I doubt you'll find them in the stores, you'll need to search online. I use icefilms but you need to set up firefox with greasemonkey to get the site to work.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 08:38 PM   #11
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Recently bought Deadwood, the complete series on Blu-Ray
(second time to see the series, but first time to see it in HD).
Won't be going to the cineplex for awhile. Home theater is
where it's at!
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Old February 20th, 2011, 08:19 PM   #12
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Re: Tired of movies. . .TV is where it's at.

I don't feel compelled to see many movies at the theater these days. And when I see the movies on BR or DVD, I am disappointed more often than not. I agree with Josh. It seems like the writers just lose interest at the end of the script/screenplay. It almost seems like the directors/writers are trying to be too profound or artsy.

On the other hand, some of the writing and stories in current television shows is very compelling. Sure, there's a lot of garbage out there, too, but there are also a few shows that I MUST watch every week. One of those is CSI Las Vegas. Every once in a while, they put out a lemon, and the science isn't always correct, but overall, the show is very entertaining, and that's what we're after, right?

For sheer laughs, I can't miss The Office or Big Bang Theory. I swear the writers or those shows have a bug planted in my office.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 11:52 PM   #13
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Re: Tired of movies. . .TV is where it's at.

I also wonder if it's something with new movies. I don't generally watch older movies, so anything I'm seeing is "current", that is, new or relatively new (maybe a year or two old) at the time I see it.

Seems to me there was a time when 90 minutes-2 hours was the standard for features. Now everything's longer--2.5 hours, or longer, regardless of genre.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 03:05 PM   #14
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Re: Tired of movies. . .TV is where it's at.

A lot of the best writing is being done in TV, because TV can't just buy it's audience with the biggest advertising budget, and the writing work in TV is more stable because they use larger teams of writers who are good at working on existing properties with existing characters. The stories can be great because they writers don't have to establish the characters AND resolve a plot in 90-120 minutes.

The sort of stories that get told can also evolve within a series - Mad Men has some episodes which explore not only different themes and plots but even different film making ideas in amazing ways for example.

That's what you are seeing - what gets released in the cinema is crap because it's about how to get the biggest box office opening weekend. TV shows have to remain great to keep eye balls. Opening weekend is before people have seen a film, and thus it almost matters more that the film will get people into the cinema than truly enjoy it on reflection.

TV needs people to enjoy it on reflection, because its revenue relies on both continuing viewership in it's initial run and increasingly rewatching on DVD.

It's not you Josh, and you don't have a short attention span (because you are watching the same duration of content, just in a differing format) - it's that the economics of what gets shown/released has changed in movies and the quality of television has increased dramatically due to the explosion of cable networks and dvd box sets over the past 20 years.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 03:33 PM   #15
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Re: Tired of movies. . .TV is where it's at.

Yes, granted, I am totally awesome. This is a given.

NOw, riddle me this: if we're all getting dumber, and the world at large gets more greedy, how come movies are getting longer/more boring? Shouldn't they be shorter? Wouldn't that allow more runs per day and ticket sales? Why are most movies 2 hours+ now instead of around 90 minutes?
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