Moving Beyond 1990s Film Assumptions

Now that we have the whole streaming services thing mastered, it’s high time we got past the 1990s assumption that films need to be at least 87 minutes long to deserve a release.


This was inspired by Brian and Charles, one of those quirky low-budget high-concept British films.  It’s a bit of a character study and a bit of a love letter to the cold and wet Welsh highlands, and it has some really endearing qualities.  Likeable autists blundering their way through a world of bullies and normies who just don’t get it.  The usual questions about robot and ‘real boys’.  I enjoyed the film as something to have on the TV while folding laundry, but can’t really recommend it.

It’s just too dang slow.

Brian and Charles is a fun little 45 minute idea padded out to 90 minutes with agonizingly slow editing and lots and lots of those slow overhead drone shots of a vehicle winding it’s way down lonely roads.  You see these shots in low-budget flicks all the time now, because they are cheap, look great, and imply a lot more thought and money went into the film than the rest of the celluloid shows.  They are well done in this case, and when combined with plenty of low-angle shots of tumbling mountain streams, sheep in their meadows, and rustic rough stone villages, they show a quieter and more rural side of life in the United Kingdom.

But in this case – as in so many others – they just drag out the events well past their staying point.

Which is inexcusable this late into the not-so-new millennium.  You don’t have to justify a ten dollar movie ticket.  You don’t have physical limitations of media.  You can make films as long as you want.  Really!  It’s okay to make short films now.  Sometimes people only have an hour to watch something – or 45 minutes – and this would have been perfect as a bite-sized narrative.  It has a dreamy quality, and most of the laughs are of the soft-chuckle level of a Prairie Home Companion joke.  It has much to recommend it, but I’m not even going to link to it because I can’t be bothered.

And now, because I’ve said my piece in less than 400 words, I’m done.

See how that works, Hollywood?

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