7 Films That Prove A Perfect Movie Should Run 90 Minutes Or Less

By CBStaff 2014-03-29 13:21:43discussion comments
This weekend sees the release of two movies we at Cinema Blend liked a lot-- The Help, which Eric called "funny and charming without ever losing its focus", and 30 Minutes Or Less, which Katey praised as "a funny and fast-paced blast of silly energy." But if you go to the theater with someone who plans to see one while you see the other, you'll have to be creative with your timing-- The Help runs a sprawling two hours and 17 minutes, while 30 Minutes or Less clocks in at a lean 83 minutes. In other words, you could almost see 30 Minutes or Less twice in the time it takes The Help to wrap up.

There's a school of thought that says 90 minutes is the perfect length for a movie-- the length of 3 TV episodes, just enough time to get in, tell your story, and get out without wasting any more of the audience's time. There are countless examples that prove the rule, economically told stories that feel perfect and tight without a second wasted. And then there are just as many examples to disprove it, from sprawling epics like Lawrence of Arabia to improvised comedies like The 40-Year Old Virgin taking their sweet time. Obviously the 90-minute rule is one that's meant to be broken, which is how team Cinema Blend has assembled both to prove and disprove it. Below are 7 movies that prove 90 minutes--or even less!-- is all the time you need for a great movie. Coming up later today are 7 more movies that prove you can go as long as you want. As with everything in Hollywood, this is a rule that's meant to be broken-- and incredibly fun to discuss.

Airplane (88 Minutes)
Comedies need to be short. Get in, get a laugh, and get out. And Airplane!, Hollywood’s funniest comedy, boasts the healthiest jokes-per-minute ratio because of its tight run time. The Zucker-Abrams-Zucker trio brings this zany spoof in at a laugh-filled 88 minutes, averaging three gut-busting one-liners per minute. The rapid pacing leaves you little time to breathe as the film tosses joke after joke about retired NBA superstars, grown men who love gladiator movies and the soul side of Leave It to Beaver mom Barbara Billingsley. Airplane! has the perfect amount of one-liners to sustain its compact length, meaning there’s never a lull in the laughter and hardly a bomb in the bunch. Surely you can’t think of a funnier comedy that delivers this amount of laughter in a compact run time? You can’t … and don’t call me Shirley.

This article was first published on August 10, 2011 and was last updated on March 29, 2014.
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