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Why The Irishman’s Runtime Is Actually A Problem

Robert De Niro in The Irishman

There’s been a lot of talk about the length of movies in recent months. In an era where major tentpole releases are routinely coming in at over two hours long, some movies push that envelope even further. This year, we saw a comic book movie, Avengers: Endgame come it at over three hours long, which is something nobody would have believed could happen only a few years ago.

Not to be outdone, the new Martin Scorsese movie, The Irishman, which just debuted on Netflix following a brief theatrical run, comes it at just short of three and a half hours long.

While these excessive length times have been remarked on, there seems to be a general feeling that anybody who has a problem with really long movies needs to just “get over it” and get on with their day. If you don’t like the length, you can always skip the movie.

The Perfect Theatrical Experience Is Sometimes Impossible

Putting aside the elitism of that stance, Netflix would seem to be a saving grace. It gives one the ability to start and stop a movie as you need to. Of course, there’s a problem there too, because many on social media are being equally elitist about this idea. It seems that if you can’t find 3.5 hours to sit and watch the new movie, you’re not watching the movie “right,” and this I have a problem with.

Somebody put in the work to break up The Irishman into give digestible chunks for people who would rather watch it as a mini-series. It’s a pretty solid idea honestly, though it is getting exactly the response that you’d expect on the internet. A lot of people seem to think that even suggesting such a thing is the worst idea in the history of cinema.

I sort of watch movies for a living. In order to write about them, you have to see them, and so I see as many movies a year as I possibly can. I’m as big an advocate for the theatrical experience as you’ll find. I’ll have seen close to 100 movies that were released in 2019 by the end of the calendar year, and I’m never bored of it. I would rather see a movie in a theater than anyplace else.

Most of the movies I see at press screenings that take place a few days, sometimes a few weeks, before they’re released to the public. These screenings are scheduled ahead of time so I can make plans to go to them.

Even doing this takes work for me because I have a tiny human child that lives in my house with me. She’s two and a half years old and somebody needs to make sure she doesn’t kill herself everyday, and so I need to be sure my wife is cool with that before I run off to the movies.

Does my wife sort of hate me because my job requires me to go to the movies while she stays home with a Tasmanian devil in a high chair? Yes, yes she does. I can’t even blame her.

However, because I’m actually leaving the house, going to these screenings once I’m actually in the car isn’t an issue. I sometimes do have to skip screenings if there are too many in a week or if my wife has something in the evening more important than my trip to the theater, but for the most part this works pretty well.

Netflix Isn’t Always As Convenient As It Appears

The Irishman, however, is an entirely different animal. I literally don’t have 3.5 consecutive hours in my life to allow me to watch this movie in a single sitting, especially at home.

As crazy as it is, watching movies at home is infinitely more complicated than watching movies in a theater. I know, I’ve tried. There have been times when I needed to watch something on Netflix and have tried to schedule it the way I do a theatrical screening. I go into my office, close the door and flip on Netflix.

The problem is, nobody told the two-year-old that Daddy was busy. The kid, who most of the time could take or leave me when Mom is around, is at the door immediately wanting to know what I’m doing. Even if I wasn’t trying to severely limit her screen time, the stuff I’m watching is almost never for her. The Irishman certainly isn’t.

Even if that doesn’t happen, anything that comes up around the house in the evening I can’t truly ignore. If my family needs my help, I need to help, so if I’m home, I can’t ever focus on a movie.

The way my normal day goes, I have about a two-hour period of time after I finish my writing for the day and before I pick up my daughter at day care. I have used this time to watch Netflix movies in the past (usually bad ones), but at three and a half hours, it will take me at least two days to watch The Irishman. If the movie was actually shorter, this wouldn’t be an issue.

The Irishman’s Limited Theatrical Release Was Too Limited

It’s certainly true that The Irishman was released in theaters, but the release was limited, and the closest theater to me that was showing it was a reasonable distance away. That turns a three and a half hour movie into a four and a half hour movie when travel is included, and more if I want to arrive in time to buy some popcorn or get a decent seat. And that assumes that showtimes are convenient. If the movie was shorter, this might be more feasible.

Now I know my case is a very specific one. Everybody’s lives are different, and if my daughter was older and less of a whirling dervish, this wouldn’t be a problem. But certainly I’m not the only father out there who wants to watch The Irishman the way it’s intended to be seen, but simply can’t.

None of this is to say that The Irishman shouldn’t be three hours plus. If Martin Scorsese believes this is how long his movie should be, then I trust him, because he’s certainly earned that. The point is simply to say that a move’s length does, in fact, matter. Longer films can be a hindrance to a lot of people for a lot of reasons. This is simply one of them.

I have a three hour and 40 minute flight coming up in a little over a week. I suppose I could watch The Irishman on my phone, though Martin Scorsese wouldn’t approve.

Let us know how you’ve been watching The Irishman in the poll and comments below, and be sure to read CinemaBlend’s review of the movie.

How have you watched The Irishman?


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John Wick 4 Has A Scheduling Problem For Keanu Reeves, Co-Star Notes

Keanu Reeves is just too popular for his own good! Instead of everyone wanting to kill him, like John Wick, everyone wants to work with him. We’ve already seen how 2019 became The Keanussance, but it’s not over yet — Keanu is returning for back-to-back movies in three of his major franchises. That has put John Wick: Chapter 4 in something of a confused position, at least according to John Wick movies co-star Lance Reddick.

John Wick 4 already has a release date of May 21, 2021, but when will they be able to make it? Also, when will they finish writing it?

Lance Reddick plays Continental Hotel concierge Charon in the John Wick films. He gave a John Wick: Chapter 4 filming update to Comicbook:

See? Too popular. Bill & Ted Face the Music should be the easiest to work around. The third film in the Bill & Ted franchise is already finished filming. Provided no major reshoots are needed, Keanu Reeves should only be required to promote the film before its release on August 21, 2020. Not that promoting is nothing — it’s time, and often a lot of travel.

Filming, though, is another matter. When news about The Matrix 4 came out a few months ago, one additional surprising note was that production was looking to start in the early months of 2020. Based on that, it sounds like Keanu Reeves might be filming The Matrix 4 before John Wick 4.

Unlike John Wick 4, The Matrix 4 doesn’t have a scheduled release date yet, beyond assumptions that maybe it’ll show up in 2022. But you have to imagine it will require a lot more post-production and VFX work than a movie with more practical stunts like John Wick. After all, Keanu even said the Matrix 4 script was “very ambitious.”

Another question up-in-the-air for both John Wick 4 and The Matrix 4 is “What about Laurence Fishburne?” John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ended in such a way that it seems like the Bowery King will definitely return. What about Morpheus for the fourth movie? Fishburne isn’t confirmed at this point and there was some talk about The Matrix 4 including a younger Morpheus, which would involve recasting.

So, to Lance Reddick’s point, between the possible filming of The Matrix 4 in early 2020 and then promotion for Bill & Ted Face the Music in summer 2020, it’s not clear when Keanu Reeves will have time in his schedule to put our favorite dog-lover back in action.

John Wick: Chapter 3 started filming in early May 2018 for its release in theaters one year later in May 2019. Depending on multiple factors, if John Wick: Chapter 4 can’t get Keanu Reeves or the rest of production together in time, we may see John Wick 4 move its release date away from May 21, 2021. It’s not like all three John Wick movies released in May — the first arrived in October 2014, the second in February 2017 — but John Wick 3 had such a huge success this year, I can’t blame Lionsgate for wanting to replicate that as much as possible.

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Sean Payton flags a big problem for Saints: unforced penalties – NFL Nation

METAIRIE, La. — What exactly has been holding the New Orleans Saints back the past few weeks?

Holding, for starters. And a lot of other penalties, too.

The Saints (9-2) have been the NFL’s most penalized team the past three weeks. That was a big reason for their stunning Week 10 loss at home to the Atlanta Falcons and a big reason that they almost blew a 14-point lead against the Carolina Panthers in a 34-31 victory on Sunday.

Including penalties that were declined or offsetting, the Saints were flagged a whopping 17 times against Carolina. With 107 penalties in 11 games, they are on pace to draw their most flags in the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era.

“It’s gonna cost us in a bigger game,” said Payton, who didn’t let himself or his team off the hook, despite his complaints about the NFL’s replay review system after the game.

“It’s concerning. It’s troubling,” Payton said. “There’s a handful of them I would disagree with, but that’s gonna be the case each week. And yet … we’ve gotta work on that, and that starts certainly with me and our staff. That’s something that we definitely need to improve on.”

Brees agreed, stressing, “If we want to be as good as we know we can be, we gotta clean that stuff up.”

It isn’t easy to pinpoint one specific problem, as the Saints’ penalties have spanned the entire roster. But rookie center Erik McCoy volunteered himself as a leading culprit.

“Blame it on me,” said McCoy, who is aware that he leads the Saints with eight penalties this season (five holdings, two false starts and one tripping penalty).

“I’ve gotta be better,” said McCoy, who said it comes down to being mentally prepared for what he’s going to face on each play and “trusting your technique” instead of reacting.

He is hardly alone on the offensive line. With 26 holding penalties, the Saints are on pace to surpass the most in the Payton-Brees era: 32 set in 2012. Since Week 2, the Saints have drawn a total of 51 flags on offense, which ties them for second in the NFL behind only the Buffalo Bills.

“I don’t know exactly what those stats are or what those penalties are. But I certainly know the way it feels,” Brees said. “The way it feels at times is that there’s a lot of unforced errors. A lot of things where we’re just beating ourselves.

“Listen, from time to time, are you gonna get a holding call? Yeah. Or a penalty caused on something the defense did to force it. But, man, we have to understand that, ‘No. 1, let’s eliminate the unforced errors. And then let’s also understand the situations where it’s just at a premium that you can’t have negative plays.’

“It just sets you back, it puts you in really tough positions, it stops drives, it prevents you from getting touchdowns. Instead, you’re kicking field goals. Those are difference-makers.”

Right tackle Ryan Ramczyk called them “drive killers.”

The defense is hardly innocent, though. In fact, defensive end Cameron Jordan’s personal foul Sunday, when he took a swing at Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen after the whistle, was almost the costliest penalty of the season. Instead of punting, the Panthers finished the first half with a touchdown drive that got them back in the game.

“I feel like I heard the whistle late after I was trying to go for the ball,” Jordan said. “But you can never hurt your team, so that’s on me.”

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