This weekend we rented BEVERLY HILLS COP, PORKY'S and THE BLUES BROTHERS. Not because we had a jones for leather jackets, but research for a comedy screenplay.
Boy, THE BLUES BROTHERS doesn't hold up. There's some funny stuff, but the pace is glacial. We found PORKY'S irksome. BEVERLY HILLS COP still worked, but boy was it slow slow slow between the funny bits.
If Ridley Scott can keep releasing longer and longer and more self-indulgent versions of BLADERUNNER, maybe editors could start releasing their shorter and shorter "editor's cut" of old movies? It's a rare 80's comedy that doesn't need a trim and a bit of a shave. (For the record, ANIMAL HOUSE totally holds up.)
Oh, and while we're at it, will someone trim all the episodes of MIAMI VICE down to half hours? I swear there's no more than 22 minutes of story in each, along with 22 minutes of hair.
UPDATE: A reader writes in:
I work for a network soap opera, and our show typically averages about 40 scenes per show (7 acts, 5-6 scenes per act on average). We recently reran an episode from fifteen years ago, and the entire show had 18 scenes total. Even since the mid-1990s, scenes on our show last half as long as they used to! Pretty wild how the pace of TV shows continues to accelerate.
I would certainly agree with trimming down Miami Vice to half hours. This is an exercise that could indeed make sense for many older shows.
For feature films, it often feels like the director's cut makes much more sense than what appeared in theatres. However, some other times, it's only longer and can get boring...
Talking about old stuff... I personally realy like Aliens director's cut. It brings a whole new level regarding action, thrill and the fact that space marines are mostly useless against aliens...
I think TRADING PLACES still holds up, myself ... as does REVENGE OF THE NERDS.
And SIXTEEN CANDLES is perfect, in my opinion.
REAL GENIUS is somewhat underappreciated, too.
I couldn't agree more about trimming a lot of older movies. And I can't stand the Michael Bay ADD school of filmmaking. Still, we obviously need our pace a little faster, nowadays.
I can't tell you how disappointed I was the first time I rewatched Miami Vice, about 5 or 10 years ago. I couldn't even get through the episode. I can't believe it was my favourite show when it was on. Am I really less patient now than when I was a teenager? That's sad.
MIAMI VICE isn't really "slow." It purposely cut away to music video-style sequences. (I think the original pitch for the show was "MTV cops.") That's what doesn't hold up, but the stories were smart, and the acting can still break your heart.
It wasn't the music video sequences that felt slow upon rewatching. It was everything else. Nearly every scene seemed to drag.
I hadn't seen Blues Brothers since it came out, when I rented it a couple years ago - I had no memory of it besides a few vague images, and I was really disappointed. Blazing Saddles was the same. But I agree with Joshua about Trading Places and the other movies he mentioned. Maybe we were more forgiving in the 70's.
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