Sometimes you have to wait.
Whether it’s a long boring train journey, an interminable stay in a hospital or if you’re waiting on package to arrive – empty hours shouldn’t be seen as a dull purgatory. They should be seen as an opportunity to watch a long movie!
I recently paid to get my oven cleaned (so lazy, I know, but I just couldn’t). Having no plans for the weekend, I booked a visit from a professional (https://www.ovenu.co.uk/) and settled down to watch some long movies. Here’s a few I watched, plus a few more that are ideal for blasting through 3 hours or so of dead air:
Cloud Atlas  – 171 mins
Although the Wachowski’s didn’t exactly hit pay-dirt with their adaptation of David Mitchell’s massive Sci-Fi epic (the film, produced on a budget of $128.5m, only brought back $130.5m worldwide); the film now stands as one of the most under-rated big-budget movies of the 21st Century. It’s gargantuan running time and confusing concept no doubt put off mainstream audiences, despite it’s stellar international cast – featuring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent and Susan Sarandon, to name a few.
If you’ve got around 3 hours or so to kill, this should be high on your agenda – although you might need another 3 to figure out all the causal and thematic links that the movie incorporates!
Casino  – 178 mins
Martin Scorsese is never afraid of burning the time of his loyal fans (although he famously had to cut down Gangs of New York from well over 3 hours, at the producers’ request), so it was no surprise when his gangster epic Casino was released at just under 3 hours. It’s a massive film that has, rightly, gone down as a classic in celluloid history – charting the rise and fall of Robert DeNiro’s Casino owner Sam Rothstein. Penned by Goodfellas writer Nicholas Pileggi – the film is packed full of slow burn scenes and long stretches of dialogues that simmer with tension.
More of an evening movie – this is best enjoyed with a bottle of good whiskey and a cigar (if you partake).
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  – 178 mins
If you’ve not seen this cultural landmark of a movie – then you should drop what you’re doing right now and run home. Coming in at just under 3 hours (although the fantastic Extended Edition is a great deal longer), Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the first in Tolkien’s series of genre-defining epics is arguably the best. Tightly written, the fantastic script sticks to a well worn three-act structure that introduces a huge ensemble cast to winning effect.
Fair warning – the perfectly pitched ending of this movie will have you reaching for the next one – so you may well lose a day to this fantastic trilogy.
Schindler’s List  – 197 mins
Definitely not a movie to undergo lightly – Spielberg’s Oscar-winning triumph is regarded as one of the all time greatest movies. Shot in crystal clear Black and White, Liam Neeson’s turn as enigmatic businessman is truly something to behold. Although the film starts out with typical Spielberg-esque panache, as the major events leading up to the Holocaust start piling up, the tone grows bleaker and bleaker.
It would be unfair to label Schindler’s List as a ‘tear-jerker’ that would be branding it with almost a maudlin appeal. It’s a serious, beautiful film – made with an unflinching eye.
Magnolia  – 188 mins
Lastly, comes P. T. Anderson’s follow up to Boogie Nights and his longest movie-to-date. Magnolia is a stunning exploration of characters, causality and consequences. Handling a talented ensemble cast of superlative character actors – including Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly and William H. Macy – Anderson’s emotionally charged screenplay is packed full of meaningful moments and delicate exchanges yet, despite the sometimes heavy subject matter, the tone remains light throughout.