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How Many Movies Are There?

A Shanghai DVD shop.

First, it depends on what you consider a movie. If you define “cinema” as broadly as I do, then the answer is probably “countless.” So let’s pick something more discrete: feature films (which is what most people mean, anyway, when they say “movie”).

There’s no hard and fast rule as to what constitutes a feature. The term itself is a relic of theater-going: the feature film was the featured film—it was what the theater advertised outside, and presumably what compelled you to purchase a ticket and enter—as opposed to the various newsreels, cartoons, and serial installments that also ran (and then, eventually, stopped running). Theater-going in 2012 seems an increasingly old-fashioned hobby (see Roger Ebert’s recent article on declining ticket sales), but we still use the word to mean “a long film.”

But how long? The Wikipedia informs us:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,[1] the American Film Institute,[2] and the British Film Institute[3] all define a feature as a film with a running time of 40 minutes or longer. The Centre National de la Cinématographie in France defines it as a 35 mm film longer than 1,600 metres, which is exactly 58 minutes and 29 seconds for sound films, and the Screen Actors Guild gives a minimum running time of at least 80 minutes.[4] Today, a feature film is usually between 80 and 210 minutes[citation needed]; a children’s film is usually between 60 and 120 minutes[citation needed]. An anthology film is a fixed sequence of short subjects with a common theme, combined into a feature film.

Let’s go with that 40-minute cutoff. Are we ready to start counting?

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Film / 23 Comments
January 9th, 2012 / 9:01 am

ToBS R1: declaring ‘__ is dead’ vs. nationwide facebook invite to local reading

[Matchup #25 in Tournament of Bookshit]

DECLARING ___ IS DEAD VS. NATIONWIDE FACEBOOK INVITE TO LOCAL READING

-OR-

HOW I SPENT MEAN WEEK MAKING A POST SO STUPID THAT AFTER YOU READ THIS POST THE POST WILL HAVE A CHILD NAMED “GOOBER T.L.D.R” BECAUSE THE POST ISN’T EVEN GOOD AT COMING UP WITH NAMES FOR ITS CHILDREN

On the one hand, nothing really dies. Like I have this receipt from a movie I saw right here in my pocket. What good is it doing anybody? The movie was about the financial industry. We were made to feel sorry for people because they buried their dogs just like everybody else. In one scene, Snapple showed off its brand of bottled water. The best scene was when a guy who used to make bridges explained that money wasn’t a bridge, e.g. it didn’t save anybody in traffic. Adam and I saw the movie in NYC. Driving home, Adam and Joe and I got stuck in traffic. The reasons were mysterious. Adam’s chips were locked in the trunk. I wasn’t really hungry because I’d eaten two breakfasts and Adam’s tiramisu, which he gave me to shut me up after we argued about the relevance of the bridge scene. The tiramisu was delicious and sort of ridiculously conceptualized, just like NYC. -+-+-+-+-+- Listen: READ MORE >

Contests / 45 Comments
December 7th, 2011 / 10:15 pm