Yesterday I was once again taken to task about having left a film before it was over — around the 90-minute mark. When I’m in terrible pain that’s about how long I last. I usually know I’m going to hate a film five or ten minutes in, and so I endure about 80 minutes worth before I can’t stand it any longer. Here’s a rationale that I posted early this morning:

“My impressions of the first 90 minutes of any film count for quite a lot. Name me one universally praised film in which the general richness of appeal and absorption levels (narrative, stylistic, thematic) aren’t 100% obvious during the first 90 minutes. At the 90-minute mark of a first-rate film you’re always saying ‘this is really good…please let me stay until the finish…in fact I never want it to end.’ With a gnarly, punishing film you’re looking at your watch every 10 or 15 and forcing yourself to tough it out, or you’re saying to yourself, ‘This is agony, life is short, I’m bailing.’ That’s the difference.”

23 years ago I was sitting right next to Jack Nicholson when he bailed on Showgirls, so don’t tell me.