My Brain Hurts a Lot


I recently heard Bowie’s song “Five Years” and it made me wonder how much time I have spent at the movies.

Especially the part where he sings, “My brain hurts a lot.”

In my head, it feels as long as the song title. By a back of the envelope estimate – and rounding down to a conservative 100 movies a year over 30 years – I’ve spent 360,000 minutes, or 250 days of the past three decades at the movies.

That is surely an underestimate.  At points, during festivals for instance, I’ve seen as many as 30 movies in ten days. And, this does not count the early years when I freelanced, all the movies I saw before getting into this line of work, or the fact that many of the movies I saw during that period ran longer than two hours.

“Shoah,” alone was nine hours, Abel Gance’s 1927 “Napoloeon,” was five and one half hours, “Fanny and Alexander,” five hours plus. These days filmmakers are incapable of making a blockbuster under two hours in length.

“Interstellar” is almost three hours long.

These thoughts are brought to you by “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” which at 123 minutes is the shortest of the franchise, by as much as 20 minutes.  But it also means I have spent 411 minutes of my life watching this series – or six hours, 51 minutes.

You see where I’m going, right?

  • All four “Twilight” films; 522 minutes, or 8 hours, 42 minutes;
  • All eight “Harry Potter” films; 1,999 minutes, or one minute under 20 hours;
  • All three “Lord of the Rings” films; 588 minutes or nine hours and 48 minutes
  • And the three “Hobbit” films, made out of a single book; 530 minutes, or ten minutes shy of 9 hours.
  • The “Star Trek” franchise; 1,137 minutes, or just shy of 19 hours
  • Marvel Comics superhero films,; 2,162 minutes, or  36 hours
  • DC Comics films, including the “Dark Knight”  and Superman films, 1,242 minutes or twenty hours 42 minutes.

That’s 130 hours, or five and half days spent watching these franchise films.

But it feels longer.





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