As a society, we seem to have gotten obsessed with the run times of movies. And that is in either direction; while some moviegoers seem to feel it is a mark of inherent quality for a movie to push past the two-hour mark and just keep going, others can’t stand the idea of being focused on a cinematic experience for more than 90 minutes. For better or worse, the streaming platform Netflix has become the de facto arbiter of movie selections for a pretty big chunk of the global population. And for those that like their movies to be nice and short, Netflix just added their very own net category: Short-Ass Movies. While that interestingly titled category might seem a little random for the streaming giant, it appears to be a response to a Saturday Night Live sketch. Check it out:
That particular musical sketch starring the King of Staten Island himself, Pete Davidson makes a pretty solid case for why it is pretty ridiculous how many movies are getting incredibly long these days. In particular, the breakdown of the logic of Sex & The City 2 being 20 minutes longer than the smash hit 1993 film Jurassic Park makes a solid argument that the latter explaining how DNA works should not take less time than the plot of SATC 2, which is mostly about xenophobia. The SNL sketch also features fellow performer Chris Redd, musical guest Gunna, and a guest verse from actor Simon Rex in his Dirty Nasty persona, breaking down the runtimes of the entire Ernest Goes to… catalog of films. Along with the critically acclaimed Red Rocket, Rex is having a pretty good year and the Ernest movies are largely a pretty good time. It is actually pretty impressive that Netflix responded so quickly and is already leaping on this untapped market.
At the moment, Netflix’s Short-Ass Movies category is composed of 42 movies, ranging in tone (and quality) from Rob Reiner’s nostalgic Stephen King adaptation Stand by Me to, um, Peter Rabbit 2. While there are undoubtedly far more < 90-minute movies in Netflix’s vast holdings, some interns in the corporate office doubtlessly had to scramble to find whatever they could before the world moved on to the next Pete Davidson speaking topic (which also might explain the preponderance of lesser-tier Texas Chainsaw Massacres in the category). It will be interesting to see whether this category is expanded in the future and becomes a permanent feature of Netflix, or whether this was simply a spur-of-the-moment lark. Given that Netflix chose to announce it via their comedy-related Twitter account, it feels like it could go away at any moment. All you short movie lovers better jump at the chance while you can.
On the other hand, Netflix has begun to lose market share to its increasingly aggressive and growing competitors in the streaming platform arena. Just recently, Netflix was bested in new subscribers for the first time ever and Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video sure seem to be breathing down Big Red’s neck. Maybe Short-Ass Movies will help them out.