I like Barry Lyndon but none of my friends do (spoilers I guess)

Everyone tells me “it’s too long” or “it’s boring” or something like that. What is wrong with the kids these days that they have no patience to sit through a long movie? I blame the Youtube for making everyone feel like they have to be entertained in 30 seconds or it is not worthwhile. Barry Lyndon is slow, but I was never bored; I always was curious about what was gonna happen next. Also the slow pace makes some scenes really tense, especially the duel at the end. It takes forever to get through the duel, but it is a really good scene because it is so slow. Also the movie is really pretty and I like the music.

tl;dr why doesn’t everyone like the same movies I do?

What’s wrong with the kids these days? I thought you lived with your mother and she wouldn’t let you on Google because it has porn on it?

Are you a Wooshmaster?

Barry Lyndon was a pretty good flick-but like all Kubrick films, too long. Kubrick paid a lot of attention to detail-they even filmed some of the evening scenes by candlelight (using special ultrafast film). Technically, a supurb film, but lacking in human interest.
Plus, the main character is a rake-you don’t feel much for the guy-he is such a scumbag.

I’ve read the book The Red and the Black which is similar to Barry Lyndon, and that succeeds as a story because you’re aware of the main character’s motivations thanks to the information shared by the narrator. Kubrick’s film somehow believes that if the scenery is real pretty that the viewers will forget that we can’t read the character’s brain and accept that he must have some sort of reason for acting like a dick. And for some small percentage of people, this does seem to be the case. For most of us, however, we aren’t that impressed by the scenery, do realize that all we can tell about the main character is that he is a dick, and as such don’t care about him or what happens to him. In end result, we’ve spent an inordinate amount of time staring blankly at scenery and ignoring some asshole we don’t care about.

And this isn’t an issue of speed. I quite enjoy Once Upon a Time in the West, but that uses the long quiet spaces effectively rather than as a cover, and of course because there’s actually a reason to care about the characters and what happens to them. You don’t need dialogue to reveal the story.

Kubrick should have taken the long empty sections and added in dialogue to reveal what the characters were all about. Perhaps it was entirely an unfilmable book, but certainly it was a book that was unfilmable if you filmed it as is. I don’t care how masterful a director you are, some subtexts simply can’t be shown via cinematography and physical acting alone.

Rather bizarrely, my older sister and I saw Barry Lyndon in its original theatrical run, and we were so in love with it that we went on to see it several times. I say “bizarrely” because at the time, we were only 8 and 10! So it’s certainly possible for young people to enjoy the movie as-is. Not that we were normal, but I doubt we were unique, either. Something in the long, slow-moving, beautifully shot saga grabbed us. The gorgeous music, the incredible costumes, the mystifying intrigue, the wit… I don’t know what.

(The only scene that bothered my wee self was the final duel between Barry and Lord Bullingdon, and that was only 'cause of the vomitting.)

I’m a big Kubrik fan and I loved the movie.

I think that long movies are actually more common today than they were 35 years ago, when “Barry Lyndon” came out.

ISTR that, back then, the conventional wisdom was that general audiences simply wouldn’t sit still for longer than a 2-hour movie. George Lucas was specifically told to make “Star Wars” no longer than 120 minutes, for that reason.

But, over the past 15-20 years, there’s been a number of big hits which were significantly longer than 2 hours (including “Dances With Wolves”, “Titanic”, and all three “Lord of the Rings” films).

So, I’m not sure that it’s length, per se, but what’s happening in those 3 hours – or, as others have posted, it’s not that “Barry Lyndon” is 3 hours long, but that it’s a slow-paced 3 hours.

Kubrick peaked with Dr. Strangelove.

I love the film, myself. Slowness doesn’t bother me if there’s a lot of gorgeous cinematography and lush music. The fact that it’s Kubrick and there’s his signature ongoing weird tenseness has a lot to do with it, too.

I also love Thackeray’s novel. The thing about the novel, though, is that it’s quite clear that the lead character is a major dickwad. Even though it’s written in the first person by the dickwad, and the only thing he professes to is being a very fine fellow indeed, it’s meant to be ironic and a character assassination of the Irish to boot. That’s something that would be virtually impossible to duplicate in a film.

Barry Lyndon is usually my favorite Kubrick. It’s a masterpiece, flawless in every way. If you changed a single frame of it, it would suffer. If you find it too slow or too long, that’s about you, not about the movie.

I’d put A Clockwork Orange and maybe Paths of Glory above it but I agree that it can’t really be improved.

I am with your friends on this one. I have walked out of two films in my life - Freddy Got Fingered and this one. You can argue art, beauty, scenery and music as much as you want, but at some point boring trumps them all. And it did in this movie for me. I wanted to like this movie. I am (or at least until I saw this movie, was) a big Kubrick fan, but this was painful. When the best actor in the film is Ryan O’Neal…I think that pretty much says it.

A masterpiece. It goes from hereto eternity.

Pepper Mill can’t stand it, but I love Kubrick’s films, including this one. Damned near every shot is beautifully composed, so it looks like a late 18th century painting on film. The shots he was able to get using that incredibly “fast” lens – not only the night time candle-lit scenes, but also daytime shots of interiors without extra lighting (they wouldn’t let them put bright lights on a lot of those classic huge canvases) are stunning.
The story’s not a compelling one, and it is slow, but Kubrick’s knack for choosing music to go with the shots is excellent, as ever.

And it’s one period film where they did the hair right

Sure, but what’s the point in putting a concert cum slide show in the guise of a movie? You’d do just as well to take a poem and write one word on each page to make it look like a 400 page book.

Notwithstanding the merits of Barry Lyndon, I agree with the implication of the OP that today’s Movie Maker’s embrace the concept that movies have the pacing of a cartoon: something dazzling and amazing must happen every 30 seconds or else you lose your audience.

Fascinating review by the late Robert Anton Wilson. (Begin at p. 68.)

I always liked Mr. Wilson. In his novels, in his non-fiction, in so much of his life, the man just got it. This review is no exception.

ETA: To the OP: ask your friends if they liked There Will Be Blood. Or No Country For Old Men. Those are two recent films with the same themes and similarly unsympathetic protagonists that were critically acclaimed and also had huge box office success. If they liked either of those but didn’t care for Barry Lyndon, I bet you could pass an afternoon talking about why.

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, but I liked it. A couple of weeks ago, when I bought the DVD of 2001 (which I consider Kubrick’s best, or at least my favorite), I considered buying Barry Lyndon too. I didn’t then, but may do so later.

Althought it doesn’t feature as prominently as it does in Brideshead Revisited, notice that the house at the end is Castle Howard.

BTW, the Barry Lyndon of the movie is a sympathetic protagonist compared to the Barry Lyndon of Thackeray’s novel, who is a cruel, vain, arrogant bully.

It often seems to work that way in film adaptations. Has there ever been a movie of Vanity Fair where Becky Sharpe was as heartless and dishonest as she was in the novel?

Even the O.C. & Stiggs movie had to give a moral makeover, within limits, to the self-ID’d “sociopathic teens” of National Lampoon. It was very disappointing.