When Titanic was release on home video in 1998, it came in a clunky two VHS tape set, and I still remember where tape one ended: with Captain Smith saying, “I believe you may get your headlines, Mr. Ismay.” Titanic was a very long movie (195 minutes), which is why it couldn’t fit on a single tape, but the break wasn’t annoying; it was an excuse to use the restroom, or grab something to eat, or stare longingly at a Leonardo DiCaprio poster. Or all of the above. In 2019, VHS tapes are a dusty relic, but long movies aren’t.
The year’s highest-grossing film (and the highest-grossing film of all-time), Avengers: Endgame, is only 14 minutes shorter than Titanic, and director Martin Scorsese’s latest epic, The Irishman, comes in at a whopping 209 minutes. That’s three and a half hours. If you don’t have to pee at least once in that time, well, I am jealous. But when’s the best time to take a break? Obviously, because the movie is available on Netflix, you can pause whenever. But doing so at the wrong time could disrupt the flow of the film, or take away from the dramatic tension. The Irishman is the kind of movie that deserves your full attention, so instead of arbitrarily stopping the thing every time Al Pacino says “c*cksucker” (every three seconds), here’s when I recommend taking a break.
When you hear Pacino, as Jimmy Hoffa, refer to someone as a “smart rat,” and De Niro makes this Extremely De Niro Face at two hours and seven minutes, that’s when to get up and stretch. I won’t reveal who the “someone” is, even though it barely counts as a spoiler, but I will say: this is a good time to stop because a) you’re two hours through the movie with roughly 90 minutes to go, and b) the next scene is when The Irishman elevates from very good to great. The ending, in particular, is maybe my favorite ending of any of Scorsese’s movies. Don’t run to the bathroom as soon as the credits roll, because you haven’t peed in the time it takes some people to run a marathon; sit in the moment, because when’s the next time Scorsese, Pacino, De Niro, and Joe Pesci are going to make another movie together? (Don’t answer that. It’s sad to think about.)
For more on The Irishman, read our glowing review.