Why So Boring? "Wow, the Empire State Building is stunning, isn't it? A marvel of aesthetics, architectural sturdiness and sheer 'can do' enterprise."
Eight hours later... " Please can I stop looking?"
Andy Warhol's intentional exercise in longwindedness defines movie boredom. Not necessarily something that's intrinsically bad, but something that outstays its welcome to the point where you want to rip your eyes out.
Amazingly, though, Empire isn't the most boring movie ever made. Not by a long way. Read on... but drink some Red Bull first, OK?
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Presumably, it was the giant ape's day off when Warhol shot this.
Cold Mountain (2003)
Why So Boring? The stateliness of The English Patient tested the (ahem) patience of many, but it's Anthony Minghella's later epic that really needs to get out of bed.
Overstuffed with go-nowhere cameos, Jude's road movie is a miserable affair hindered by his blank performance.
However, even that's preferable to scenes of yee-haw cowgirl Renne Zellweger teaching a wet Nicole Kidman how to farm. Zzz...
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Nicole grows a backbone, gets on a horse, rifle at the ready, and goes after her man.
La Belle Noiseuse (1991)
Why So Boring? By rights, any film in which we can see the incomparably gorgeous Emmanuelle Beart standing stark naked for two hours while modelling for a painting, should have no place in this list.
Unfortunately, the film is four hours long.. and the other two consist of close-ups of the painter at work. The only film in this list that allows you to actually watch paint dry.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: At least have Beart do star-jumps. You know, for the jiggle.
The Good Shepherd (2006)
Why So Boring? "I want to downplay the violence, depict it in a muted way. In those days, it was a gentleman's game," explained director/star Robert De Niro of his CIA origins story.
The same De Niro who played those well-known muted gentlemen Travis Bickle, Al Capone and Max Cady.
The result speaks for itself, a sparkless, procedural affair that even manages to douse the passions of anybody wondering what a screen marriage between Jason Bourne and Lara Croft might be like.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Ditch the shepherds, for starters. All they do is watch their flock by night.
How about killer robots?
Out Of Africa (1985)
Why So Boring? Sydney Pollack's laborious African safari hunted big game - and bagged seven Oscars.
Presumably voters caught just enough of the beautiful wildlife photography, pretentious symbolism and Meryl Streep's toffee-stuck-in-throat Danish accent to think it was a safe bet... before they all nodded off.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: You've got lions. Use 'em.
You've Got Mail (1998)
Why So Boring? Ah, the tedium of topicality.
In 1998, the sight of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan tapping away on their keyboards was the height of sophistication. Now it's commonplace, leaving the burden on antiquated qualities like character or wit.
Unfortunately, this is just two self-absorbed idiots barking at each other. Move along folks, preferably in the direction of the film's pre-make, The Shop Around The Corner .
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Invent the Blackberry a decade early. At least then they could be doing other stuff while they're emailing.
Death In Venice (1971)
Why So Boring? A paedophile composer ogles a boy across the Venetian Lido for over two hours, but the sicko doesn't even try him chat him up 'cause he's too busy dying in his deckchair.
Yes, the music (by Mahler) is lovely, but Christ you could just stick on a CD for that.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Turn the dying perv into a vengeful gondolier, stalking the canals to murder the fiends who wouldn't let him have just one Cornetto.
Far And Away (1991)
Why So Boring? Clearly, Tom and Nicole had a thing about tedium, given their best efforts at somnambulance in Eyes Wide Shut .
But our peepers were screwed tight with seconds of Ron Howard's patronising Oirish romance: part poverty-porn, part history lesson about 19th Century American land grabs. Yawn.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Instead of America, they go to Krakatoa. Just before it erupts.
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Why So Boring? Remember how disappointed you were when The Matrix Reloaded came out? The crap rave and the Colonel Sanders lookalike spouting media-course gubbins?
It was a test. To see how gullible we were, to see the extent of our fanboy devotion in sticking through to the bitter end.
And Revolutions was the punishment. Just as much postmodern BS, but now even the action - an endless mecha-battle, outside of the Matrix, involving characters we don't care about - is rubbish.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Shut up. Get back in the Matrix. Kick some ass.
Why So Boring? The first shot shows a herd of cows walking along a muddy track. The first shot lasts eight minutes.
However, at least the camera moves. For most of the following seven hours of glacial action, gloomy art direction and Communist farm co-operatives, the camera remains obstinately rooted to the spot.
At that length, you'd have to take the day off work to watch it...but you'd rather go to work, wouldn't you?
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Hire an editor.
Why So Boring? This biopic about a popular Depression-era horse - yes, really - shocked the bookies by getting a Best Picture nominee.
The film (and presumably the Oscar voters) go all dewy-eyed about the unexpected success of a stallion the pundits had consigned to the knackers' yard.
But for all the quasi-mystical naval-gazing, it's actually quite simple. Seabiscuit had long odds, he made poor folk a heap of money. And he had a stupid name. End of.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: At least have the horse talk. Has Disney taught us nothing?
Why So Boring? Ronald F. Maxwell's American Civil War flick is revered by historians and shown to kids in school...which should set warning bells ring right off.
Devoted to absolute authenticity (bar the implausibility of Jeff Daniels as a military commander), it's four-plus hours of uniforms and strategy. In other words, it's an historical re-enactment, not a movie.
Although shorter, 2003 prequel Gods and Generals is an even harder slog.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Take some liberties with the facts. Have the generals deploy ninjas, or fire human heads out of cannons.
The Great Gatsby (1974)
Why So Boring? F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel of the Roaring Twenties is only 150 pages long; Jack Clayton's pretty but inert movie is two-and-a-half hours long. It'd be quicker to read the book.
On an unusual off-day, screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola decides to dramatise the mysterious Gatsby's affair with shallow socialite Daisy, which is merely reported in the novel.
Cue endless soft-focus scenes of Robert Redford and Mia Farrow frolicing in fields take the sting out of the satire and replace tragedy with torpor.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Stick to the book: make Gatsby shiftier, less likeable (Dustin Hoffman, perhaps?) and put the affair off-screen to add a question mark to Daisy's motivations.
Why So Boring? It seems unfair to penalise a film made by a dying man, who found a creative way of overcoming blindness to bring his highly personal meditations on mortality to the movie screen.
At the end of the day, however, it has to be pointed out that Derek Jarman's final film consists entirely of a blue screen, onto which an 80 minute soundscape of narration and music is overlaid.
The fact that it premiered on radio at the same time as TV says it all.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: At least change the colour occasionally. It's not much to ask, is it?
How To Make An American Quilt (1995)
Why So Boring? The obvious answer (to the film's title), is: go buy a book about quilt-making.
Well, anything's better than having to sit and watch a bunch of touch-feely old dears actually making a quilt, while they continually stop to reminicise about their lives.
Not to producers: please don't mistake the cinema for the old folks' home.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Like so many movies, this could be immeasurably improved simply by changing the last word of the title for Laser-Gun. The story writes itself.
Raise The Titanic (1980)
Why So Boring? No, not that Titanic . C'mon, Cameron's movie at least has a boat sinking and stuff.
This ill-conceived Britflick has all of the inane dialogue, wooden performances and turgid soap operatics you can shake a stick at, but its money shot is seeing the old rustbucket being dragged out of the ocean.
Producer Lew Grade remarked of its notorious production that it would have been easier to lower the Atlantic. Actually, it would have been easier not to bother at all.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Specially trained sharks are used to find the wreck. Dolphins handle the communications.
Why So Boring? Anyone who thinks fuck all happens in Elephant or Last Days should try the first of Gus Van Sant's slowcore trilogy, the story of two slackers named Gerry (Matt Damon and Casey Affleck) walking and mumbling through the desert.
An exercise in pure bloody-mindedness, it's a deliberate provocation to try and see beyond the boring. But it's hard to be provoked when you're asleep.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Call one of 'em Tom, and turn it into a live-action cat and mouse showdown. With silly sound effects, obviously.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
Why So Boring? A theme park ride? This is closer to being stuck in the queue, for nearly three hours.
Weighed down by the ballast of an unwieldy arc, this most bloated of threequels struggles to rise above sea level as the film stops dead for diplomacy talks between (wait for it) Keira Knightley and Chow Yun-Fat.
Sadly, the disease spreads to cheeky Captain Jack Sparrow. Turns out even Johnny Depp tries the patience when he's arguing with himself in limbo.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Ditch the backstory. Just let Jack loose with no agenda beyond being dashing and sarcastic.
Why So Boring? In the duel of shambling, hipster rom-coms, this lost out to Zach Braff's Garden State for two very good reasons.
One, Orlando Bloom, making his second consecutive appearance in this list - a cinematic Bermuda Triangle that's a no-fly zone for charisma.
Two, instead of Braff's sprightly iTunes shuffle we get ageing rocker Cameron Crowe's personal mix-tape, played seemingly in its entirely in the final act's unending coda. It's worth taking a huge road trip just to avoid it.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: If Bloom visited every single place in America, how come we're never shown him getting beaten up by rednecks?
Meet Joe Black (1998)
Why So Boring? Death is bored. So he adopts the guise of recently-departed Brad Pitt and decides to learn about life from philosophical ham Anthony Hopkins and bland daughter Clare Forlani.
Three hours of boardroom meetings and tearful family dinners later, the transformation is complete. Death is no longer bored. Now he's boring .
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Same premise, but Death's human mentor is Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Pret A Porter (1994)
Why So Boring? Robert Altman's habit of letting a big cast wander around improvising their incessant chatter always risked dramatic meltdown.
His fashion world satire made that possibility inescapable. The fact that everybody is a vacuous, self-absorbed numpty leaves a film that is smugly self-satisfied enough to simply show these idiots at work.
Without ever once feeling the need to impose any wit or drama onto proceedings.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Two words - Blue Steel.
The Black Dahlia (2006)
Why So Boring? James Ellroy's none-more-noir novel, a director (Brian DePalma) with unrivalled visual panache, and ScarJo as a femme fatale. How could it fail?
Well... the clues are there. Under DePalma's fastidious art direction, this is a glossy fashion-mag photospread of noir. Even pretty-boy hero Josh Hartnett looks like a tailor's dummy.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Unleash Demon Dog Ellroy onto the set to bark at - and, if necessary, bite - the complacent cast. At least then we might feel the story's pain.
Why So Boring? A 'classic' avant-garde movie consisting entirely of a camera slowly zooming across a room to a photo on the other side, while director Michael Snow buggers about with colour filters and sound effects.
It's only 45 minutes long, but it feels much longer. We'll save you the bother by giving away the twist. The photo shows some waves. Funny, huh?
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Speed the zoom up, put a rock band in the room doing something wacky, and you'd actually have a pretty sharp concept for a three-minute music promo.
'Course, it wouldn't be a film, but then anybody who says this is has got weird fucking taste.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Why So Boring? On screen, Dan Brown's urgent page-turner could barely muster the enthusiasm to crawl to the end credits.
See, while those animated symbols whizzing about look cute, but there's no time to join in with the Countdown conundrum shenanigans, which leaves the whole thing susicipiously close to watching somebody do a Sudoku puzzle.
And between Paul Bettany's albino self-flagellation, Ian McKellen's paycheque slumming exposition and Tom Hanks' mullet, there's precious little room for even a half-decent chase.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: If you insist on explaining the plot via a Powerpoint demo, at least do it in the middle of a shoot-out or something.
Swept Away (2002)
Why So Boring? Vanity projects. Hitherto cool directors trying to get arty. Misguided remakes. Being stuck on a desert island that isn't the one in Lost .
All of these are, individually, are boring. Collectively, they make Guy and Madge's ill-fated venture a perfect storm of mediocrity.
Remember: only two films after Lock, Stock , this didn't even get a British cinema release.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Order the Mockney duo to stick to what they know. Madonna sings and cavorts in a conical bra. Ritchie brings in Vinnie Jones to shoot her.
The Cure For Insomnia (1987)
Why So Boring? Running at 87 hours - that's over three days - this is officially the world's longest movie, and very nearly the most boring.
Consisting mainly of a static shot of an artist reading a 4000 page long poem in its entirety, it's less a recital than the terminal challenge in a deadly version of Big Brother .
However, it does contain occasional cutaways to pornos and heavy metal videos, so there's at least some effort to jolt you back into wakefulness.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Prizes for whoever in the audience lasts the longest.
The Postman (1997)
Why So Boring? Kevin Costner has arguably spent his entire career flirting with the possibility of boring us rigid.
Yet it's only here - with his directorial follow-up to the Oscar-winning Dances With Wolves - that he had the prestige and power to perfect the full-on cinematic sleeping pill.
With the earnestly dull auteur keeping himself centre-stage for the length of an actual postman's round, this is a post-apocalypse movie that genuinely makes you wish the world would end.
How To Add A Bit Of Excitement: Put the script back in the envelope, and mark 'Return to Sender.'