When you have too much free time
1 Twin Peaks, Vols. 1-6 (1990-91, Republic, unrated)
Just pop in some episodes of David Lynch’s anti-narrative TV serial in any order at all — they’re so baffling, it makes little difference — and you’ll fall right into a waking dream state.
2 Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980, Facets, unrated)
You’d have to feel listless to dive into Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s elliptical 15 1/2-hour epic about an ex-con (Gunter Lamprecht) in late-’20s Berlin. But you’ll be rewarded: It’s got sumptuous cinematography and evocative atmosphere for days — and we mean days.
3 Shoah (1985, Paramount, unrated)
How many tapes? Five. And they run? In total, 9 1/2 hours. What is it, a Holocaust documentary? It’s a series of question-and-answer sessions with eyewitnesses who detail the specifics of the Nazis’ death camps. And the little questions illuminate larger truths? Inexorably and indelibly.
4 War and Peace (1967, Kultur, unrated)
Seemingly no page in Tolstoy’s classic is left unadapted in this six-hours-plus Soviet superproduction, which plays much more satisfyingly in the subtitled version than in an awkwardly dubbed one (just say nyet to any abridged versions, too).
5 Terminator 2: Judgment Day-Special Edition (1991/93, Pioneer/Carolco/LIVE laserdisc, unrated)
Sixteen extra minutes flesh out the bond between John Connor (Edward Furlong) and his cyborg guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger). But it’s the exhaustive making-of section that proves James Cameron may need to get a life even more than you do.
By Jason Cochran, Steve Daly, Glenn Kenny, Lois Alter Mark, Chris Nashawaty, Tim Purtell, Michael Sauter, and J.R. Taylor