Magnolia was one of my top 10 films the year it came out. This film would never be made today. Why? It's too slow paced. An hour into its running time, you're still being introduced to the characters and the main action hasn't happened yet, or even really hinted at. Even the scenes and shots are slower. These days scenes are kept very short, and the camera moves around within it, or the editor cuts between characters frequently to keep things moving and dynamic.
It's like film makers are afraid of stillness, of taking their time to let things unfold. Is this a reaction to the perception that people have shorter attentions spans these days, or has this frenetic film making style been part of the cause?
It's the same in books. When you read the classics, there are often large passages of description, or even whole chapters outlining the politics and historical background of the time (Les Miserables, War and Peace). This wouldn't fly in a modern book. The history and description needs to be squeezed in amidst the action driving the story forward so the reader won't get bored.
I wonder if all of this is just making people more impatient. How long will it be before attention spans have dropped to a fraction of a second, and we don't even get a page to grab their interest? A single scene?