"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Long"

I think this is, at best, a partial answer, but a partial answer to a good question: Why are movies today so long? And I'd refine the question a bit: Why do so many movies nowadays have scenes that seem to have no purpose?

Two conjectures that came to my mind don't seem to hold up: 1) the extraneous scenes are there to be cut when the movie shows on commercial TV and 2) the scenes are there to pad the movie to some minimum running time deemed respectable for exhibiting in theaters. The reason I don't think they work is because both would have applied for quite some time while the lengthening of movies seems to be a recent phenomenon.

"More research is needed."

"Forty Years Later, ‘Annie Hall’ Is Still a Work of Genius"

I haven't rewatched it, but I really enjoyed it the first time.

If you’ve ever taken a course on screenwriting, Annie Hall, Woody Allen’s 1977 masterpiece, is an example of what not to do. Screenwriting experts tell you: Show, don’t tell. Don’t break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience. Maintain the tone without wild shifts—especially something as outlandish as adding a cartoon. Make the protagonist likable. Keep the timeline and story arc straight, and stay away from religion.

Annie Hall smashed all of these conventions, giving the world not only an Oscar-Winning picture, but a movie that only seems to get richer and bolder with each passing year as new films get more conservative and conventional.

"The 28 best car chases in movie history"

An interesting piece but one that gives only weak support to a pet hypothesis of mine. It seems to me that in many recent movies--let's pick 2000 as an arbitrary dividing line--chase scenes tend to take place at night or in otherwise poor lighting. I think this greatly undermines the drama, if any, if you can't really see what's supposedly at risk. (But I imagine it's cheaper to film.)

Of the 28 scenes listed, 17 are from movies made before 2000. 16 of those 17 chase scenes are in daylight. Of the 11 2000 or later movies, 7 are in daylight, 3 are at night, and 1 is in a tunnel, albeit fairly well-lit. 

Oh, well. "More research is needed."