A lot of the more independent-filmic tidbits you've been reading in OPC for the past week or so have come from Peter Biskind's Down and Dirty Pictures, which I just finished reading. Ostensibly a history of the indie movement from sex, lies and videotape to, roughly, Gangs of New York, Down and Dirty Pictures ends up primarily focused, for obvious reasons, on Miramax, and thence on its larger-than-life - as in 300 pounds-plus - co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. (At one point, Weinstein screams at Billy Bob Thornton, "I'm a big fat hairy Jew worth $180 million and I can do whatever I want!")
Miramax was of course the most successful distributor of so-called art films throughout the 1990s, and Harvey's approach to each of the movies he worked on seemed to be the same: Cut it. Cut four minutes, or 10 minutes, or 20 minutes, or more. It's not that Weinstein saw 10 minutes that he didn't like, or felt there was a particular 10 minutes that needed to be cut. He didn't care which 10 minutes the director cut, just so long as it got cut.
I've never seen any of these Miramax movies before they were cut, but I assume they weren't any worse for the wear, since they were largely successful. I've known magazine editors like that, too, people who thought any story would be better if it were shorter. They're usually right.