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This is your brain on summer blockbusters

It’s time for summer movie season, where the action is fast, the sound is explosive, and the people are idiots.

It’s time for summer movie season, where the action is fast, the sound is explosive, and the people are idiots.


I used to see lots of movies in public during the summer months. But then I realized the public will be there. So I stopped. Way too many of my memorable movie-going experiences have nothing to do with the film.


Consider:


Life Is Beautiful
Two elderly women could not keep up with the subtitles, largely because they were reading them out loud. When there was a time jump after a love scene, they expressed confusion about where the amorous couple had found a young boy.


The Blair Witch Project
A young woman sitting behind me talked in equal measure about how scared she was and how she had absolutely no idea what was going on. At one point, she saw that one of the characters had a rip in his jeans and squealed, “What does it mean?!”


Contact
The movie starts with a long, beautiful shot of the noiseless vacuum of outer space, which led people throughout the theatre to yell, “Something’s wrong with the sound! Hello? HELLO?!”


People like this used to make me angry, but I have recently realized it’s not their fault. The fault lies with our whole attitude toward blockbuster movies, especially during the summer season of “event” films, which are required by law to contain a constant mix of bosoms, explosions, and/or zombies.


Most of these movies suck, but if you say that, then somebody will inevitably say, “Just turn your brain off and enjoy it.” I hate that.


Watching a bad movie must be the only human endeavour where dumbing yourself down is considered acceptable. Imagine if you were eating spoiled lasagna and a friend said, “Just turn your brain off and revert to a dog-like state where the meat causes you joy.”


Why would anyone want to make themselves willfully stupid? It’s ridiculous but everybody thinks it’s OK, which is why movie theatres hold so many blatherers, cellphone users, and seat tappers.


I see now that these are all normal people — who during their day-to-day lives have minds and manners and children who love them — but who during movies “turn off their brains” so they can enjoy the ride.


And that’s why I avoid seeing blockbusters in public. Because if I didn’t, I might become the next summer-movie mindless zombie. If that ever happens to me, you know what to do...

 
 
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