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"What's wrong with just turning off your brain and enjoying the 'splosions?"

You'll die. Your brain controls the central nervous system and regulates the circulatory and vascular systems that sustain life.

"That's not what I meant..."

I know what you meant. I was giving your question the condescending, smartass response it deserves.

Of everything on both of these lists, this sticks in my craw like no other. Yes, I understand that most people who say it are really saying "I just want 90 minutes off from whatever stress is taking up my braintime in the real world." And I tend to agree - but the proliferation of the "turn off your brain" meme has been devastating to the business of filmmaking because it gives "cover" to films and filmmakers who lack the ambition (or the talent) to deliver anything outside of the bare-minimum effort.

No, there's nothing wrong with just wanting to "see the fireworks," but if that's all your in it for why not simply type "fireworks" into a YouTube search for free instead of paying twenty bucks to watch fireworks happen around poorly-designed robots? Why is it wrong for critics or audiences to demand that the parts of the film that aren't just eye-candy be better when things like "smarter story" or "better dialogue" are so much less expensive than setting off more fireworks?

Also, not to get overly technical here, but 90% of what gets termed "turn off your brain" movies are really quite the opposite: A film like Armageddon - with its constant-cutting and rapid-fire barrage of images and information - engages and stimulates the brain more than something more deliberately paced... it just doesn't engage it to any meaningful ends.

"Not EVERY movie needs to be smart, meaningful or original."

This is actually quite true.

Also quite true: Food doesn't need to taste good; it merely needs to provide nutrient energy. Clothing doesn't need to look good; it merely needs to shield the epidermis from the elements. Sex does not require romance, meaningful connection or even attraction - merely the joining of interlocking parts and the exchange of fluids. You get the idea.

Y'know, like most of the other entries in these two articles, I think this one comes down to a certain amount of insecurity: People like what they like, often without much discernable understanding as to why they like it. For most people - yes, even "off duty" critics - the enjoyment of stimuli like art, music, film, literature etc. is often tied to reactions that occur at a deep, visceral, primal level. No living human with any real sense of their own life and humanity can take a purely analytical view of such things. To offer a personal anecdote: I've had two dogs in my life, both of them "rescues" and both of them quintessential "mutts" in that their myriad breeds' "parts" didn't entirely complement one another. As such, I'm quite sure that were I to enter either of them into one of those prestigious Dog Shows they'd be quite unkindly scrutinized by the ... well, "Dog Critics" in charge. And I'm equally sure that I'd be profoundly indignant at that, since I know they're great dogs in spite of all those Dog Critic concerns about coat and posture and whatever. That's how it is with some people and some movies. I get that ... to a point.

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