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March 26th, 2009

Intellectual Movies v. Dumb Movies

A few months back I had the pleasure of seeing Merlin Mann speak at my workplace. He gave a great talk about inbox zero, productivity, and all sorts of great topics.

One of the things he mentioned as a throwaway item was this. He and his wife would choose movies on Netflix that sounded good and, arguably, intellectually-challenging – documentaries, dramas, etc. But when it came time to view the movies – usually late in the evening or after a rough day – all they wanted to watch was mindless stuff.

And you know, that really resonated with me. Our DVR is littered – littered! – with lots of good, critically-acclaimed movies. But when we want to watch something we’ll end up putting on something lightweight instead. And when we had a free preview of some movie channels last weekend, we really had to be careful of our choices. (“Do we really want to record The Queen? Or should we record something with more splosions?”)

Merlin’s comment also gave me insights into why really dumb movies do so well at the box office. Lots and lots of people want the mindless entertainment. And although I like to think of myself as better than, oh, most of them because I look down at Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the reality is that we aren’t all that different.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to watch 13 hours of Planet Earth in HD. Or American Idol.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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