The other day, I was talking to a bunch of people about the movies that they’ve enjoyed this year. This year, I enjoyed Muppets Most Wanted, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Godzilla and, of course, Guardians of the Galaxy. One person said she liked Transformers 4: Age of Extinction and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I sort of snickered a bit and she asked me why I thought it was funny. I replied with my opinion on those movies: they’re dumb movies.
She took offense to that. She said they were really good movies! While I disagreed regarding the quality of those films, I said there’s nothing wrong with liking a dumb movie as long as you’re entertained by them. She still decided to defend them by saying they’re great films! Well, I didn’t push the matter anymore since I didn’t want to get into an argument at that time. We were in a funeral, after all. True story.
Whether it’s any new Michael Bay film, another dumb schlock horror flick or an action movie full of machismo, dumb movies are not going away. It’s a huge staple of the normal moviegoers diet and Hollywood loves making more and more of them. After all, these kinds of films take in huge box-office grosses most of the time and the general public loves to just gobble them down. In all honesty, I’m fine with them producing lots of them. Because I, like most geeks, enjoy a good number of non-intellectual films.
Oh, don’t be so high and mighty! You know you like “junk food” films as well! In fact, most successful films are actually “junk food” films! Oh sure, they’ll be the occasional “serious” film that manages to become a huge hit. I mean, I can’t discount films like JFK, Schindler’s List, The Pianist and The King’s Speech were huge successes while being highly entertaining with telling a very somber and compelling story. But the majority of movies people watch generally falls under the “dumb” category.
A lot of my favorite films are actually pretty dumb. Dumb and Dumber. There’s Something About Mary. Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. Commando. Weird Science. Heck, Guardians of the Galaxy is pretty “dumb,’ come to think of it. I love those films even though I know some of my brain cells die whenever I watch them. Even movies that claim to have deeper meanings or hidden commentary can be dumb films if you initially don’t see the message. Films like the original Robocop and Starship Troopers are like this. God, I love Starship Troopers so much. It didn’t matter to me that the film was a parody of war propaganda. Look it up!
The problem is, most people take offense when a movie they like is called “dumb,” whether it is or not. Being dumb doesn’t mean the movie is bad. Most film critics know this. Movies are to be enjoyed and we’re supposed to be entertained by them. This is why we sometimes love watching B-movies. This is why we laugh at stupid cat videos online. It’s because they’re fun to watch!
The real sin is if a movie is both dumb and bad. Unfortunately, “bad” is a matter of individual taste. Going back to my conversation with my friend during the funeral, I may find it problematic that she likes “bad” movies like Transformers 4. But that’s her opinion.
Who am I to judge her and her bad taste?
What’s you take on dumb movies? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.