Movies that make you think (sometimes for the wrong reason)

I saw Inception the first day it was out.  There were very few people in the audience.  Since then, I hear it’s doing really well.  Everybody loves it.

I got really bored and really wanted to leave the theater (but I was there with two other people).

It seems like the kind of film that lets you think you’re thinking, so you can pat yourself on the back for being a real thinker.

It’s like a jigsaw puzzle.  It takes some thinking to put it together.  But if it won’t go together because there’s really no solution and never was — so it takes even more thinking.  This movie didn’t make much sense and I don’t think the filmmaker had the story completely pieced together either.

When I hear the word “film” and the word “think” together, a red flag goes up.  Nobody wants to think during a movie, and we’re not inclined to do it.

The point was to dazzle — and distract us into the details — since the basic story wasn’t compelling.  Sure, the guy desperately wanted to go home and see his kids.  But he wasn’t a real likable guy, and he wasn’t a real sympathetic character — so I didn’t care if he got home or not.

If we had had a scene of him with his kids, early on, letting us know that this was a loving family that needed repair — then I might have cared.  It might have been worth a little effort to figure out how he was going to get there.

But I just saw a bunch of great actors with great, techie action, and lousy, trite dialogue.  And no real desire for them to win.

What I really thought about during Inception was how much longer the movie would last.

I also saw The Kids Are All Right.  Granted, this is a different genre, different budget, different altogether in every way.

Funny funny funny.

Smart.

Because the story was so simple and clear, I didn’t have to think in order to follow it.  The acting was natural.  They looked natural.  Not a lot of make-up.  Not much glamor.  It was real enough that I was therefore able to think about the meaning of the story:  What constitutes a family?

So I guess my point is that a movie can provoke thought, but only if you don’t have to think in order to understand what’s going on in the first place.

I’d much rather not think about what‘s going on, so my little brain cells are free to think about why it’s going on.

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