I am a big proponent of intelligent distractions, especially when it comes to the company I keep, the books I read, or the movies I watch. However, given the stressful nature of life, its not easy to always stay in tune with societys more enlightening offerings. In todays world, we are constantly being pummeled with stimulus that is devoid of substance, making it hard to remain focused on quality entertainment. With that said, I will personally admit that there are instances when I need to turn off my brain by flipping through a copy of People Magazine or watching an episode of The Surreal Life. Lets face it, challenging oneself on a consistent basis is hard work and even the most stringent intellectual needs to dummy-down on occasion. My wife is a prime example. She works in the renewable energy field crunching numbers and making multi-million dollar deals that will ultimately affect the future health of our planet. She stays physically fit by running three days a week and attending weight-training classes for another two. When she has the time, she often reads insightful novels about the political turmoil of the Middle East or biographies about famous historical figures. She is intelligent and challenging to be around 99 percent of the time. However, she has one major weakness: when things get really hectic, she cannot resist immersing herself in a wildly stupid romantic comedy. Now, when I say romantic comedy, I am not speaking about quality choices like When Harry Met Sally or Jerry Maguire. Im talking about the really stupid romantic comedies like Clueless and How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. Films like these fail to offer much in the way of great acting or challenging dialogue, but they do have a way of relieving the turmoil and stress of the daily grind. For some reason, losing yourself in a ridiculous love story is oddly consuming. I chide my wife when I catch her watching The Wedding Planner for the twenty-seventh time, but in truth I fall victim to the same phenomenon whenever I come across a rebroadcast of The Wedding Singer. Its like some deep-rooted area of my brain disengages my ability to turn the channel. I must sit and watch the same feeble (but entirely appealing) scene over and over again. I know what song is about to play, what words the characters are about to utter, and what the ultimate outcome of the film will be but I still watch intently and with complete focus. To be honest, Id feel better if it were a documentary on the reign of the Athenian Empire. After all, spewing knowledge about the Doric columns used in the construction of the Parthenon would make any person look intelligent at their next cocktail party. Unfortunately, Im more apt to comment on Adam Sandlers 80s hairstyle because Ive seen The Wedding Singer over 300 times in the last two years. The point is this: We all need to escape into an idiotic film now and then. Like sleep, these films allow our brains to shut down and rejuvenate. This weeks feature, Fools Gold, is possibly the next great stupid romantic comedy. If youre looking for a reason to turn your brain off, this is the film to watch. I could give you a broad idea of what this film is about (treasure hunting in the Caribbean), but it would be entirely misleading. The fact is that Fools Gold is a 2-hour vehicle meant to exploit Matthew McConaugheys body. Every scene seems to revolve around how best to light his chiseled abs and well-crafted biceps. And if youre not getting a good look at Mr. McConaugheys body, then costar Kate Hudson is pleasantly displayed as well. Im all for seeing good looking actors in bathing suits but Fools Gold was gratuitous to a fault. If you have nothing better to do and youre feeling overworked and mentally exhausted, then give Fools Gold a try. On a positive note, it should allow any failing neurons in your brain a chance to reconnect since they will be anything but stressed. And dont fret if you miss this one at the theater. Chances are it will live on in perpetuity via cable television reruns. A drab and uninspired (but mentally intoxicating) C- for Fools Gold.
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Video Pick Of The Week
Secret of the Wild Child
After waxing philosophically about the occasional worth of a really stupid romantic comedy, I should probably include one here. Unfortunately, I cant bring myself to recommend Kate and Leopold or Sweet Home Alabama. Instead I will suggest an interesting documentary I just reviewed: Novas Secret of the Wild Child. This film follows the incredible story of Genie, a young girl who was discovered by social workers after being locked in a room for the first 13 years of her life. She was unable to speak or stand erect and had no relationship with the outside world. After her discovery, psychologists tried to understand how her brain had developed and if it was possible to educate her after her traumatic childhood. Check this one out if you love clinical documentaries that examine the fragile human condition.