i'm coming in on this conversation a little late, i think, but i want to
interject anyway. what is this nostalgia thing going on? in the 40s there
were dumb movies too. and jim carrey cites jerry lewis as his inspiration.
point being, while i take ed's point re action movies and fx (hi ed!), i
also don't believe that this generalized "dumbing" is attached to a specific
period by definition.
so, we can talk specifics: dumb and dumber, ren and stimpy, beavis and
butt-head. they are about being dumb (though i have only seen trailers,
the carrey-daniels vehicle seems to be this). that is, about being dumb and
receiving dumb, abt audience knowledge of dumb.
gump is another problem, of course, rather glorifying the child-man innocence
(i think carrey's shit is a little more self-conscious, focused on body-
dysfunctions, etc, though arguably tedious). gump has this weird gender
politics going on too--i was much more troubled by its misogyny than by
that of true lies, which i think is so full of pre-emptive strikes for
all its "offenses," that it's at least interesting to watch it run through
the minefields it's set up for itself and is clearly aware of.
one more thing, re. action pix. speed--i imagine you all have talked abt
this and i missed it. but compared to blown away, it's quite lean and
self-reflexive: this is an action movie. get on the bus and go. fuck all
that character background. who needs it. and as we see in blown away, it
rather slows things down and impedes empathy (except when it's mediated
by a tommy lee jones, for instance, whose pathological dancing is enough
to make him at least interesting to watch). you could argue that the
nationalistic fervor, all trumped up, is self-conscious, of course. but
it's so dull, really. not clever.
oh, sorry--one ore thing: i think that t2 has some very tight character
defining: those first few scenes, intercut, the arrival of the terminators,
john at home, sarah at pescadero, miles at that white white lab. concise,
witty, down to business, and very compelling.