Thanks to Eric Rabkin for his typically astute comments:
action-thrillers are not alone in leaving our intellects
unoccupied. As I watched _True Lies_ and _I Love Trouble_ I kept
thinking that when such movies were made in the 40s, there was
some wit to the dialogue, some depth of emotional involvement and
change of character. But now, zip. It's as if the movies want to
key us to the proper responses in the opening sequences and if
that works right they want to race on through the whole without
risking a different response. And action-thrillers are not alone
in this. _Close Encounters_ has no dramatic conflict, just a
straight-line build from miracle to miracle. Straight lines have
a certain appeal. But they don't give us much to think about
after a while. So we wind up talking about the techniques of
film-making themselves."
Speaking of dumb--I was leafing through the novel FOREST GUMP last night in
the bookstore and decided that I will have to read the thing now.  The bits
I read at beginning and end seemed much SMARTER (if that isn't an oxymoron)
than the film.  The bit of Gump'
s narrative voice I caught seemed sharper and saltier than the dialogue
that Hanks is given (though I understand that Winston Grooms likes Hanks
in the part).  Also
in the novel, Jenny lives!  And she's married  (happily it seems) to
someone else (named Donald--a prototypical name in film and tv for solid but
dull and often dense males. sigh.)
It suggests to me that Gump's character and the plot were dumbed down for
the film.
I'm starting to want to see DUMB AND DUMBER (based on Carrey in THE MASK and
it does have Jeff Daniels, whom I'll forgive for playing Dead Meat in SPEED).
The premise (if you can call it that) of the film intrigues me.  Why is
stupidity a drawing card now.  My son ocassionaly watches (on Fox--fill in
your own comment) a cartoon show called TWO STUPID DOGS (tag line: "They're
so stupid, they don't even know they're dogs!").  Then there's reruns of
F TROOP on Nickelodeon and the enduring popularity of Curly.  Something is
at work here!
--Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN