CINEMA: Brain Dead but Not Stupid

If making mindlessly enjoyable summer movies is so easy, why can't they all be as satisfying and well executed as Speed?

Making movies, as people in Hollywood are fond of saying on those rare occasions when false modesty strikes them, is not exactly brain surgery. This is especially true if you're aiming for a summer release, when the ruling assumption is that the entire population is brain dead, incapable of responding to anything but high action, low comedy or soft sentiment. The question is, if the expectations are so low, how come most summer movies fail so dismally to make even a few cerebral ganglia twitch?

When a summer film goes right, it all seems so easy. Take Speed. You've probably heard...

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