Going to the Movies

Here they come, the summer blockbusters. "Speed 2: Cruise Control." "The Lost World: Jurassic Park." "Con Air." "Batman and Robin." Altogether, about 12 big-budget extravaganzas will be released this summer, beginning this month. You asked for it, the studios say.

But did we? Are these action-packed, often vacuous films what moviegoers are looking for? Do we mind that, during the summer at least, quantity usually takes precedence over quality? If past summers are any indication, these movies have the potential to take in hundreds of millions of dollars in just a few weeks' time.

There probably won't be a great film among them, but some will be pretty good entertainment and maybe a few spiced with fresh imagination. And that's what we're looking for. Going to the movies, for many Americans, is still the social event of choice. Escapism? Probably. Intellectually challenging? Hardly. Fun? Usually.

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(For those less interested in the high-powered action rides, there is a smattering of romance films.)

So we won't let a $9 movie ticket (in New York, that is) stop us. We won't be daunted by too many choices (analysts say only the studios will suffer from the overload, the head-to-head competition). We'll probably complain - justifiably - about the quality of the movies, the violence, etc. We'll certainly pick and choose, but we'll go anyway, for the same reasons we've gone every summer.

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